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EMD Branding Strategy

 10:55 am on May 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

Fact-1: Exact Match Domains are scrutinized closely. If deemed shallow, will be a victim of EMD update. This necessitates a strategy, exclusive to EMDs.

Fact-2: Google loves brands. They may say otherwise, or some of you may, but I have seen a gradual move towards bigger brands occupying SERPs. There are crap, spammy sites, yet, love for brands is quite apparent.

Now, how do we evolve branding strategy for EMDs? If consistent use of brand name in the IBL anchors is a cue for a brand, then how should an EMD go about it?

1. Just use verypopularkeyword.com as the anchor?
2. Use "Very Popular Keyword" as the anchor?
3. Use an entirely name for the website (Company Name) and use that as the anchor?



 7:03 pm on May 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'd say that an EMD doesn't need ANY special branding strategy - just what any business would do. When most people employ a strategy, they tend to overdo it. This skews their numbers for Google, because Google usually measures the average for any metric they use. If things get outside the appropriate statistical deviation for that metric, then you've created a risk of some kind of ranking demotion. So essentially, I'd say do not try to control your IBLs at all.

The EMD update was intended to remove any extra advantage that keywords in the domain name created. From what I can see, sites that have other strong signals were not usually hit. Of course, YMMV.


 1:45 am on Jun 1, 2013 (gmt 0)


Your point is well taken. I don't think anyone can dispute it. It would be a scenario, when a website is let grow its natural growth and that is the best growth, given business behind the website is active and popular enough.

But in the real world, when a website owner approaches us, expecting us to give specific answers, hoping to turn his website into a revenue driver within a specific time period, while willing to stick to the right side of Google guidelines as far as practically possible. Whether it is natural enough or not, we have to do the link development without spamming it and it needs a strategy in place. Should his website be called by its domain name or the keywords it is his domain name made of, or should he use his holding company's name as the website name and so on. It is in this direction, I was hoping for some clarity. Thanks


 1:59 am on Jun 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

I hear you. I'd say using the domain name is the best, probably followed by Company Name. That's what I see with well branded sites that haven't done any intentional link building, at any rate. Of course that depends on the context. Sometimes the Company Name may be more natural in certain situations, so that's certainly a judgment call.


 2:20 am on Jun 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

Tedster, what would be your suggestion for the Title of a website that has a property like this:

Widget.com operated by Widget.com Ltd. offering Widget Services And Investment Guide?


 2:21 am on Jun 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

Thanks Tedster. Would you say, given Google interpreting the keywords in a domain name as a ranking parameter, using domain name as anchor might amount to keyword-rich anchor links? And thus, might carry the risk of manipulating Google ranks in so doing? Instead, would using company name anchor is more a branding signal and a safer one at that?


 2:40 am on Jun 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

Tedster, what would be your suggestion for the Title of a website that has a property like this:

Widget.com operated by Widget.com Ltd. offering Widget Services And Investment Guide?

Titles are a very different thing than backlink anchor text. I'd say just "Widget Services And Investment Guide" since Google will add the domain name if they feel it's useful. After all, this is an EMD we're talking about. There's no reason to repeat the keyword three times in the Home Page title.


 3:54 am on Jun 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

Using heavy brand links on EMDs in my opinion works very well. It also prevents you from sliding too close to the a threshold in link building which seems to be brutally difficult on over-commercialized anchor text with EMDs in particular.

Study your niche, but a general rule I use going into ANY niche is

Minimum 50% links are pure brand and / or branded
20-25% minimum are www / http /
15% are natural calls to action (click here, buy <brand><product>
About 10-15% total are commercial text, with about 5-8% being exact match, depending on niche.

*Again* - make sure you study your niche hard, and make sure you 'extrapolate' what you feel future iterations of google updates will "want" to see in profiles so that we can be proactive in advance.


 7:15 am on Jun 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

@CainIV, thats a useful observation. Thanks for sharing. Would you think, "verypopularkeyword.com" as anchor text will be seen by Google as a brand name or should it be "Registered Company Name"?

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