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Is the EMD Update an Attack on Travel Affiliate Sites?

 12:41 am on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Is Google using their algo changes to create anti-competitive trading conditions? In the recent post here about the exact match domain algo update, there were comments like:

Google's intent is to control the travel industry. They have been making moves towards this for some time.

It would be interesting to see how many affected EMD are travel related, I have others in diferent sectors not affected.

All my four affected are in the travel niche.

In my case a travel related affiliate EMD was killed off while a companion destination guide EMD was not effected. We can only believe what our eyes tell us and based on personal experiences plus comments like the ones above there seems to be an obvious attack on EMD affiliate travel sites. There may well be other niches involved, but the common denominator seems to be affiliate sites.

I've always understood an affiliate partnership to involve a merchant agreeing to sell their products through a third party website(s) in return for a percentage of the transaction or some other agreed method of remuneration. It is purely a commercial arrangement between those two parties.

For Google to step in and penalize websites that it deems to be in an affiliate partnership seems to be a wilfull interference in commercial relationships that are none of its business. In short Google seems to be using its influence to effectively drive traffic from affiliate sites .... under the pretext that if they use an EMD, then they must be low quality.

Today it's travel... what other affiliate niches are being cleaned out as Google seeks more ways of driving business through its own properties?



 2:20 am on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

There are dangers is building any analysis based on personal experience plus a few anecdotes. I'm not saying that your idea won't end up being true. Maybe it will and maybe it won't. I'm just saying there isn't enough data right now to build a conclusion. There is a solid reason that mathematics uses the idea of statistical significance.

I'd like to hear from anyone whose EMD travel affiliate was NOT affected. But when I think about that, I wonder why would they be reading this thread in the first place. If there's anyone out there, please, let's hear from you.


 3:03 am on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

to be fair. When ever I do any travel/insurance type searches I always get a ton of exact match domains that have very poor quality content.


 3:26 am on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

I've now seen some aggregate data - early results if you will. This EMD update definitely hit more than the travel market... and more than affiliate sites of any kind.

Some of the sites that were just hit surprised me - because they were so shallow that I wold have thought Panda would have taken them out. Interestingly, some affected sites only fell 10-20 spots and others went into total oblivion. It's also interesting that simply lowering the effect of exact domain name matching (last year) wasn't enough to handle the situation

I also can confirm that some EMDs held on very well - and the ones I checked certainly deserved to rank. So now the question for me becomes how does this update assess site quality that is different from Panda?


 7:44 am on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have a few dozens of experimental websites with poor links and junk content. Those are not the sites I put any actual work into, just use them to play with on-page factors and link schemes. Some of them (especially the EMD) used to rank though until this last update.

With this update a large portion of them have got hit. Some EMDs, but not just the EMDs.

In my small sample, the common denominator for all affected sites was the affiliate links they had on page (mostly Amazon). Could that be the target of the current update?

Ted, once it is obvious that was a broad update affecting more than just travel or image search, may be it is a good idea to have one central thread to discuss it.

EDIT: none of the sites i am talking about are travel related

Robert Charlton

 9:30 am on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

It's hard to isolate factors, but two travel-related EMDs I watch have, if anything, moved up in this and other recent updates... for the branded keywords and for related terms and stems.

I had optimized these a while ago, and I can say the linking on at least one of the sites was very solid and a lot of work was put into some of the content that related to the brands, not nearly as much as I'd recommended, but enough to merit some very good backlinks and to hold core rankings.

I was also very aggressive with the client about getting junk inbounds removed at the time I dealt with the sites. It amazes me how many times you have to argue with some clients over stuff like this.


 10:57 am on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

I wouldn't think travel affiliate sites are targeted specifically. Google does enough of this indirectly by engaging it's own assets to some great degree on those SERP results.

And previous updates have decimated the travel seo affiliate market. There isn't a lot left from what i understand amongst the small to medium players.

Also, as i mentioned earlier, some exact match domains i observe in travel have actually bounced back. Whereas, some have dropped. On the small sample that i see, shallow, made for keyword, websites of 3-6 pages had already dropped in Penguin if they were not a real business.

Real brands exist with EMD's - and they look OK to me, if not a bit stronger.

So I'm seeing no preference to travel, and a mixed bag of results to think about.

@austtr- how many pages are you talking about with you sites, and how many have good quality unique content that is distinctly different to everyone else [ adds value ] ?


 6:27 pm on Sep 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

once it is obvious that was a broad update affecting more than just travel or image search, may be it is a good idea to have one central thread to discuss it.

I think that's a good idea - and we do have a dedicated thread for this EMD Update. So we'll lock this discussion and take any further posts to the central thread:

Algo Change Targets Low Quality Exact Match Domains [webmasterworld.com]

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