overcome the lessened emphasis on EMD as a ranking factor
This is another opinion of mine - agree or disagree - it is just my opinion. There never was any priority, emphasis, etc given to EMDs... other than what came naturally because you had one. Does that make sense?
I have a site about blue widgets and I use bluewidgets.com as my domain. As I have said before, naturally the site will talk about blue widgets, people will usually reference it with anchor links of blue widgets or similar, etc... it all makes sense. There was never any priority given to the EMD by the algorithm it just appeared this way, because heck, the domain is an EMD (it has keywords in it and flows with the rest of the content about the site). Following me?
What I believe this update did was either one of two things :
1 - there is an algorithm or set of rules, %s, whatever that are strictly for EMDs
2- the changes are for all domains, but only apply to EMDs (bluewidgets.com vs Shfrkyd.com where both would have the same content). In this case you could say things like is the keyword(s) in the domain, is the title in the domain, do domain words appear in page % of time, are domains words used as anchor text % of time, etc. All of which would only apply to an EMD.
So, while some of you are saying EMDs always had preferential treatment I have to disagree with you. It is not that they had special treatment or a rule specifically for them, rather, the 'boost' one would say happened was done so naturally as the domain WAS an EMD.
Now, I believe there is something like this... at least we can agree there is something specific for them as there was an update haha. Thing is I believe this update penalizes the EMD for just being an EMD or pushes very strict rules to them which almost makes it impossible to use them in a normal fashion. Whether this is intentional or unintentional based on the logic mentioned above.
Why do I believe this?
1 - I have quite a few EMDs that are very old and very well known. I do not use blog platforms, templates, etc.
2 - I have never paid for links or done any blackhat techniques. I guess you can say I was doing natural before it was 'pushed'.
3 - The day(s) of the EMD update I saw havoc on these sites - drastic - all at the same time.
4 - My non-EMD sites have actually gotten better. I think we can all agree that each of us has a type of style for our sites - it is safe to assume all sites are equally created, written, etc as I feel they are.
5 - There have been a few cases I have read about, some on here, where the individual got a new domain and put the exact same content as the EMD (301'ing the EMD to the new non-EMD ) and the rankings came right back to where they were after given time for the change to take place. Why two different rankings for exact same content just different domain names?
Given the above... how do I think it should be handled? As it was originally and equally with all other domains with something along the lines of below added:
1 - How many words are in the domain? I think it would be safe to make two... three as a certain max for an EMD perhaps with a total length rule as well. If using a '-' then this should act as a divider only and would be two words in the EMD only. Sometimes using a hyphen makes sense as it IS easier to read, but you don't want kw-kw-kw-kw and so on or kwkw-kw. Now, if you think about this... that simple rule drastically limits the amount of useable domains. Maybe even as to whether it is the .com or not.
2 - Blog patform or not? I have never used a blog platform, but either way I disagree with this. You can argue that the person didn't take the time to do their 'own' site, but lets face it there are some good blogs/writers out there that either chose this for ease or simply do not know how to do sites only write. I do not think it is fair to use this as a rule.
Bottom line is EMDs did rank better... not because they were given special treatment, but they were conducive to the algo naturally. Was that fair? Yes, it was. Is it fair that a better physical location for your store (more sales) will cost you a higher lease or purchase price then one that is not? Are these locations harder to come by? Are they readily available as much? I like to compare domains to real-estate.
Now, I feel they are given special treatment, but in a way that almost makes them impossible to use. For those not having problems with their EMDs I have to ask if you are in a small niche market or not - that is the only way I see them fairing well at all. I have also noticed the amount of terms being ranked for is targeted to the EMD, but you are not given rank for them. The keyword base/group as a whole is not nearly as diverse as it was or for a non-EMD currently.