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Exact Match Domains Update 9-28-2012 - Part 2

 10:19 am on Oct 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

< continnued from [webmasterworld.com...] >

So guys, has anyone with an EMD who was hit, recovered at all?
If so what has worked for you?

[edited by: tedster at 2:51 pm (utc) on Oct 19, 2012]



 11:41 am on Oct 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

No recovery yet but more worryingly I lost another EMD yesterday that had survived the EMD update.

We have started our site recovery plan using a different recovery technique with each site. I'll report back as soon I see any of them having any sort of effect.


 11:45 am on Oct 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

When I read about the emd "low-quality exact-match domains algo update" I watched with interest an EMD.com very thin no content, site that has been at the top of the serps for years in my niche. Checking this site, with the owners tools (Jim Boykin - Congrats) it shows 12 words of content, and not much of anything else. I can find no reason this site should be on top of anything. Yet no google algo change has touched it. Maybe we should use this site as a model of what google likes...


 12:17 pm on Oct 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

I wrote two articles, for two of my affected sites, and my new content can't be found without using the "my content". Without quotation marks nothing appears, not even when copying entire paragraph. Anyone else experiencing this?

There doesn't seem to be any purpose in writing new content on affected sites to only discover that some scrapper is profiting on your content.


 1:47 pm on Oct 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

This is Brand update on steroid, I'm seeing more Youtube, Squidoo articles, eHow, blogspots, torrent sites & etc on my niche. I figure if I can't win them in SERP with 100X times better content, then I might as well join them.... The future of GOO SEO is content creation on branded sites! It's sad isn't it?


 1:50 pm on Oct 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

pelizden, You can do a small experiment by writing your content on branded sites or creating a youtube video with the title you mentioned and a few sentences, you would most likely see it spidered quickly and ranked very well in Goo SE.


 7:57 am on Oct 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

Is it possible that the EMD update instead of decreasing the ranking of low quality exact match domain, also helped exact match domain rank better ?

I don't have an exact match domain and use to be 1 st on a keyword but now rank 2 nd behind an exact match domain that use to be 2 nd before.

Thank you,

[edited by: tedster at 2:58 pm (utc) on Oct 19, 2012]
[edit reason] moved from another location [/edit]


 3:14 pm on Oct 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

member22 - that's the first I've heard this ide but it wouldn't surprise me. The Panda update, for instance, worked both ways.


 9:19 am on Oct 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have one EMD that has recovered nearly to its pre-hit levels.

I did nothing, but I know it is naturally generating backlinks and kept some traffic for keywords that did not include the domains in the keywords.

What I think has happened is that it has gained some more backlinks not including domain keywords in the anchor text and this is leading to recovery.

I also have another couple that are showing signs of recovery but they are no where near back to original traffic levels yet.

I think this algo change is essentially self correcting if your site has a broad enough depth of content to generate backlinks that don't include the domain keywords in the anchor text.

For extremely niche sites that are only likely to generate backlink anchor that includes the domain keywords, I think broadening the content will be necessary in order to recover.

Sites that don't generate natural backlinks for themselves I think will find it very difficult to recover from a combination of this change and the penguin.


 8:43 am on Oct 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

We appear to have made a recovery - I changed some footer links on our hit site last Friday which were all keywords (widget type for sale).
We're not back to where we were (pos 1-3 for main key term - now page 2) but at least we are better than the page 50 or so we were on last week!

Wonder if we had a over-optimisation penalty...going to let that settle then make a few more changes to other onsite anchor text and see if that makes a difference.

Will let you know if that makes any difference.

EDIT: Ah, also removed footer links from another site owned by us that were again keyword rich last Friday...


 10:12 pm on Oct 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

My counter argument to this is that highly focused small sites (generally EMDs as well) will fall foul of this 'quality' indicator because as narrow focus for the site will by definition cause a narrow focus of inbound link text - which is what appears to be triggering the penalties.

I think I got hit by that. I have a site with a domain name matching the first and last name of the person the site is about. It's very much a niche site because the subject is someone that most wouldn't recognize by name. On September 28 or 29, traffic from Google dropped to less than 1/4 what it was.

The site has thousands of inbound links - all generated naturally as people linked discussions or articles about the person to my site. Probably 99% of the inbound links use the exact person/domain name as the link text.


 5:03 pm on Oct 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

Is there any EMD who lost rankings in this update for query terms other than their domain's exact match term?

Several of our sites have lost ranking for terms not exact matches to the URL of the website, but all of the terms are related to the terms in the URL.

If the site is BabyBlueWidgets.com we lost not only Baby Blue Widgets but Free Baby Blue widget, Newborn Blue Widgets, Baby Blue colored Widgets, Widgets that are Baby Blue, etc.

Like I said before, one of our sites was top 5 for pretty much every coveted search term in the niche and now they are all basically gone.


 5:28 pm on Oct 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

Another site of ours was hit by this update that I did not even notice until recently.

A few years ago I watched a video of a man playing an obscure ancient instrument that I thought was amazing. I put up a Squidoo page about it with some basic information and links to a few related videos.

A few weeks later I realized that the exact match domain for this instrument was available to register(it is very obscure). I bought the domain and put up a one page site with as much information as I could gather on this instrument which ended up being at least three times the information on the Squidoo page and more information than was available on any one website online.

The site ranked from number one to three for the term for a few years, got a few natural links in the process and made almost no money. I put one ad on the site just for fun, but this is a micro-micro-niche with maybe 100 searches a month worldwide.

Since 9/28 the site has disappeared form Google. The Squidoo page is in the second position behind only Wiki. There was zero SEO done on this site since it was never going to be a money maker. The content is only shallow in relation to other niches. In it's niche the content is likely the best source online.

So exact match domain about the instrument is nuked and the Squidoo page with a third the content is number two. It seems to be the direction of things.


 7:07 pm on Oct 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

@WebPixie, from my observations it seems like all terms that have some of the keywords from the domain in have been hit, similar to yours - do you have traffic on terms like Newborn Red Widgets with only one word from the domain in, and if so was that also hit or did that remain steady?


 8:07 pm on Oct 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

@ IanTurner

The site in question did not have traffic for anything not related to the keywords in the URL. The site was only about baby blue widgets and only ranked for terms related to baby blue widgets.


 9:37 pm on Oct 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have five EMDs and all of them now have been affected to differing degrees. Looking back over the stats (I previously just ignored all but the two top performing EMDs) the drop occurred on 29 September - as clear as the sky is blue.

I beg to differ with G that this has anything to do with site quality. All those sites are excellent quality but it's clear to me now that site quality played no part in the demotion of my sites.

First, they ARE top quality.

Second, analysing which pages have been affected it becomes clear only pages with EMD keywords in them (to a significant degree) are affected, Other pages are unaffected.

This leads me to believe that this is a cheap fix by G with little analysis behind it other than, let's hit EMDs by demoting pages in them with EMD keywords.

There is absolutely no difference in quality, design and links between the pages that have been hit and those that haven't been hit.

I think that sometimes we give G far, far too much credit for the thought and work that goes into their algo changes. The EMD algo update is a huge blunt hammer which is totally indiscriminate as far as site quality is concerned.

If this is the case, then recovery without significant changes is just not going to happen. What might work is to increase the number of pages, on affected sites, with content not related to the EMD. But if my EMD is about blue widgets I don't really want to take the time to include twenty new pages about flying kites in outer Mongolia. I know about blue widgets, but I know nothing about flying kites in outer Mongolia.

The stats are so clear to me on this that I will remove the content from the sites and republish them (with amendments) on my main site to make use of the content, the pictures and illustrations.

Pissed off from Basingstoke aka David Marks


 11:06 pm on Oct 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

An example site..( this is an English language site )..I have around 50% English sites and 50% in "other" languages...mainly French..

I have other similar sites of this type..Single page or just a few pages ( usually under 10 pages , I have only a few sites over 100 pages ) EMDs..I have some "Brands" too..and some "Brands" with no KW in domain name..

Their positions in SERPs usually follow this pattern..actual SERP numbers for each of them,and each KW, obviously vary according to each "niche"..

Single page site.. EMD,( KW1KW2 ) <= 8 letters in total..
215 words on page total..
KW1 repeats 3 times
KW2 repeats 5 times
KW1KW2 repeats 3 times
Synonym of KW1KW repeats 3 times

SERP of KW1 has 3 Billion results ( )..Average site position is in 1 to 5 page one..
SERP of KW2 has 1 billion results ( )..Average site position is in 1 to 5 page one..
SERP of KW1KW2 has 400 million results ( 400.000.000 )..Average site position is in 1 to 3 page one..

Almost all searches made monthly are for KW1KW2 in that combination ( which is why I registered it ;) it is in tech sector , high competition..

Site is 6 years old..

Content is exactly as it was on launch day, unchanged..

Site has ( AFAIK ) less than 20 inbound links..I have never done any link building of any kind on it, I usually don't bother with link building..they arrive anyway..

This leads me to believe that this is a cheap fix by G with little analysis behind it other than, let's hit EMDs by demoting pages in them with EMD keywords.

Doesn't apply to all EMDs..factors, which may, make one fall , will not, affect all..

I have seen far more evidence of EMDs ( of others ) being affected in English language SERPs than in SERPs of other languages..Apparently G do not consider that they have as much of a problem in non English language SERPs..

I can see why they would think this almost every time I search, or almost very time I watch others search..

But I wish they would start "cleaning SERPs / house" with ehow, pinterest et al ..

Robert Charlton

 11:35 pm on Oct 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

An example site..

Leosghost - An example of what? Did you rise, fall, stay the same... or different for different sites? Not clear to me what you're illustrating, though I'm guessing from discussion context that you weren't hurt.

In any event inquiring minds want to know. ;)


 11:51 pm on Oct 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

Stayed the same..in almost all cases / or rose a little ( like by one or two places ) as others fell..had no falls..

Btw..re EMDs and "KW in domain"..I was searching this afternoon for a thread here about SEO tools that Ted was running a while ago ,needed to post the link here [webmasterworld.com...] ( couldn't find the thread though so couldn't post the link ) used G to search with the KW WebmasterWorld in the string..

Oh dear!

There is an awful lot of pure crap out there ranking OK with the KW webmaster in the domain name..most ( but not all ) of it referencing this site in the content somewhere.. but selling SEO "packages"or "advising" for a fee..on SEO ..or running SEO product ads..

G still has a long way to go in English SERPs re cleaning out the "KW in domain" spam..on some KWs..I was really surprised how much is still left in and ranking on "KW in Domain".. even if they were not EMDs..

Not clear to me what you're illustrating,

That not all EMDs with KWs in content and not a huge amount of content are suffering..so.. KW % levels, and EMDs and low page count and low word count on page..and low backlink count..even in high competition areas ..does not automatically mean one gets "hit"..

I don't think of what G did with some EMDs as a "Penalty" ..so much as an "adjustment"..and it is not a "one size fits all"..nor do I think it's effects are "felt" ( or not, as in my case(s)) in isolation to other algos such as Panda and Penguin ..


 12:50 am on Oct 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

I was searching this afternoon for a thread here about SEO tools that Ted was running a while ago

Here is the link to that thread: [webmasterworld.com ]


 1:08 am on Oct 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

Thankyou :))


 6:43 pm on Oct 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

I think I got hit by that. I have a site with a domain name matching the first and last name of the person the site is about. It's very much a niche site because the subject is someone that most wouldn't recognize by name. On September 28 or 29, traffic from Google dropped to less than 1/4 what it was.

The site has thousands of inbound links - all generated naturally as people linked discussions or articles about the person to my site. Probably 99% of the inbound links use the exact person/domain name as the link text.

Replying to myself ... and hoping it might provide a clue to all about what happened ....

Looking at stats from WMT and Analytics, it looks like that, since the 9/29 update, Google has been matching my EMD site less to queries about the person the site is about and more to queries related to one of his works.

Keywords directly related to the person's name and pimary reason for fame are sending about 70 to 80% less traffic. Keywords related to the title of the one specific work of his are up significantly - some much more than 100% over last month. Unfortunately the title has a sexual connotation and the keywords sending more traffic are related to that connotation.

It appears that Google has totally lost track of what the web site is really about.


 8:05 pm on Oct 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

I agree that G has lost the plot with the understanding the content of EMD's, but after 29th Sept it seems they just want to hit some of them without any regard to quality.

Over the past few days though several terms (most in fact5) on my most popular EMD are now appearing back in the SERPS. Not where they were but nearly so. The main page though still remains buried deep down the SERPS.

No changes made whatsoever to warrant the increase in SERPS positions.

I'm calling it a day though for that site as far as Adsense and G is concerned, I'm going to conduct a few experiments and see what happens. It doesn't get a huge amount of hits but enough to make it reliable statistically over a week or two.


 5:57 pm on Nov 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

Are we waiting for a specific algo update for this one? Have most people moved on and given up? I'm a bit lost here right now. I would like to think that the EMD algo might get a tweak but would that get announced like a Panda? Am I just dreaming for this to happen? Just checking in with others still affected by this.


 3:21 pm on Nov 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

Hey MrSavage,

Like you I'm at a complete loss.
Our EMD has not shown any sign of recovering, but we've not tried any changes.
It's not a site that brings in money and at present we are trying to reverse the trend on our money sites where there is a greater increase in Adwords spend for far less conversions...but that's going a bit off topic.

We have a number of PMD ecom sites that have slipped down the rankings because well known brands that were never in the top few pages have taken over the first page of our SERPs.


 3:44 pm on Nov 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

Most of our EMDs that did not get hit by the update have significantly improved rankings over the last couple of week, although unsure why. The only pattern they all share is that they have very few links pointing to them.

With regards to the ones that did get hit, well, I'm not one to sit around and wait and I've been "moving them on" and traffic is now coming back to them.


 11:05 pm on Dec 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

Another update ... my EMD site ... which is actually about the person whose name is used as the domain name ... is slowly regaining traffic from Google.

As I described before, it appeared that Google lost track of the subject of the site by, I guess, devaluing links containing the text (name) matching my domain name. Traffic for keywords not related to the main topic of the site went up while traffic for keywords related to the person's name and works dropped to almost nothing.

Now, however, traffic from the exact matching keyword phrase is up about 25% from 30 days ago and traffic from other appropriate keywords is also up. Traffic is recovering, but is still far from what it was.


 3:26 am on Dec 4, 2012 (gmt 0)


Did you make any on-site and/or off-site changes?


 9:39 pm on Mar 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

An update ... as of a couple of days ago, traffic from Google is up about 400% for my "Exact Matching Domain" with most of the traffic coming from the matching search phrase. Hopefully, this is a sign that they've fixed the problem (and it's not just flux as a new update comes out).


 9:23 am on Mar 17, 2013 (gmt 0)


I would be very interested in an further update on your EMD domain. My EMD also recovered on 28th Feb, back to the top 10 for our EMD keyword. Two weeks later (13th March) and we've fallen back 400 places again. I'm hoping that this is just to do with the start of the current Panda update, but unfortunately it does also follow a pattern that I've seen with other keywords. Since the EMD update I've worked like a trojan to improve our website and in so doing we've risen in google for other partial EMD keywords. Each of these keywords has risen to top 10 in google and approx 2 weeks later plummeted again (sometimes 900 places!)

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