| 7:41 am on May 4, 2013 (gmt 0)|
|reverting to the EMD is likely something it would detect as manipulative, imo, so once you move, you may not be able to "just undo the 301" and return to the "status quo" of today. It's possible the change/reversion wouldn't "undo" the move so the site ranks the same as it did before the move |
I notice you mention the manipulation patent quite frequently. It's just one if many patents, I wouldn't get too hung up over any one patent. Thanks for the reference though. To my knowledge I've read all of the patents that have been featured on here over the last 10+ years, including this one.
Having said this I do understand your point and consider it to be valid, however I would still revert the 301 because at that point I think it would be time to give up on Google and use the best name for customers. The EMD would be my preferred choice anyway if it wasnt for this update. A name which is descriptive and easy to remember is far better from a marketing point of view.
As far as I'm concerned if the penalty follows then its not the EMD to blame as this has now been removed from the equation. If G was to slap another penalty on the site for manipulation then so be it, the traffic was no use before the change and it won't be any use if the penalty returns.
I manage many sites including other EMDs which are fine. I've never been big on links so I think a link penalty is highly unlikely, however this term is more competitive than others and the name has attracted natural links using the EMD as anchor text. I'll not ever remove the links though as they have all been acquired naturally.
| 7:51 am on May 4, 2013 (gmt 0)|
|I notice you mention the manipulation patent quite frequently. |
I do, but that may be due to me seeing what appears to be "effects from it" more often than most over the years I've been around. (I'm beginning to wonder if there's an effect from it -- or effect from something similar to what's outlined -- that "hits" big sites when a threshold of pages is changed more than others, because most of what I work on is 10,000+ pages and I've worked on smaller ones, but when really thinking about it I can't say I've noticed "bouncing" on the smaller sites or due to changes that affect a small number of pages like I do on the bigger ones when changes affect 1000+ pages at a time.)
|To my knowledge I've read all of the patents that have been featured on here over the last 10+ years, including this one. |
Me too, and then some.
(There's at least one or two not noted here. One on trust for sure.)
|A name which is descriptive and easy to remember is far better from a marketing point of view. |
No question. And, personally, if I knew it was better I'd probably give Google the proverbial finger and not redirect it. (But I have been known to be a bit stubborn and contrary lol)
|I've never been big on links so I think a link penalty is highly unlikely, however this term is more competitive than others and the name has attracted natural links using the EMD as anchor text. |
Interesting, because I feel the same way. Haven't really bothered to build any in years, even though that's totally contrary to "SEO advice". I also have an EMD that's fine.
I would actually wonder more about internal links and text. Does the particular site you're referring to use more "matching text" in internal links or on page than the others you have that are not affected do?
| 7:59 am on May 4, 2013 (gmt 0)|
Informing the community here on a fresh new ecommerce EMD I launched about 25 days ago in Greece.
The site started to rank in the 5th page of results for its exact match keyword but was not ranking even though I just had a single high authority link to it.
Wouldn't go up, as I waited for 2 weeks before getting some new links in and adding a links page with quality niche links in it.
Now it seems to go on auto pilot. Ranks in second page of results today, third page yesterday.
But from my previous EMD domains experience (in UK sites) it used to be the case that you would rank for your EMD keyword almost with no effort and definitely with no quality links required. Now it seems you need to build trust and authority to your website to rank for your EMD keyword.
Also it is I think what Google are trying to get at with EMDs. They are trying to make it difficult to rank for junk sites.
Now regarding the anchor text discussion, it is my belief that people will naturally use the EMD keyword as anchor text and not other keywords, so sticking with this option for now and it seems to work fine.
Of course the site has high quality and engaging content, which is what makes it get Google love :)
Will update you if something unexpected happens..
| 8:30 am on May 4, 2013 (gmt 0)|
My EMDs are over ten years old. I got them then because they were the logical choice. Still are. No way am I going to jump ship to new domains just to try and appease Google. That makes no sense at all. Not doing it.
| 8:46 am on May 4, 2013 (gmt 0)|
|My EMDs are over ten years old. I got them because they were the logical choice. Still are. No way am I going to jump ship to new domains just to try and appease Google. That makes no sense at all. Not doing it. |
EMDs are the logical choice, but for me without traffic I don't have a business. I would like to be able to be in the position to stick to my principals and not cave in to google but that's just not possible when you rely on them for a steady stream of customers. So long as google holds a monopoly for search (in the UK) then this will continue to be the case.
| 9:14 am on May 4, 2013 (gmt 0)|
@overscan - I understand where you're coming from re Google traffic, but there's no guarantee Google will rank some new domain that's simply trying to find a workaround to the EMD algo either. As with most things Google, there's just too much black box going on.
On the other hand, I know for a certainty people will continue to search for the keywords in my EMD. If Google wants to arbitrarily offer up inferior sites thanks to their EMD algo, then so be it. For all I care, Google can just become a lousy search engine and join the ranks of Alta Vista. Total BS.
| 12:14 pm on May 4, 2013 (gmt 0)|
|it used to be the case that you would rank for your EMD keyword almost with no effort and definitely with no quality links required. Now it seems you need to build trust and authority to your website to rank for your EMD keyword. |
I'd say that's exactly the point of the EMD update. .
| 12:28 pm on May 4, 2013 (gmt 0)|
|I would actually wonder more about internal links and text. Does the particular site you're referring to use more "matching text" in internal links or on page than the others you have that are not affected do? |
I did a complete re-design of the site some time ago, and as such there is very little in way of optimised anchor text within the site. The only thing this can be (in my mind anyway) is the domain or anchor text of incoming links (likely a combination).
Something to bear in mind with regards to the EMD, is that I think it's a bit of a 'red herring' as we'd say in the UK. Every single domain name registered is actually an EMD, however if the domain is not directly related to a product (money term) then it's unlikely others will be competing for it. I'm sure it's something related to the level of competition of the term and most sites will scrape by without any issues.
Perhaps the EMD just tips the balance of over optimisation and removing this from the equation helps? Either that or it's a direct result from exact match anchor text from other sites, which is a side effect of having an aged EMD. However if that were the case I think it would be affecting company name searches and wreaking havoc across the index.
| 1:10 pm on May 4, 2013 (gmt 0)|
it used to be the case that you would rank for your EMD keyword almost with no effort and definitely with no quality links required. Now it seems you need to build trust and authority to your website to rank for your EMD keyword.
I'd say that's exactly the point of the EMD update. .
So with this in mind, why would switching to a non EMD cure the issue for some people? If all they were relying on was the domain then changing it would spell doom for the site anyway.
For me this isn't the case as I'd say my non affected EMDs fit this description much better and still rank fine. The only affected site had years worth of credible links based around the EMD. I am still convinced we tripped an over optimisation penalty due to a combination of factors. One of those being the domain.
| 5:05 pm on May 4, 2013 (gmt 0)|
|However if that were the case I think it would be affecting company name searches and wreaking havoc across the index. |
I just had this discussion the other day with a relative. We got on the topic of work and I began to explain what I 'thought' was going on - keep in mind they know nothing about websites, internet, Google (other than using it), etc.
You need to be careful when you say it like this. When you say company name think of it in terms of an exact match and not the company. Is McDonalds an exact match or is cheeseburgers an exact match - Nike or shoes - Google or searchengine - see where I am going? Society perceives these as actual objects rather than what they are - names/brands. Of course, this is the ultimate goal of anyone and they succeeded in that, but in this discussion I believe we should take note of it.
I think most of us know that Google now looks at synonyms - perhaps they use this as a factor in determining possible brand versus generic words when deciding if a domain is an emd or not? Of course, saying this the first thing I think of is Cars.com commercials - they use this as their brand name and they show up for it - perhaps big enough for a manual approval - who knows - all speculation of course.
| 3:14 am on May 5, 2013 (gmt 0)|
|why would switching to a non EMD cure the issue for some people? |
Because Google's final EMD algorithm was a bit heavy-handed on the edge cases? They tried to get it balanced through, what, something like 3 updates? So some people's sites have something good going that isn't just EMD keyword matching, but possibly this last EMD update trivialized that.
| 6:41 am on May 5, 2013 (gmt 0)|
|So some people's sites have something good going that isn't just EMD keyword matching, but possibly this last EMD update trivialized that. |
I would agree with this. On contrast though I also feel having a good name should be an asset and potentially a market advantage. However from G's point of view I also understand the abuse aspect and therefore the requirement for yet another penalty.
I see all of these penalties as nothing more than quality control, so in theory if you build great sites there is nothing to worry about. Having said this getting caught in the crossfire of new quality control checks can be frightening. I have very little hair left these days... :)
| 9:17 am on May 5, 2013 (gmt 0)|
For the last month few of my websites recovered, they didn't get back to the same position but definitely feeling much better :)
Whats interesting is that I didn't touch them at least 10 months
| 2:40 pm on May 6, 2013 (gmt 0)|
|Of course, saying this the first thing I think of is Cars.com commercials - they use this as their brand name and they show up for it - perhaps big enough for a manual approval - who knows - all speculation of course. |
Because Cars.com calls themselves "Cars.com." They don't go around calling themselves "Cars" and expecting people to know what that means. It's an EMD that has been branded and have built authority.
| 7:57 pm on May 6, 2013 (gmt 0)|
We do operate several city specific websites where our URL is something like "CityNameNiche.com" and most of our sites are 10+ years old.
Until mid March we were pretty lucky and never got hit by any of the those animals (Panda, Penguin etc) and traffic to our sites has been steady for years. No major up/downs.
With the latest mid March update, we took 40-50% hit on all of our sites and even though our domains are still ranking high for the exact domain keywords, it seems like we lost many of those deeper links pointing to individual businesses. DomainName.com/businessName
I really think Google screwed up on this update. We never participated in any shady SEO and our sites are legit/trusted sites with millions of users every year and even the listed businesses are actually paying to be listed on our sites.
Just because the domain name is matching the city name and the niche, it doesnt mean we are some spammers. We paid top dollars for some of the domains just to have clean, easy to remember and city specific domains. All .com, no hyphens, no link exchange, no BS.
Jesus, if I have a directory for city specific niche (lets say doctors), I cant think of a better name than CityNameDoctors.com. What kind of spam is that? If I sell blue widgets, of course I want BlueWidgets.com. Whats wrong with that?
Anyway, we took a risk and starting today, we forwarded one of the sites to a new domain. I'm not sure what to expect as the original domain has been around for so long ...
BTW not sure what we are going to tell our customers ... maybe something like "sorry, Google doesn't like CityNameDirectory.com anymore so we are switching our website to RandomDomain.com".
| 3:23 pm on May 8, 2013 (gmt 0)|
We have CityName-Keyword.com for our site (that's with a hyphen in the middle).
CityName Keyword is a very important keyphrase and is on the products that we and others sell. It's almost a brand similar to the example of, say, Kentucky-Whiskey.com, or Chantilly-Lace.com. There will be several producers of Whiskey in Kentucky and several producers of Lace in Chantilly (AFAIK). Our main product is made by several producers in our city, where we are based and we sell CityName Keyword product as retailers.
Until recently, we were number 1 on Google.co.uk for a search for "CityName Keyword" and we are still there on Google.com (we disappeard from there for a few days last week but are back again) but Google.co.uk has recently removed our site from at least the top 100 results if one searches for the main phrase that we would like to be found for.
If one searches for, say, "CityName Keyword Sets" we're at number 3.
If one searches for "CityName Keyword Online" we're at number 2.
But, "cityname keyword" has us nowhere on Google UK.
The problem is that we have been badly hit by our site disappearing for the main phrase: CityName Keyword
We're not trying th fool anyone here e.g. by having one business with multiple sites (London Keyword, Manchester Keyword, Birmingham Keyword etc etc). We just offer people the exact thing that they search for. We have access to more than one company's products in the city that make the product. We offer information alongside sales. There's nothing dodgy going on with our SEO.
Is there any likelihood that we will come back?
I sent Google a reinclusion request but we aren't really excluded. There's been no response yet. It's just that we're missing for the single most important keyphrase on which our site is based.
The site's been up for nearly 10 years. Has it run its course for cityname keyword?
| 3:45 pm on May 8, 2013 (gmt 0)|
@sheffnet, I have seen this issue of not ranking in Google.co.uk but ranking in Google.com many times....and there is an unbelievably easy fix :)
This works every time....
Remove ALL keywords from the home page title tag. Replace with anything as long as there are no domain keywords in the title tag.
Go into GWT and instruct Google to recrawl the page ASAP.
As soon as it gets recrawled and indexed it should be ranking well again without the keywords in the title tag.
This has worked every time for me. Give it a try and let me know.
| 4:41 pm on May 8, 2013 (gmt 0)|
OK, I'll try that but it feels very strange.
| 7:46 pm on May 14, 2013 (gmt 0)|
Hi Overscan - How's it going with your 'project'? - I'm another one very interested to see if it helps.
Also - sheffnet - did this suggestion help? - I have a similar problem but the reverse - my site shows on page 1 for my EMD keywords on .co.uk, but position 999 in .com
| 9:13 pm on May 14, 2013 (gmt 0)|
All but one of my EMDs have been closed down and migrated to other sites with success at the moment.
The remaining one, no suitable site to migrate it to, has begun a recovery over the last month. Not all pages have recovered by any means (the majority are buried so deep in the serps that it is unbelievable) but some pages have recovered. They seem to be "index" type pages.
I am studying this to see what is the reason for the partial recovery but there is some seriously weird indexing by G in the SERPS for some pages.
| 9:28 pm on May 14, 2013 (gmt 0)|
Did you create new sites for the migration or use existing ones?
Are they back to how they were pre EMD update?
I'm thinking about creating a new domain duplicating the old exactly and 301ing all pages to the new one.
| 5:40 am on May 15, 2013 (gmt 0)|
We seem to have stabilized at no.11 which is a bit of a disappointment after reaching no.5, but at least we're back and can build this point.
| 6:49 am on May 15, 2013 (gmt 0)|
I used existing sites. There was no redirect, I trashed the EMDs completely and recreated the pages on the new sites.
| 8:50 am on May 15, 2013 (gmt 0)|
In response to lewis1's recommendations a week ago, I could not find anywhere to ask Google to recrawl the site so I just amended the title tag to remove City + Keyword and I replaced those words with the company name e.g. XYZ & Co ... (other keywords) ...
A day or so after I did this, the site disappeared again from Google.com whilst remaining high for non-exact searches where the site still ranks well on both Google.co.uk and Google.com.
I am waiting for a regular recrawl to pick up the amendment to XYZ & Co ..(other keywords).... as the title tag but this hasn't happened yet. Indeed, Google seems to have made up its own title tag for us which is the same as the wording we use on a Google Adwords Ad: City + Keyword + Another Keyword.
We are now losing searches from people who would search for our main core keyphrase: city+keyword
We are only getting people searching for: city+other keywords.
It's not as if we are trying to only get people to visit the site from the city. This would be like Kentucky Fried Chicken only seeking site visitors from Kentucky. We don't want that at all (not as though we are even getting that). Our site is blocked from the results seemingly because the domain name (www.city-keyword.com) is the same as the best search phrase.
We want site visitors from all locations who seek to buy the city+keyword merchandise that we sell. Some Google rule seems to prevent this.
Where's the justice in that?
Maybe a recrawl will set it right.
Maybe they'll respond to my reinclusion request but I'm concerned that the change to the title that Google has made up is the response to the reinclusion request, even though they have not communicated anything to me about it.
I'm about to go off for a week's holiday so am sitting tight hoping that the results will sort themselves out.
| 8:59 am on May 15, 2013 (gmt 0)|
sheffnet, in GWT, click on the site in question, then click on "Health" in the left menu, then "Fetch as Google". Leave everything as it is and click the red "Fetch" button. Wait a few seconds and a link will appear below saying "Submit to index". Click that and choose the "just this URL" option. That will get Google to recrawl the home page. It normally does this within 24 hours for us.
| 7:08 am on May 24, 2013 (gmt 0)|
Any updates from anyone? For those that regained old rankings by redirecting to a new domain are they still holding?
| 7:39 am on May 24, 2013 (gmt 0)|
Still suffering the occasional yoyo downwards but generally seem to be on an upwards path. Currently at No.8
| 10:14 am on May 25, 2013 (gmt 0)|
Mine was at no 11/12 for around 3 weeks and after the Penguin update it's now jumped to 6/7. All fingers crossed it doesn't nosedive.
The other added bonus is we didn't lose our bing positions!
| 3:17 pm on Jun 1, 2013 (gmt 0)|
Latest situation for my site -
this is a site that is www.keyword-keyword.com and the 2 keywords are the most important words for our business.
Note that there is a hyphen between the 2 words of the domain name. The first keyword is a city name - the reason being that the city is famous for the product and the product is known to be of high quality if made in this city (where we are located). The second keyword is the name of the produt type. A fictional example might be www.chantilly-lace.com.
About 2 months ago, the site was still at its long-held station of number 1 on Google UK and .com for the 2 word phrase. Then it suddenly disappeared from Google UK, shortly followed by it disappearing from .com. It came back briefly at number 1 on Google.com and then disappeared from there also.
I tried lewis1's recommendations a few weeks back and, a few days ago, I ticked the boxes to ask for a Google re-crawl, but the site has not responded in the results for the important keyphrase.
I can still see the site at number 1 on both Googles for a search for - "keyword alesserimportantkeyword" and some sub-pages also show up reasonably well in the results for keyphrases that are appropriate for the products on those sub pages. Therefore, I feel confident that the site does not have a penalty otherwise it wouldn't show up anywhere for anything.
After filing a reinclusion request 2/3 weeks ago, they told me that it wasn't excluded.
The only thing that has changed recently is that the results on Google, where the home page is shown in response to a search, now has a made-up title. I think that this may be a coincidence. The only place this title is also shown is on our Google Adwords listing. The title now being displayed by Google in the results is "Keyword Keyword and ALesserKeyword"
It used to show up in Google with the title that is programmed into the code in the header. It doesn't now.
I have changed the header title code on lewis1's advice but Google ignores it, preferring its own made-up title for our site. The new title coded into the site omits the 2 important keywords.
There is another site from one of our competitors that is the same name as ours but without the hyphen between the 2 keywords. On searching for "keyword keyword", their site shows up ranked at number 2 but for a sub-page: .../history.php. We don't show up at all. The difference between our domain name and theirs is that we have the hpyhen.
I am coming to the conclusion that Google hates EMDs, particularly those with a hyphen between the 2 keywords in the domain name. It has excluded my site from the results completely if I search for those 2 words together. Google seems to me to have changed its policy to blanket-exclude a site from the results if someone searches for the words that match the domain name (maybe if the domain has a hyphen).
I am now faced with the prospect of having to build a new site from scratch which has a non-keyworded name, just so I can optimise it for the 2 keywords which are perfect for our site's visitors.
I have had my site up and running since 2003. Now, it is useless for people who want to find it for the 2 vital keywords.
We have been turning over a multi-thousand pound income from this site but, due to Google's new policy, the site traffic has fallen off steeply and business is suffering. I know that Google might not care because they don't owe us anything and if we're not number 1, then someone else will be so they are the winners and we are the losers.
Oh, and we're still at number 1 on Yahoo for the 2 keywords. The competitor that I mentioned above with keywordkeyword.com is at number 2 on Yahoo.
We continue to sell the products that the 2 keywords describe. We are competitive on pricing for the 2 keyword products. We give a good service. We don't buy in links. We don't sell links. We don't cloak. We don't scrape. We don't hide content. We're not up to anything underhand.
I hope Google is proud of itself.
| 3:27 pm on Jun 1, 2013 (gmt 0)|
Thanks for the updates. We've been going down the redirect route for our EMDs and interesting our original test one, which is now a PMD, came back in at 7/8 but jumped to number 3 after Penguin. Seems to be the way to go.
| 3:50 pm on Jun 1, 2013 (gmt 0)|
Grit your teeth, change your domain name and 301 from the emd. I know it's difficult as we all become emotionally attached to our domain names and business names, but it's better than going broke. We tinkered and waited for months before switching domains and it probably cost us £100k in lost turnover.
I would not start from scratch with a new site, but do take a step back and see if there are any weaknesses that might have triggered the wrath of googles emd algo.
Personally I don't think google owe us a living, but they are a monopoly in the UK and thus they need to be more transparent or eventually they will get their butts kicked by the competition authorities.
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