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




msg:4501351
 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.

 

Receptional




msg:4502042
 4:21 pm on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have on exact-match-domain.co.uk in the travel industry NOT yet hit, though not in hotels or flights. Has been a busy site with a useful function for the public for many years. A fraction of the revenue is Adsense (<1%). If it gets hit or not, I'll reveal all at my Affiliate session at Pubcon :)

Not sure if the sites below me are "better". But maybe time to up my game on this one.

drall




msg:4502047
 4:32 pm on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

We lost half our traffic between friday and saturday and we are NOT a EMD. Our site is 13 years old and is a trademarked branded name.

MrSavage




msg:4502049
 4:38 pm on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm not going to spam, but are people aware of an image algo change and whether that is influencing your traffic? That may be the common thread among loses of traffic.

BaseballGuy




msg:4502051
 4:50 pm on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

"low quality EMD's", huh?


2 years ago, I set up an EMD for a client. The blog had 1 "semi quality" post...."so so" content (most likely SPAM in Cutt's eyes). The other blog post was pure crap.

Just checked.....it's still ranking #1 and it's still driving traffic to my client's website.

We did nothing but spammy link building tactics.


Thanks, Matt Cutts, for killing off our two competitors!

Much love, brother!

: )

[edited by: BaseballGuy at 4:51 pm (utc) on Sep 30, 2012]

SevenCubed




msg:4502052
 4:51 pm on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

This thread is becoming a catch-all for all the churning. Far too many reports from non-EMD sites. I can appreciate the input as much as everyone but I think non-EMD, or at least partial match domains should be placed into the panda/penguin/bacon threads? We can cross reference those threads if we need more clues? It's getting difficult to keep focus here.

breeks




msg:4502054
 4:58 pm on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

To get one bad guy Google is willing to shoot 99 Innocent bystanders.

JamesMacf




msg:4502059
 5:28 pm on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

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..


@Leosghost Hey I am the owner of specific.tld and I just wanted to quickly defend the site. I browse these forums a lot and always respect your posts so I do appreciate the feedback!

We are not a copy of the .com and the .org we source our own content and layout and have worked incredibly hard over the last two years to create something useful for our users.

I would say as our niche in the UK goes we would sit around number two in terms of quality with number one but they are owned by Johnson and Johnson who have a HUGE amount of money.

We do book premium ad campaigns and our monetization model is CPM but we run Adsense as a backfill currently.

With the stock imagery we have actually split test running without stock imagery and with it and we get much better user metrics as it provides a much easier browsing + navigational experience for not just desktop users but mobile users as well. We have also had some custom illustrations designed.

In terms of how this update affected us - the site has effectively DROPPED out of the serps - for all long tail and short tail keywords. I am still trying to work out why exactly!
.

.
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: tedster at 6:57 pm (utc) on Sep 30, 2012]

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 10:31 pm (utc) on Sep 30, 2012]
[edit reason] removed specifics [/edit]

romerome




msg:4502060
 5:38 pm on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

So I am still seeing about 50% of EMD sites getting hit. But it seems somewhat random. Huge brand names sites are unaffected. But excluding those I am seeing stronger EMD sites taking a hit and new sites without a lot of content keeping their place.

In fact it seems almost the inverse of low quality sites getting hit. Its almost like middle strength sites are being targetted for some reason.

And I am seeing some cases where I think G thinks a site is a EMD and its not.

romerome




msg:4502061
 5:48 pm on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Also I still don't understand why G doesnt simply take the domain out of their algo (except for large sites so they dont look stupid when someone googles apple). That would make more sense than throwing out site wide penalities.

I wonder if what is happening is that if a site is bluewidgets.com. The idea would be that you would have a lot of links with the anchor text "bluewidgets" or "bluewidgets.com". In the past EMD sites were protected from over optimization penalities related to anchor text and now they are not. So its basically an old filter being applied to a new set of sites.

That would explain why some non EMD sites were hit. Google has no way of knowing what an EMD site is.

So the old rule was
"If we see the same anchor text repeatedly take down that site unless that anchor text is their domain"
new rule is
"If we see the same anchor text repeatedly take down that site"

Not saying this was the best solution for how to deal with EMD's. I am just saying its possible this is what G did.

driller41




msg:4502065
 6:14 pm on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

One of my EMD sites - a .us was wiped out, completely removed all keywords, I can find the site for exact text but that is all.

I guess google considers anything that is not a brand to be spam now.

Leosghost




msg:4502073
 6:19 pm on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

@JamesMacf...
I did not say use no imagery ( hardly likely to, as I'm an image maker )..I said using "stock imagery" was a dumb idea..How about trying using your own unique imagery ( sure it will cost you more..but..it will only be found on your site ..don't forget to "protect it"..watermarks .htaccess etc )..IMO, had you done so...you would not have been so badly hit..

And..sorry ( but if you read my comments, you'll know that I don't "dance around" the subjects, I don't think it helps anyone to do so )..but your place does just look like someone saw a lucrative bandwagon a year ago , and jumped on it taking care to look much like the rest but with a dotcodotuk so as to target the Brit market..

In which case..as there was an already long established incumbent..the way to co-exist with them ( they did not get hit ) was to...

Make it's content and images special, unique, and focused for the Brit market..from the beginning..day one of launch..plenty of ways to do that

Work on that make it "Uniquely Brit" aspect of your content and images..and you should recover..how long that will take ?..I don't know..

Google does not use precisely concurrent cycles for some algo types...

But a generic looking site ( despite what you say about your layout etc ) in that category was going to be hit..even if as I said I think the other looks spammier..


If you are going to post ..you should read TOS [webmasterworld.com] here..it will save the mods and admins having to remove your links..

MrSavage




msg:4502074
 6:21 pm on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

@James, thank you for your well informed, well stated post. Very insightful and I hope you can turn that situation around. It makes me realize that my issue are relatively small in comparison to the impact it would have on sites such as yours.

I'm part of the .0000001% of webmasters affected by this small algo change. Lesson here is not to rely on one strategy because if you do, a change from the top can wipe you clean off the map, across the board. I've largely used EMD's because to me they make the most sense and make the most sense for the end user. I am what I say I am.

The question is, if you have an EMD that isn't affected by this, is it because you are a high PR, authority, or brand site? I'm just looking at whether I should light a match to many of my sites or if they are worthwhile battling for.

JamesMacf




msg:4502079
 6:35 pm on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

@Leosghost - Thank you for taking the time to reply :). We actually recently underwent a redesign of our network with [this site] being the first. By the end of the year we will have launched [two others]. We added much more image heavy experience, dynamic navigation and strong cross branding - we also revamped a lot of the weaker pages on our website. These changes culminated in a much higher time on site, return visitors and page views per person

Our current USP's are creating niche sites on premium domains which cover complete content - we are still a relatively new company and I will admit we have a lot to learn. That said we always focus on quality content from authentic providers, <experts in the field>. We have already managed to do this with our <related> site which is the largest in the UK and we are in fact launching a book in the next month with one of the UK's largest publishers.

I think there are always elements to our network we can improve and the moment we become complacent is the moment we start going out of business. I do feel like specific.tld was hit unfairly with the update as we didn't just take a knock we literally don't rank for anything (not in top 100) anymore.

The only option we have really is to sink more money into the site to try and fix what might have gone wrong.

.
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: tedster at 6:53 pm (utc) on Sep 30, 2012]

[edited by: JamesMacf at 7:07 pm (utc) on Sep 30, 2012]

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 10:30 pm (utc) on Sep 30, 2012]
[edit reason] removed specifics [/edit]

jinxed




msg:4502095
 6:58 pm on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

@JamesMacf I'm pretty shocked as to the extent of your rankings drop.

Were you affected by any of the other recent algo changes? i.e. Panda/Penguin etc

Welcome to WebmasterWorld by the way.

Leosghost




msg:4502096
 6:59 pm on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

The only option we have really is to sink more money into the site to try and fix what might have gone wrong.

Reread my post above..IMO the "might(s)" are fairly clear..and bear in mind that the algo(s) which assess sites at Google..assess UK and USA as "English language"..thus it is critical that a site which targets the UK makes it very clear ( not just via a dotcodotuk ) in it's content, images etc, precisely which English language market it is aimed at..

It should be possible ( without looking at the domain name or the address bar ) for any visitor ( and search engine algo(s) ) to be able to say ..this place is for Brits..or this pace is for Australians etc..

Spelling "colour" and "grey" correctly ;) is not enough ..the site should have a strong visual and vocal Brit accent..

Even more so if there is another site treating the same subject that has been established, longer in another English speaking market..especially if that market is the USA and they are the dotcom..

Google will accept both a dotcom and adotcodotuk, as worthy of ranking highly, but it must be able to distinguish between them so as to say ..two sites,one subject, two markets, and WMT is not the way to tell them..the site and it's "accent is ..:)

Bear this in mind for your other sites..before you take them live..and don't decide if they look "Brit enough" yourselves..get people outside your team to assess that ..and listen to them..don't influence or "correct" them...

SevenCubed




msg:4502106
 7:12 pm on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

The question is, if you have an EMD that isn't affected by this, is it because you are a high PR, authority, or brand site?


I'm watching 5 sites in particular, 4 of those 5 are unaffected. They are 1/2 or 2/3 partial match keyword sites, all locally focused (non-USA). So far only 1 is affected partially having initially slipped 10 spots (I previously mistakenly said 5) falling from middle of page 1 to middle of page 2. It has slightly recovered to top of page 2. The others remain on page 1, 2 of them in spot #1 and 2 near bottom where they have always floated.

None are brand sites, PRs are 2 or 3 for each (but have almost no backlinks). As far as authority, I wouldn't classify locally focused sites as authority but they do agree with authority sites in presented content.

The affected one is the oldest (5 years) and is the one site that does have about 50 backlinks with not enough anchor text variation. I'm beginning to suspect the "low quality" angle is not related to content but to anchor text. Still early though with all the other stuff churning. Looks like they sent out another trojan horse referring to this as an EMD but stuffed it with bacon to confuse us.

zachary




msg:4502113
 7:27 pm on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

For Me, i assume this update does exactly opposite what it should do. I just compared the searches between bing.co.uk and google.co.uk
I search for a specific term and without doubt i found bing results far better than google. Try it yourself

[edited by: engine at 4:40 pm (utc) on Oct 2, 2012]
[edit reason] specifics [/edit]

nomis5




msg:4502116
 7:46 pm on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

The question is, if you have an EMD that isn't affected by this, is it because you are a high PR, authority, or brand site? I'm just looking at whether I should light a match to many of my sites or if they are worthwhile battling for.


Some of my EMD sites are unaffected and none of those are high PR or authority sites.

All the sites, affected and unaffected, are designed using the same very, very simple template. All are equally well researched, written and illustrated with my own graphics.

farouk111




msg:4502130
 8:34 pm on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Hi Guys
my site got his severely by the exact match domain update. i lost 15-20% of traffic (initial estimates that may be corrected)

the site is only one domain and it has 2000 different articles, 97% of the traffic (if not more) comes through the articles themselves not through the main page so why was i hit by that update?

the only explanation could be that google targets full URLS not domains - for instance example.com/how_to_get_over_depression

could be it be that they hate to see an exact match in the url? (and yes i have many of them)

[edited by: tedster at 8:45 pm (utc) on Sep 30, 2012]

tedster




msg:4502139
 8:52 pm on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Welcome to the forums, farouk. There's no doubt in my mind that an exact match in the file path part of the URL cannot be a problem. It's WAY too common a practice.

Not only that, this update did not demote all Exact Match Domains - not by a large amount! The target was exact match domains that Google determined as "low qualtiy", by whatever criteria they used to make that judgment.

We're in the early days on this, but it certainly isn't clear right now how they made that determination.

brinked




msg:4502142
 8:56 pm on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

We're in the early days on this, but it certainly isn't clear right now how they made that determination.

Is it really ever clear how that make any determination? This really makes google look bad. This is pretty much them admitting that panda did not work. Panda was targeted at low quality sites, right? Then why were these low quality sites ranking post panda? Are they saying that having an exact match domain was an exception even though you had a low quality site?

farouk111




msg:4502150
 9:13 pm on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Thanks Tedster, nice to meet you
let me add something very funny
since google panda was created my traffic has almost tippled so those fools know my site is not a poor quality site (at least according to their twisted standards)

i used to get 500,000 hit/a month before panda came to the scene, two days ago and before that new algo change my average was 1,350,000 hit/month (all because of panda)

so those guys are actually insane!
my site is ecommerce and i run adsense, both orders and ad sense incomes dropped hard, am so disappointed

JCKline




msg:4502155
 9:29 pm on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

I never used keywords in my domains and once regretted it, not any more.

Rick_M




msg:4502157
 9:36 pm on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

As one data point, my lost traffic is for keywords in my URL structure. Maybe there is an over optimization filter added as my internal anchor text matches the page title which matches the URL. There are several internal links via related article links at the end of each page with the same anchor text.

I still seem to be getting traffic for phrases mentioned in the URL but where the words are not next to each other in he URL.

I'm curious about others who got hit who don't have EMD. My traffic remains down 50% across several sites with similar structure on different topics.

[edited by: Rick_M at 9:57 pm (utc) on Sep 30, 2012]

nonstop




msg:4502159
 9:38 pm on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

@JamesMacf what SEO strategy did you deploy on this site? I checked out some of your back links and it looks like a lot of the links are from article/blog sites (at least the ones that I looked at). With just one link at the bottom of the article for the keyword you are targeting, I think that looks kinda suspicious in Gs eyes, they may think this is over optimization. Have you ever used spun content on these blog sites or SENuked the site? maybe your SEO company did?

it looks like alot of these back links have been disqualified aka panda/penguin

I think the quality factor has more to do with the back linking then then the overall site quality.

farouk111




msg:4502164
 9:53 pm on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Rick_M
my site structure is very similar to yours
but this is what logic says

if i am pointing to a page called how to get over depression why would the anchor text be : this is how to deal with depression

i mean it makes a lot of sense to point to pages using their titles and urls

if your conclusion is right then this is why me and you were hit
ill sleep now, catch you guys tommrow

Robert Charlton




msg:4502171
 10:36 pm on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Mod's note: Please, no more comments about the details of specific.tld, which, as has been noted, shouldn't have been mentioned here. Public site reviews, which are against our forum guidelines and WebmasterWorld's TOS, generally turn out badly for the site being reviewed.

I think there are enough in the way of leads about what might be wrong with the site that we can talk about it in widget type generalities.

slinky101




msg:4502177
 10:43 pm on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Re the 'specificdomain'. How do you make a site <on such a universal topic>...look 'Brit' as opposed to US though...? And there must be many more examples like this re EMD's. Where the nature of the content is somewhat general. But deeper in, culture and different regional approaches/ care/ advice / support etc is evident ? It's surely not a matter of chucking a few union jacks around or giving up if the .com exists ?

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 11:12 pm (utc) on Sep 30, 2012]
[edit reason] removed reference to specific domain [/edit]

JamesMacf




msg:4502179
 10:55 pm on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

@Leoshost - Thank you for the suggestions - I think this will help regardless if it was the reason for the penalty or not.

@Nonstop - The link portfolio is mainly made up of natural solicitation. We have quite a few .gov links and a lot of blog content links. This site was hit by penguin (50% less traffic) from about 90 links that we had bought - post penguin we made the effort to remove all these links and I have an excel spreadsheet showing 78 links out of 90 being removed (these links were removed months ago). The rest of the portfolio is made up from government bodies and content solicitation which has not been paid for.

@Robert Charlton - I respect the decision and will not mention the website again! In terms of it turning out badly for me - I really have nothing to hide in terms of the way the site is built/marketed/link solicited and it couldn't really get much worse for the website now Google has dropped it completely!

@Jinxed - thank you for the welcome and the compliment on the website :). I have worked hard to get it where it is in terms of quality!

johnhh




msg:4502181
 11:00 pm on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Maybe Google hide other updates behind their 'official' anouncements. Suspected this for some time.
Panda has been a disaster, too scared to roll back and lose credibity ?

edit - spelling as usual

Leosghost




msg:4502183
 11:22 pm on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

It's surely not a matter of chucking a few union jacks around or giving up if the .com exists ?

Indeed it isn't.. :)
How do you make a site which is about a "widget"...look 'Brit' as opposed to US though...?

By being very observant as to all the differences that there are between the cultures and emphasising those things which are specific to your target market..this can indeed be done even on a regional ( within the same country ) level..

@JamesMacf :) you are welcome :)..because as Robert has said, we try to avoid public site reviews ( I have been known to "lapse" from time to time on that point..) I stayed off "specific" detailed advice, of the sort that slinky101 was wondering about..and also away from suggestions on how to deal with other factors which IMO, you should consider when planning your re-ascent in Google SERPs..

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