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.
Totally missed this thread. I have an EMD, that has a high click through value, yet low volume impressions.
I do make 50x the cost of maintaining it.
It is still in position three.
I created it years ago, it is a one page directory that only has 6 listings. Wish I had a few 1000 of these.
'Grit your teeth, change your domain name and 301 from the emd.'
I have the same problem but if you 301 the domain and it has a penalty, within months the penalty will pass to your new domain and you will be far more depressed? I find it hard to change a domain name that is almost a decade old and is a niche authority site just because google tweeked its algorithm?
@luckystrike, you may be loathed to change the domain name but we all know what ranking well in Google = money. Change it and don't get so attached to the domain.
Remember, it's an EMD "penalty", therefore, if you no longer have an EMD I don't see how that algorithm could impact the new domain.
I've changed some of ours and they are ranking well and making money again. If they go down again in 6 months time we'll deal with that issue then.
I'm pretty sure @lewis1 is correct. We've changed our domain name and 301d from the old emd and are now top 10 again. We sailed through the penguin update and actually came out of it a bit stronger.
So I was checking out the competition for people who sell blue widgets, and I came across a newish top 10 player in the blue widgets field.
(this is not the real domain name of the site in case you are wondering).
Which consists entirely of ONE PAGE, with links to a separate domain where there ecommerce site resides.
I kiddith thee not... just about three paragraphs of text, stuffed with BOLD FONT KEYWORDS, and links to different sections of their ecommerce site.
Funny thing is that this doorway page has a Netherlands address and phone number, and google is serving me this while I am signed into my gmail account, and I am in California.
At least serve me up some local spam, ok google?
[edited by: goodroi at 12:16 am (utc) on Jun 5, 2013]
I am moving my site today so that the domain name is not an EMD, but am keeping the content the same.
Using 301 from the old EMD-penalised site.
Any tips for getting the new domain indexed asap?
With all of mine I just let nature takes its course! I didn't use the change of domain function in GWT as I know some people who lost their sites after doing that.
Just let Google follow the paths in its own time. Within 4 - 6 weeks it should all be complete, depending on the size of the website.
Best of luck and do report back how you get on.
I used the change of domain function in GWT. It didn't seem to cause any problems. No idea if it speeded things up though.
We actually did the 301 switch 2 days ago but, in less than 48 hours, our new non-EMD domain is now at rank 2 on Google.com and number 1 on Google UK for our most important keyphrase (the exact match of the former domain).
The new domain is now keywordkeywordkeyword.com with the final keyword being half of the previous domain name. But, the important thing is that it is no longer an exact match to our core search phrase. Also, the hyphen that the former domain had, has gone.
The site content is exactly the same as before.
We did a routine submission of the home page of the new site to Google yesterday, and we do have a sitemap.xml that I don't think we had before. This morning, I checked and discovered the good news.
Thanks to all for the advice via this thread.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it's not some temporary aberration.
Correction - we seem to be flipping between number 1 and 2 on Google UK but I think that a bit of concerted valuable content-adding will push us back to number 1.
Incidentally, we also have a domain that is the same EMD but is a mobile/table-sized design: keywordkeyword.mobi (no hyphen).
That site has no pagerank and precious few backlinks. It doesn't have much content either. This domain was not affected and ranks a modest 30-odd for the exact match search phrase.
Maybe the hyphen was a big drag on our main site?
That's great news! All of ours are doing fine and we did some of them ages ago.
It's frustrating when we have to go through this hassle though. We spent a lot of time and money creating some great sites and just because of the domain name they got penalised. It's not right at all, especially when some rubbish ranks so well.
Glad to hear a positive story and long may the site stay up there going forward.
The last post i made here: [webmasterworld.com...] might be interesting to you guys. It describes an EMD in the #5 position, and how (IMO) it's done. (A highly competitive phrase)
1) Target: 'buy widgets in country'
2) Register foreign domain 'buy-widgets.pl'
3) Add very little content, perhaps 3 words, unrelated
4) Register google places page, in the country.
5) Do not get any backlinks.
Achievable: #5 position.
That is, to the best of my knowledge, the true state of the algorithm right now. I'm unable to show you the SERP, or the phrase, or the result. But i'm looking at it right now, and it's a terrible day for anyone running a business online.
FYI: Even if you're doing this, it only means 'instability' - you'll eventually be replaced by someone doing it better.
Latest update -
Summary: we switched from keyword-keyword.com and regained number 1 spot in June 2013 with domain name otherwordotherwordkeyword.com.
Maybe a month ago, we slipped to about number 7, currently 6th.
Above us now is keywordkeyword.com (no hyphens) which site is ranked at number 3. That site had also been hit by the EMD issues, like we were.
Should I go back to keyword-keyword.com which site I still own with 301 redirects to our current domain?
Has Google gone back on its severe penalisation of EMDs which was being imposed regardless of whether the site was spammy or genuine?
Just wondering if anyone with an EMD that changed name and recovered has subsequently been hit again with the penguin 2.1 update. We've fallen from top 10 for our niche to approx 450, which was the highest we ranked after our EMD problems (and before we changed name).
Yup - Same here.
I 301'd the whole site over in July.
Late august I finally got back to almost my pre EMD-hit level - lasted for about 8 days, then I got hit on 4th September by the 'secret' update
Then it changed slightly with this update - not more or less traffic, just different searches ranking better or worse.
Back down to about same level as when I was hit with my EMD.
My thoughts :
1/ Could it be they have tweeked the threshold of the number of exactly the same keyword links - so the old EMD keyword match is causing a problem again?
2/ Perhaps the 301 from the old site has been caught up in them trying to target the sites using the 'churn and burn' approach to spam - ie 301ing old to new?
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