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Algo Change Targets Low Quality Exact Match Domains 9-28-2012

 9:13 pm on Sep 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

Matt tweeted [twitter.com]:
small upcoming Google algo change will reduce low-quality "exact-match" domains in search results.



 10:09 pm on Oct 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

it is an EMD but with low volume, I wonder what query volume is required to trigger an EMD.

We have Google updates logged as 27th Sept, 28th Sept and 5th October ( to avoid US date format ). I guess 27th Sept update gave us the traffic, removed on 5th Oct Update. As you say, confusing as all mixed up !

WMT shows increase in impressions, not reflected in logs or sales.

Note: .co.uk site, online since 1997, hit by Panda 1 in UK on the 12 April 2011, that awful day when Reseller posted .. opps something up !
edit for clarity


 4:38 am on Oct 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

It's very hard to be sure what you're looking at (intentionally so I'm sure), but I've seen EMDs lose traffic on long tail and associated terms after the EMD update. These are sites that carry no ads or content that would normally be associated with Panda. Given the timing and dates this is unlikely to have been Penguin refresh, but can we trust the timings given to us by Google?

I also suspect they tweaked things further towards the middle of last week, perhaps dialling something back a little.


 5:46 am on Oct 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

can we trust the timings given to us by Google?

So far there has been a lot of corroboration from the webmaster community, so I'd say yes, we are looking at a good degree of transparency. The challenge for me is all those other little updates that Google mentions in the monthly summary without giving a specific date.

But at least they tell us what target areas they were aiming at. That's more than we used to hear about.


 3:26 pm on Oct 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

I've seen EMDs lose traffic on long tail and associated terms after the EMD update

Again, lets' try to keep the different updates separate (as impossible as that may be). An exact match domain can only be an exact match domain for one search term. So, if you are losing traffic for multiple terms you more probably have been hit by the Penguin update that happened at the same time.


 5:47 pm on Oct 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

jimbeetle, it was panda that hit at the same time, not penguin.

Just to say too, I submitted one of my affected sites for a reinclusion request just to see what would happen. It's a very good and clean site but as expected the email came back saying "no manual action has been taken".

My plan over the next two weeks is to change the link text of all the backlinks pointing to one site, to make them much more varied, and for another site, change the internal linking texts.

Both were hit at the same time so it will be interesting to see what (if anything) happens.


 6:23 pm on Oct 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

Ype, getting my b&w critters mixed up.


 9:36 pm on Oct 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

I also question the timing of this EMD update, that or there have already been multiple iterations. I was not hit at first, but today we are (again) sinking fast in the serps, being replaced (again) by domain crowding from one particular home photo site. Incredible, they are showing up for so many non related searches merely on keyword loading associated with said photos.

In a "If ya can't beat 'em, join 'em" moment, I opened and account on this particular photo site using my company name...it now outranks my own site (while searching for my trademarked site name) for dozens of key phrases.

This EMD concept is totally out of control. Now they appear to have raised the alleged "quality bar" so high that good sites with merely a EMD from 10 years ago are now paying a ridiculous, unreasonable penalty. Keyword spam appears to hold more power than brand, trust and longevity.

I was almost back on the love boat with Google, but they messed it up again.


 9:51 pm on Oct 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

I was almost back on the love boat with Google, but they messed it up again.

Me too I always love Google when my sites doing well, when my sites penalised like now they are the evil empire like in Star Wars. I guess they can't please everyone.


 5:04 am on Oct 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

Again, lets' try to keep the different updates separate (as impossible as that may be). An exact match domain can only be an exact match domain for one search term.

How can we be sure? FWIW I'm pretty sure we have no idea how the EMD update affected websites apart from an obvious drop for the EM keyword. Multiple simultaneous updates obfuscates things quite nicely for Google.

My own suspicion is that EMD update actually affected domains beyond their EM keyword. In fact I think there's a chance this was an over-optimisation algo which specifically targeted EMDs.


 5:33 am on Oct 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm all ears for any actual reports. Is there any EMD who lost rankings in this update for query terms other than their domain's exact match term?

With all the participation in this thread, we shouldn't have to guess or suspect - right? If there is such a loss, please let us know, thanks.


 6:01 am on Oct 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

Yes, I have lost rankings for terms outside of my EMD though I'm still not sure which update has affected it. Waiting it out for a few weeks before I start making conclusions. Either the penguin update or the EMD has affected synonyms of my targeted keywords, but which it is, I dunno!? I'm all ears for possibilities.

[edited by: MLHmptn at 6:37 am (utc) on Oct 16, 2012]


 6:15 am on Oct 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm looking at an EMD that initially lost #1 down to #3-6 after EMD launch. As of mid-late last week it regained #1 again.

The odd issue is that this domain was hit by Penguin 1, and seemed to come out of that to some extent with latest Penguin refresh. Many rankings that had plunged from top 10 to >100 with Penguin are now coming back in #30-40s.

Onto whether this domain lost other rankings at same time as EMD launch - the answer is yes. Many synonyms that ranked top 1-3 dropped to #4-10 or lower. Site carries no ads, professional design, and robust unique content. Site measures user satisfaction with qualitative exit surveys. I think unlikely to be Panda.

Here's the fly - there's no way to hold everything else constant to identify which variable caused these drops. Perhaps folks with EMDs that were unaffected by Panda/Penguin previously can chime in with data on whether any other keyword phrases were affected by EMD update.

My case is probably too convoluted to be worthwhile, and as with everything else in search YMMV.


 6:19 am on Oct 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

Thanks, MLHmptn. I realize that the EMD Update was during the overlap period with Panda, and that can make analysis really difficult.

The bulk of Panda Update (and it was a true update, not just a Data Refresh) rolled out on Sept 27, but some of it - and I sure wish we knew which parts! - did take 3-4 more days.

The EMD Update was announced the next day, on Sept 28 in the afternoon Pacific time. So it is possible that the first definitive traffic change from the EMD Update you can see might be Sept 29.

I hope you can sort it out and let us know. For sure if you saw the drop on the 27th, that was Panda.


 6:53 am on Oct 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

Ted, the exact day I noticed a big difference was Sept 28th, a 25% drop in traffic and my two word money terms (and their synonyms) were no longer top 10, rather they fell to 2nd page like a minus 10 penalty for all. I attribute this to the EMD update even though I think there is still some PMD penalty as well.

As far as the panda update, it's almost like sites are getting a stiff penalty for anchor text over optimization, title over optimization and/or to some degree over optimization of content. I honestly don't know what to think of all of this. I know one thing that is for sure, B&M brands have certainly received even more of a boost when they have very little to offer and its puzzling to say the least. Very little to no inbound anchors, use of keyword only once in title and one or two mentions of keyword in content.

I've also noticed over the last year or so stiffer keyword anchor penalties and boosts for anchors that do not use the typical "keyword anchor" but rather use the "click here" anchors with supportive content. Did that make sense? Essentially, anchor penalties, the old school "click here" anchors are working with supportive body content around such "click here" anchors.

Sorry for the inadequate explanation if its puzzling, I'm a bit tired at the moment to explain it better.


 7:17 am on Oct 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

Is there any EMD who lost rankings in this update for query terms other than their domain's exact match term?

Not as simple as it sounds to answer that. Say one of my EMDs was lightbluewidget.com. I have lost rankings for:

light blue widget
light blue widgets
large light blue wigdets
large blue light widgets
large widgets that are light and blue
green and blue widgets.

In other words most queries which have any one of the words or any combination of them have lost ranking.

But on another EMD, say widget-instructions.com, I have lost ranking for

blue widgets
green widgets
red widgets etc.

but NOT for

can you paint widgets
paint widget
painting widgets
spraying widgets
and various combinations of those above. I still remain number 1 in the SERPS for almost any combination of the last lot of queries.

But for the EMD term where I have lost ranking then I appear as the last entry in the SERPs, position 780.

Bizarrely, when I enter the EMD term into G three entries for my site appear around the 200 mark and they are:

Indian widget
widget alla Barcelona
widget con salto

I.E foreign sounding versions of the widget.

Having done that analysis, I am even further away from understanding what is going on and what criteria G have used to rank my sites.

None of my sites seem to have ever been affected by Penguin, Panda or antyhing else. For the EMDs the drop occurred on 29th September, possibly late on the 28th.

Martin Ice Web

 8:16 am on Oct 16, 2012 (gmt 0)


i have a question. Did you realy loose this terms or is it that google has inserted some fuzzy logic that this exact terms will not be found with a query but similar ( in googles eyes)
Like searching for widget_long but google looks for widget_short?


 8:17 am on Oct 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

On my main site (not an EMD), I lost 75% of my traffic, but have regained about 20% of it over the past two days. I'm not sure if that has happened of its own accord, though I did adjust titles a little on some of the main pages, removed a few links, and cut out any repetition of the keywords completely (not that my site was over optimised, but even when you write naturally, your subject matter/keywords get mentioned a few times, and there's not always good synonyms to choose from). Over optimised EMD's, thin on content still rule the ratings, but I'm grateful to have a minor improvement. I don't want to mess with my site more, as I'm sure making too many changes could have a negative impact too.


 8:39 am on Oct 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

@Martin Ice Web

Nothing abnormal going on the with the search term, I think. It's a reasonably common and straight forward search term and putting any fuzzy logic in would be, well, just silly.

If I enter the search term all the usual entries appear in the SERPS for that exact term, including another one of my sites which has been unaffected.


 8:45 am on Oct 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

It's quite depressing when I copy some of the sentences from my homepage, uniquely written, by myself years ago and find it used on countless sites from Amazon publication reviews to scraper sites, and find my own site now shows on the second to last page. Surely google must know the original date of publication - I used to receive credit for my own writing prior to this latest algo change.
Should I just write and give it away to others so they can benefit from it. I haven't the heart to rewrite my entire site just because others feel it okay to reuse portions of it, and I haven't the time to chase every single site that has taken from me.


 9:27 am on Oct 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

zarathustra2011 - do you have this right click blocking on your page that at least help a little for new issues.


 9:46 am on Oct 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

More searches show sites with 404 errors and hacking sites, that rank way beyond my site. I just don't understand what google has done. I've sent DMCA's to the worst offenders, but don't expect much.

Zeus - I don't use the right click block, as it generally isn't that effective. I know there are also scripts that put in a small copyright line if somebody copies and pastes too, but nothing works when somebody wants to take from your site. I'm just amazed at the terrible sites that rank when I search for the things I've written, and more often than not, my site does not appear at all.


 11:04 am on Oct 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

I've sent DMCA's to the worst offenders
Send the DMCA's directly to the hosting company, instead of the site itself.

 11:25 am on Oct 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

Thanks Lame_Wolf - I shall do that if I can't get a response, though one or two of the more dodgy scrapers, have a strange DNS, and when I google it to try and find more there's only mentions of hacking and scam warnings, so I guess they're using their own dodgy servers.


 11:36 am on Oct 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

I don't check my WMT but did today and my search impressions have gone from 10,000 to 700! in a month.
9/17/12 lost 2000
9/22/12 lost another 1500
9/27/12 lost 1000
9/28/12 lost 2500
10/4/12 500
10/10/12 down to 700....
Updates or me sewing it up with changes? Probably both :(


 7:33 am on Oct 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

Our domain is over 10 years old and we have gone from position 4 to page 3 for all generic 2 keyword terms that are in the domain name, however the longtail terms of 3 keywords or more are still ranking well in the top 5.
The most incredible thing is we are no1 in Bing and Yahoo still but get very little traffic from here.
There has been no dodgy link link building, the keywords were in title, description, h1 etc.
I have de-optimised the site by removing this keyword and just waiting for g to index me now.
Any ideas guys?


 7:34 am on Oct 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

Deleted duplicate post, dame I phone lol.


 8:07 am on Oct 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

Deleted duplicate post, dame I phone lol.

So who is the dame you phone? ;)


 8:20 am on Oct 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

Lol, you can still laugh when your ship is sinking eh.


 8:20 am on Oct 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

Lol, you can still laugh when your ship is sinking eh.


 8:25 am on Oct 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

Echo? :)


 8:34 am on Oct 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

I don't know (yet) if this means anything or if anyone is seeing anything different to this but...

Our affected sites are all hosted in the UK although they are .com domains and are targeted to UK searchers. Most show up for their main keyword on page 1 on google.co.uk but are nowhere on google.com. It's been like this for a few days, I thought it was just a matter of time that they all vanished from google.co.uk too. But they are holding out.

Anyone else seeing this?

This 604 message thread spans 21 pages: < < 604 ( 1 ... 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 [20] 21 > >
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