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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.



 2:38 pm on Sep 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

As has been the case recently, when I say "tweak" I actually mean total destruction. :)

Google needs to be tweaked.


 2:38 pm on Sep 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

This is carnage for me (UK). Some of my sites might be described as low quality by some(although all unique well written content), moderate numbers of links. What's left behind though isn't much better. So for one search term the top 4 results are now gov.uk pages and then the next three results are taken by one site.
So do the results look better as a result? not to me.


 3:04 pm on Sep 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

Having looked at how this change has effect two of our money sites as well as multiple EMD sites we own that are not fully developed it looks like this was a simple change on Google's part.

I think G- simply removed any previous protection EMDs had against the over optimization penalties they have been rolling out this year. So BlueWidgets.com is now just as vulnerable to being over optimized for the term "Blue Widgets" as any other site.

The problem for us is that we have no idea how to stop people from using our site name when linking to us.


 3:08 pm on Sep 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

Anyone that has been affected by this - does it appear to be a page specific or sitewide hit/penalty?


 3:18 pm on Sep 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

The problem for us is that we have no idea how to stop people from using our site name when linking to us.

I can see that being a problem for many. Without doubt there are domains that are over-extended in the sense that they really stuff the domain name in an unnatural manner. But when you have a name that is generic-generic-servicenamekeyword from the perspective that the service name keyword is used naturally because most in that niche would naturally register a business names using it even if they didn't plan on having an internet presence -- so it's not trying to manipulate anything.

When I registered the domain for that site I even purposely left out the main money keyword which would have been generic-cityname-servicenamekeyword because it would have sounded forced and unnatural. But in fact the 3 or 4 page domain that I mentioned earlier is in fact citynamekeyword-servicenamekeyword exact match and it is so far untouched in spite of it being void of content.


 3:53 pm on Sep 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

"WebPixie" - I can reason with your views on this, but there are EMD's that haven't been hit with this that should have if it was a simple as the removal of previous protection.

Also, I have seen EMD's hit back in April so I don't think all EMD's had protection in the past.

As I say I can reason with you, but then I see/recall examples that make me question the simplicity of it....


 3:57 pm on Sep 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

It seems that some of my non-EMD websites have been hit as well. Hmmm.


 4:00 pm on Sep 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

@UK_Web_Guy one of my sites has been hit hard today.


 4:06 pm on Sep 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

I don't think this is only EMD update, there is something else cooking as well in the background, well Matt Cutts Don't say everything to us..


 4:10 pm on Sep 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

Why would one of my sites lose ranking entirely for home page on iPhone but for all other devices only slip one place? V odd


 4:21 pm on Sep 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

As I say I can reason with you, but then I see/recall examples that make me question the simplicity of it....

You are right, nothing with G- is ever simple. For example in my niche where our site is the three word keyword phrase with dashes, the website which is the phrase without dashes jumped up from nowhere to page three with this update.

It is an auto-generated site which links to other content with a snippet of text. It has almost zero link development which sometimes seems to be a plus in the modern G- world. So why wasn't it hit and why did it seem to get a boost? I can only guess that the handful of inbound links did not set off any penalty.


 4:29 pm on Sep 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

So far I think WebPixie's observations are closest to the root of what this change is all about but I think it's way too early to know for sure. I need to back away and reflect on WebPixie's thoughts.

But more than anything I need to back away for the day so I don't spam this thread. I've realized I'm sitting here using the wrong mental tool to assess this -- my emotions. Logic needs to prevail to climb out of it. Also my apologies to the community for my outburst in msg:4501599 -- the desire for revenge is a very lowly quality and accomplishes nothing -- it was an emotional outburst.

If I discover anything new that will add any value to the discussion I'll jump back in otherwise I'm just going to follow along for clues. Thanks WebPixie for your insight, it'll help.


 4:31 pm on Sep 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

Anyone that has been affected by this - does it appear to be a page specific or sitewide hit/penalty?

Sitewide hit, totally, to page 18 or so of the SERPS.

Everyone else?


 4:32 pm on Sep 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

Lost two EMD's, one with 10 pages, poor content, can't complain really. The second with 30 odd pages, all 500 words plus, unique and helpful.

I could live with that, but my other non EMD sites have also taken a huge hit. All with tons of unique and valuable content.

Will patiently wait for a few days and let the dust settle before shedding any tears.


 4:35 pm on Sep 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

Advice needed from those who have been hit by previous algo changes.

How long to wait with out recovery before taking drastic action? A week, a month, longer?


 4:41 pm on Sep 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

Anyone that has been affected by this - does it appear to be a page specific or sitewide hit/penalty?

Mine are sitewide as well. Was ranking top 5 for pretty much every coveted term in the niche, all gone now.


 4:44 pm on Sep 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

Slightly odd losses for us. We have a couple of sites which are totally nowhere, previously page 1.

But a couple of sites have lost rankings on all the inner pages but their home pages still rank at number 1 for competitive terms.


 4:48 pm on Sep 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

Here is my story. My site got hit hard with the Panda Refresh of August 20th then came back with the refresh of September 18th. Now this recent update of September 28th which supposedly is targeting EMD sites hit that site again and it's not an EMD. Every time the site disappears from the SERPs for its main keywords, it can't even be found by its domain name search but it's still in the index. Go figure.

I guess this update has more up its sleeves. All these updates and refreshes are getting highly confusing. Really makes no sense, SERPs are a mess.


 5:44 pm on Sep 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

Why would one of my sites lose ranking entirely for home page on iPhone but for all other devices only slip one place?

Because SERPs "fed" to Mobile devices have always been slightly different..

I have over 250 EMDs in English language ( many others in non English language )..very many "micro site" type ( 1-10 pages )..many money keywords and or high volume search high competition Keywords..mostly 5,6, 7,8,9,10 letter domains..mostly ( even those which are KW1KW) are not hyphenated when live..No change to any..as a result of this "tweak" ..all holding page 1 , most are already position #1,#2,#3 ..have not moved..

1 exception to that, a 6 letter EMD, was #3 for search of near 1 billion..is now #2..

Other non EMDs ( I don't have many compared to my EMDs ) have not moved down , a few have moved up..

I don't expect that they will roll this out the same way in French SERPs ( and other languages ) the way they have in English SERPs ..they rarely do treat other languages exactly the same way as English SERPs, penalising EMDs would give them more of a problem..

[edited by: Leosghost at 6:24 pm (utc) on Sep 29, 2012]


 5:44 pm on Sep 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

Is anyone seeing this update affect LOCAL much?

I'm still seeing "city + key phrase" domains ranking #1 BUT they are good sites that likely deserve to rank. And it sounds like this algo tweak is targeted toward low end EMDs that don't have much going for them but spammy content.

So is anyone seeing any direct impact on local EMDs with city in them?

Linda Buquet


 5:57 pm on Sep 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

Linda, my sites are definitely not low quality or spammy. Huge amount of time spent on creating great content and very useful websites.

Even specific.tld has been hit and that is an excellent website.

Mod's note: specific.tld... a .co.uk single keyword EMD... should not have been mentioned publicly, and I am removing the name from the thread. It's leading to a public site review, which is against our forum guidelines and WebmasterWorld's TOS.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 10:10 pm (utc) on Sep 30, 2012]


 6:04 pm on Sep 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

Even specific.tld has been hit and that is an excellent website.

The dot com and the dot org are basically the same thing, ( the dot com is probably the "spammier" looking and the thinnest ) but has no doubt been around longer..age counts the .co.uk is only a little over a year old ..and is merely copying the older ones..and monetising with adsense..

It also uses a great many stock images..which when G are doing "triage" is a dumb thing to have..


[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 10:11 pm (utc) on Sep 30, 2012]
[edit reason] Removed specific .co.uk domain name. [/edit]


 7:19 pm on Sep 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

In regards to NOMIS5's question about timing for recovery action, I think the worst possible thing you could do is react quickly to this ranking change. Given that Google is out to punish "optimizers" and "unnatural link profiles", implementing changes that reflect an unnatural amount of link activity compared to the time prior to Matt's weather update, could be seen as confirmation that the site is being controlled by "unnatural forces". One of my sites cratered a couple of years ago and I was already half suspicious that Google might be messing with my head, so I just kept doing what I had been doing and it recovered in a month or two. It's a long time to wait but if you agree that Google has declared war on optimized sites, you might want to hold off changing things.


 7:26 pm on Sep 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

Is there anyone that does not have an EMD but has a directory structure with keywords in it that has been hit by this update?

I don't have an EMD. Our domain is our brand, which has a related word and two initials in it but nothing that we use really other than for branding. An example would be if your site was about shoes and your domain was ABCobbler. We don't optimize or even care about traffic for the word "cobbler" in this case.

However, we seem to have been hit by this update and I'm trying to figure out why. Our directory structure for our category pages (content site) uses keywords in it. Using the shoe example:


Those pages seem to have been hit. Our content itself doesn't seem to have been affected except from collateral damage from the reduced traffic via the category pages (traffic coming directly from google to the content is normal).

I should note that our category pages were what was hit by Panda 1.0 (until Panda 3.8 when we started recovering).

I'm just curious if anyone else is seeing anything like this.


 7:54 pm on Sep 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

Unrecovered Panda 1.0 site. Lowest level of traffic from Google yesterday in at least 10 years. Not EMD. Any other Panda 1.0 sites, not EMD, that took a further hit like us? And I should mention we're not a low quality site except in Google's eyes.


 12:48 am on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

site was hit as well. Not an EMD at all...100% name thats not even in dictionary. Low quality site? Well my site is such low quality that all my competition stole all my ideas that I released first in my industry and they are doing just fine....


 12:58 am on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Brinked, are you experiencing site wide issues? For all terms?


 1:44 am on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

So I understand the pullback on EMD for the EMD term in some cases. I was expecting that over the last few years. But what G did seems way overboard.

There were a few EMD sites I checked that went down. That was expected. Actually I expected that a year or two ago. But they dont rank for anything. Phrases totally unrelated to the EMD phrase on subpages.

Also I am seeing sites not rank for their domainname that were not EMD at all. Totally made up phrases for the domainname.

Is G now going to just punish smaller sites that happen to have a EMD.

It seems there is a pattern where G ignores a problem. But when they finally react their reaction is way overboard.

Its like a teacher that totally ignores kids that chew gum in class. But then after 2 years instead of giving them a demerit she shoots them in the face.

Someone with a steadier more logical hand needs to start running the shop over there. Otherwise I expect to see gains from bing.

I don't know if bing is better. But the gap in quality is getting a lot smaller.


 1:47 am on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm in the same boat at robert76 and brinked. Unrecovered Panda 1.0, and the rest of the pages that 'kept' me hanging in there are now nowhere to be found. This is not an EMD, it is a brand for the niche, just like zappos is for shoes. However categories and page names are keywords and these are the pages that are nuked, a search for the title + site name does not even bring them up.

Today is the first day ever (over 11 years) that Yahoo has drove more traffic than G, in fact it's actually 2x the amount.

If this sticks then Google finally did what they wanted to with Panda 1.0 on this domain, finish it off. And this is what happens after 18 months of totally redoing the site, improving the quality, going more social, getting shares - comments, etc... Site must have heavy penalties on it and no matter what has been done makes no effect to help.

[edited by: tedster at 1:51 am (utc) on Sep 30, 2012]


 2:53 am on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

It sounds like we were all effected by both panda 1.0 and this update. Both deal with website "quality". So I think the message they are delivering is they think our sites are low quality. I know my site is not low quality for a fact...but I guess I will have to just rebuild the site to look like the rest of my competition...it seems that is what they are looking for.

I have a 18% bounce rate btw and an average og 7.2 pageviews per visitors. I dont think that would ever fit the criteria of low quality. But I guess google knows best.


 3:51 am on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

You've put your finger right next to THE big question, brinked - how does this update measure quality? It's too soon to have even a hint of that answer, but I'm looking hard.

This 604 message thread spans 21 pages: < < 604 ( 1 2 [3] 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 ... 21 > >
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