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This 604 message thread spans 21 pages: < < 604 ( 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 [8] 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 ... 21 > >     
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.



 3:34 pm on Oct 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

If you suddenly lose one aspect of your SE marketing it shouldn't tank the entire business.

You're assuming again, that those upset, are depending entirely on Google. Regardless of the impact, being caught up in an update like this, can still be upsetting. Oh dear.


 3:37 pm on Oct 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

There is simply no other reasonable explanation for these insane algo tweaks and the way/speed/frequency they are being implemented of late
Well there is, they are not happy with results and trying to correct it, but failing probably as the underlying Panada is not correct. Have a funny feeling...lots more changes to come and these may be on the fly rather than data pushes.

 3:40 pm on Oct 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing some movement on my sites that got hit. Some positive and some negative movements. I'm just happy to see some changes as it must mean they are now starting to tweak this crazy update.

Will update here when I see things settling down.


 3:40 pm on Oct 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

How could they be satisfied? In my SERPs I still see the black hat spammers dominating and only 1 or 2 proper straight players left.


 3:44 pm on Oct 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

Regardless of your arbitrary opinion of a website, it still doesn't change the fact that in 99% of the cases an EMD is always related to the content of the website.

Precisely, and that's what makes this such a stupid move. They know that a massive amount of businesses created EMDs as a result of Google and the others using this a strong ranking signal and it still should be a strong ranking signal. After all, a whole industry was created out of EMD sales.

Allowing this to happen after so many years is wrong. To suddenly remove this knowing that many thousands of legitimate businesses will be damaged as a result is just plain arrogance.

I worry about where this will all end and I am glad that I am approaching retirement. Google really does now have way too much power.


 3:55 pm on Oct 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

I don't see any issue in doing what they proposed. Websites ranking merely because they have an exact match domain, was ridiculous.

However, the reality is, they're penalising websites for having an EMD, even when the quality of the website is great.

It appears the site in my circle that was hit, has suffered a -10 penalty for the exact match keyword. Even though it was without a doubt the best result for the keyword search.

In this particular niche, there is now no domains, that contain the term, on the first page. I think highly profitable, competitive niches are coming under extra scrutiny.

Marketing Guy

 4:03 pm on Oct 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

Now, whether the website is "quality" is a different discussion. Your claim was that EMD is no longer an indicator of relevance and you couldn't be more wrong. Again, people buy EMDs to build websites around the EMD, thus almost always the EMD will be a top indicator of what the website is all about. What EMD is NOT - an indicator of quality, but I don't see how you can dispute relevance.

A top indicator of what a site's about? What, like Meta keywords were? Same thing - can be easily manipulated by the owner to the extent that any potential information Google can gather from the data is so muddied with spam that it's useless and needs to be purged from the system.

A site isn't suddenly relevant because a SEO decided to build it around a domain name purely for SEO purposes.

Maybe if the EMD is a front for a legitimate business, then some relevance is retained, but for every case like that there are dozens of crap blogs, affiliate sites, adsense sites, directories, etc that have been thrown up overnight and forgotten about.

That's where relevance is lost. The quality of the content directly affects how relevant the site is *as a search result*.


 4:04 pm on Oct 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

I've just checked my friends electrician website, which contains the keyword "electrician". It's a very basic website, providing information on him and his services. Fortunately it's had a large increase in traffic and I've just spoken with him and he's had an even bigger increase in conversions.

His company name, contains the keyword, so I'd have been quite upset if he'd been hit but fortunately he's just had the busiest Monday of his career, the phone hasn't stopped ringing and he's now fully booked for the foreseeable future.

The niche was full of opportunistic EMD's, electricianINSERTTOWN.co.uk etc and it's great to see these gone. But it's a shame the other site in my circle was hurt, as it's one of the best websites I know of.


 4:10 pm on Oct 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

You're assuming again, that those upset, are depending entirely on Google.

When some use terms like "wiped out" it's easy to make that assumption at least for a subset of the upset demographics.

Whilst it may seem to you that all eggs are in the google basket in reality google may be the only basket that is / was still performing.

I'd try more baskets.

Besides SEO there is PPC, SEM, etc. so even losing position for an EMD in the SEO dept. doesn't mean you would lose your PPC traffic assuming you had a PPC campaign, or SEM, or affiliates, etc.


 4:15 pm on Oct 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

I completely agree with the underlying message Bill, I really do. I just felt some of the previous statements were a little unfair.


 4:21 pm on Oct 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

I had a near EMD where I just added an 's' at the end ([keyword phrase]s.org); I was certain it would lose rankings when I heard about the update. Before the update, it was ranking #5 for [keyword phrase] but after the update it is ranking #2. It had only 2 articles on it so the theory about # of pages being used to determine quality is B.S. The two articles were of high quality though and had backlinks from a few authority blogs in its niche.

I also had another near EMD ([keyword phrase]hq.org) that was ranking #8 for [keyword phrase]. It had a few irrelevant backlinks and a few paid backlinks that were relevant (the content was mediocre so I figured I might as well pay for links if I ever hope to rank this site). After the update, the site is nowhere to be found in the top 100.

Based on this experience, I'd say quality is determined by the same factors it always has been: BACKLINKS. Relevant links from authority sites are the best indicator of quality content and probably always will be.


 4:27 pm on Oct 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

I manage an EMD and get this!

widgetsforsale.co.uk still ranks top 3 for widgets for sale but it's nowhere for any variation! Blue widgets for sale, new widgets for sale etc have all completely dropped off...

We lost all of our long tail stuff on Aug 28, and now we've lost everything but our main term...

If that's the way things are then so be it...but why on earth are we still ranking well on the term that matches the domain?!


 4:30 pm on Oct 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

We have some EMD sites with highly targeted topics, all with unique (well written--it's not Shakespeare but it's well done) content, and most of them have been hit; however, the drops seem to be only for the exact match keywords (mostly).

One particular drop that vexes me is a site dedicated completely to a common error/confusion between two words in English. The domain is wordoneVSwordtwo.com. The site has more information on the topic than any other resource that I have come across. It used to rank at #4 for the keyword, but now it's gone (didn't click past page 10).

Like most Google updates, it looks like the algo doesn't discriminate much when it comes to quality, and just took out most if not all EMDs just because they were EMDs; however, like most (if not all) other updates, sites will get reevaluated, and the ones which suffered collateral damage will float back to their old rankings (and sometimes even do better).

I should say, that not all our domains got hit. Our oldest EMD which is a typesofwidget.com site (again with tons of useful content, and organic links--we never did any link building for these EMD sites, all links are organic), has not lost any rankings, and maintains the #1 position it has had for years for the exact match keyword.

[edited by: Kufu at 4:54 pm (utc) on Oct 1, 2012]


 4:39 pm on Oct 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

So far this update appears to be a mixed bag for my niche. Some EMD sites still appear, and some don't. Maybe it's still rolling out, but I'm still seeing sites ranking that I'd expect to see get knocked down by this update.

Luckily, the brand names for the sites I work on appear to be unaffected.


 4:49 pm on Oct 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

For what it's worth

I have one small EMD on a blog platform that I use for testing. Original content but not much of it and infrequent updates. It dropped a couple of spots. I manage a big EMD with a "money" name; lots of content, well coded, lots of authoritative links, traffic increased over the weekend.


 4:54 pm on Oct 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

Also with this update I have seen some new, poor quality, low link equity PMDs jump into the top 2-3 spots for high volume keywords. Seems like the update is a bit of a mixed bag of results.


 5:08 pm on Oct 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

This is crazy, I have been drastically affected on three emd sites. The first Site with other 3000 posts all inquest all with videos from YouTube the domain was hyphenated on my keywords....I've been replaced by a new site using the same domain name without the hyphens and little content....this site has lost 60% traffic from search all keywords not just the exact match ones as of the 28th sept have plummeted. (Around 4000 daily uniques wiped out with low bounce rate). I've been plumbed from number 5 in google to according to webmaster tools 290. The top three sites now are individual YouTube videos for my niche.... So how is this better?

My second site, is not very good quality I admit it needed a lot of work, it was an emd and has now been promoted to number 2 in google for my keywords lol... Explain that?!

My third site is emd which has again lost all its search for all keywords not just the exact match... I am planning to test on this site as it was less important and set up a new domain with a 301 redirect and a few changes to the keywords... Will keep u updated


 5:11 pm on Oct 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

How so? It just removes a method commonly used to game the system with EMD's vs. good content. I'm sure if you have both then your site will be fine. If your content sucks you'll obviously suffer.

I understand that in the past using EMDs was a method used by many people who put up low quality sites to gain strong rankings mostly based on the EMD.

But for you to state that you are sure that anyone with good content will be fine is amazingly naive or based on some personal bias to the niches you follow. I would expect that someone that has been at this for as long as you have to have developed more wisdom.

[edited by: WebPixie at 5:43 pm (utc) on Oct 1, 2012]


 5:29 pm on Oct 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

Seems like the update is a bit of a mixed bag of results.

Just like what happened with Panda, Penguin, etc., we're only seeing EMD 1.0 at the moment. I'm sure many that have issues currently won't have them when the next update occurs, assuming the problems have been properly reported via the proper channels.

Makes me wonder if other factors aren't also at play, even offsite factors. Such as the site previously was flagged for using paid or 'unnatural' links but it didn't sink until one more ding was applied, which was now also having an EMD. I could see how a perfectly fine appearing site doing some things they shouldn't finally toppled like a Jenga tower when Google bumped the table.

[edited by: incrediBILL at 5:53 pm (utc) on Oct 1, 2012]


 5:31 pm on Oct 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

The problem with this is that Google has traditionally relied on signals like this to rank sites. It was cumulative but with more weight on the EMD. They think they are now clever enough to rank sites properly without using the more obvious signals like this but the results would suggest that they are a bit off the mark as yet.

Try some searches for singular and plural, e.g. cars and car.


 5:43 pm on Oct 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

incrediBILL you're adding nothing of any interest or value to this thread. Your comments are just pissing people off. If you could leave this alone now and let us "unprofessionals" get on with trying to work out what's happened to our sites it would be appreciated.


 5:44 pm on Oct 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

So I am getting a site about a problem in our neighborhood. A domain is available that is an EMD of the problem. The site is probably going to be thin content. (Its not going to make any money and I can't devote an incredible amount of time to it) Do I avoid the EMD?


 5:50 pm on Oct 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

They think they are now clever enough to rank sites properly without using the more obvious signals like this but the results would suggest that they are a bit off the mark as yet.


Problem is other than the snapshots of results we all monitor regularly it's hard to know if other bad results were already happening or are just the direct result of this update.

It would be nice to have a "before and after" capability to see what, if anything, changed in some results I'm seeing today.

I'm currently in the wait and see mode on a couple of my domains as you know they'll do an update to try to refine their EMD targeting. After the next update is when I'll attempt to make any changes, if needed, assuming they don't wait too long to do the update.


 6:02 pm on Oct 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

People looking for candy coating should seek out M&Ms. ;)

Being unfair doesn't make it untrue.

Please start a new thread about how "professional" webmasters handle diversification of traffic streams and avenues for revenue. Should I ever for some reason feel I need your non-candy coated advice in those areas I will pop in and read it.

Right now I am more interested in discussing the changes this so called EMD update has produced.


 6:05 pm on Oct 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

Can anyone venture a guess as to how long a refresh/update may occur?

The best news I'm reading here is that good quality sites got spanked. That tells me a) I'm not alone and b) there is a good chance this update will get adjusted etc.

I'm assuming people will update here with positive movement or is this just a thread for negative ranting?


 6:06 pm on Oct 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

@romerome I wouldn't go out of your way to avoid the EMD. If what you write is pertinent to the domain I don't think you'll see an specific hit from using an EMD. If the site is thin content with few links it likely won't rank well regardless of what domain you choose, unless it's for a very specific low query volume term.

There is no hard data yet but I suspect this is not so much a penalty for having an EMD (as much as it might feel that way for some) but rather a further reduction in the weight that EMDs and PMDs have in the algo, similar to the one that Google rolled previously.


 6:07 pm on Oct 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm assuming people will update here with positive movement

I do not have an EMD but 85% of the keywords I track (as I mentioned earlier in this thread) took a hit that coincided with this update. Over the past 48 hours these keywords have been slowly coming back up. Our traffic is sadly down overall today still, but I'm pleased to see these keywords coming back (especially our top ones). In fact, one of the top keywords that took a dive with the update actually had its strongest day in months yesterday.


 6:15 pm on Oct 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

I think the updates already been over, and there is still no announcement from Google's side. They will come up with a announcement that they are really happy with the update and how it has came up.

I will tell you the full story, and i assume this is the reason for this update. Most of the people might not agree with me, but i believe this is the only reason.

This month in the start bing launched a campaign called bingiton and most of the people started noticing bing. Search Market share of Bing was going up in September and Google have to launch this update so that its search share increases.

Obviously when they launch a new update which doesn't make sense and quality sites go down, ppl search more on Google pages, where their site have gone and search market share of Google goes up.

You will soon see the search share will come out of for September and Google will be on the same numbers as it was in the last month.


 6:19 pm on Oct 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

One thing people should realize before ditching or switching strategies. EMD's carry value beyond Google. You can still get traffic from Bing or other search engines because of having an EMD. I think the worst thing to do is changing strategies just to suit how Google feels about it today. If they start an EMD segregation, then just give up on making money from websites unless you like waking up to disasters.


 6:25 pm on Oct 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

I agree with @mrsavage don't go off half-cocked and ditch your strategy of using an EMD, especially if you have a truly good site. Google may yet adjust the algo and EMDs still carry benefits in branding, recognition, projecting the image of being an authority in a space, and getting naturally keyword focused anchor text (people link to bluewidgets.com with the text "blue widgets")


 6:25 pm on Oct 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

I think Google is only telling a small part of the story by saying this update goes after emd's.

It appears to me and the sites I watch that possibly some sort of penguin refresh was thrown in as well to go after inbound links that look shady. A few weeks ago we noticed someone bombing one of our sites with profile links all using the same main keyword for about 3 days. The site is not an emd but like most sites on the net it does have one partial keyword in the url and now has tanked in the listings with this update. Now inner pages all rank lower in the serps but the main url is nowhere to be found, this smells a lot like a OOP for that keyword now. If I search for the domain name minus the .com it comes up as number 1 so the site is not penalized, just the main keywords. This would explain a lot of the mixed results people are seeing.

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