Exact Match Domainers: Are You Switching Or Improving?

May 6, 2013 • 8:56 am | comments (28) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Google EMDSeveral months ago, Google launched the Google EMD Update that went after "low-quality exact-match domains in search results," according to Google's head of search spam, Matt Cutts.

Since then, I've been watching the EMDers struggle to find a solution. Some have decided to stick with their exact match domains (EMDs) and build up quality on the site. Some have decided to stick with their "low quality" (i.e. not change the site) but switch to a new domain name, a non-EMD. Some have decided to do both, switch to a non-EMD and also build quality.

What works?

One person said in the ongoing WebmasterWorld thread that some of his EMDs recovered in the past couple months and he did nothing. He didn't improve the sites, he didn't switch the domain names to a non EMD. He just waited and waited and maybe Google's EMD algorithm was down-shifted a bit.

Tedster, WebmasterWorld's administrator said in response to a question on why would switching to a non EMD domain help a "low quality" site?

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.

But others are fed up waiting and have decided to take action. It seems for the most part, those who have tried to upgrade the quality did not see an upgrade in rankings but those who have switched off to a non-EMD have noticed an upgrade in ranking.

Pete Hall, a webmaster with an EMD said:

Changed mine yesterday and gone from position 360 to 12 in just over 24 hours. Yes we re-designed the site last year but none of this made any difference, in fact after January things got worse.

I am still watching the thread but for anyone suffering from the EMD update, it is worth a read.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

Previous story: Google: Don't Hide URLs In Search Results. We Don't Like It.


Nicholas Chimonas

05/06/2013 01:44 pm

Exact match domain or "partial match domain" seems to be a game of Russian roulette. I've seen many high competition keywords dominated by media giants (home depot, lowes, etc.) interspersed with odd poor quality "ma and pa" sites with designs from the mid 90s, battling the giants on page 1 via their insane amounts of ranking boost from a partial domain match. It seems to be a dangerously fine line requiring a lot of manual review from the spam team, one they haven't quite perfected yet. I thought it was hilarious that someone just waited for a couple of months and then recovered without doing anything. I wonder if the spam team test drives their Algo changes in a virtual scenario, or just rolls it out live to see how many business owners welfare they can destroy overnight.

Domain Flipping

05/06/2013 02:06 pm

I think it's all about the quality... I can not rank EMD's as easy as what they say anymore. I prefer BRANDING.


05/06/2013 02:25 pm

Nothing happened to my EMD (it is a .com) after Google's EMD tweak. It stayed where it always had been. Recently, however, it has climbed a lot. I have done nothing at all to improve the website. Really, I think the updates targeted weird TLD extensions that were obtained just to get an EMD. I haven't seen anyone with a .net or .com that got affected by the EMD updates. Of course, none of them had really crappy websites, either.


05/06/2013 02:43 pm

"...or just rolls it out live to see how many business owners welfare they can destroy overnight" They usually do this while standing in a circle, sacrificing cute baby animals, and rubbing their hands...evil-y-ish/


05/06/2013 03:10 pm

My EMD has been up 20-30% in the past 3 months.


05/06/2013 03:57 pm

Pretty similar to our EMDs over the same date range.

Josh Zehtabchi

05/06/2013 03:59 pm

What's the idea behind your domain? Mine is similar to "BasketballsAndGoals" Same idea, product + supporting product. We dominate the SERPs.


05/06/2013 06:45 pm

I see some semi-competative "door way" EMDs doing well.

Canada Jim

05/06/2013 10:09 pm

The reason why google is changing back to more power to EMD is it is getting to easy to spam Google with an none EMD. Go look the word Online Casinos in Canada 10 of the sites in top 20 are none gambling domains or they are new gambling domains with none gambling backlinks, all backlinks they are getting has nothing to do with gambling and they have low qualty content.


05/06/2013 11:52 pm

I had 2 EMDs tank a while back. Don't really care, they were low traffic, still pay for themselves. Having 3 domains on the same server in the top 10 serps doesn't make Google happy.


05/06/2013 11:54 pm

I mean top 10 results for keyphrase...

RentalLease Agreement

05/07/2013 12:44 am

Had a exact match come back to life about a week ago.. Actually had anywhere from 300 - 700 word articles on them so I do not know what was wrong in the first place but I am happy.


05/07/2013 04:43 am

I Still see many EMD's ranking well on SERP and for highly competitive keywords ... May be people need some more insights on how EMD works

Soni Sharma

05/07/2013 04:55 am

EMD or any other updates are based on sampling data. It doesn't mean that all low quality EMD sites punished or it is not also true that only quality sites are ranking well. Important thing is does your site doing enough business?

Jose Capelo

05/07/2013 08:02 am

EMD are still appearing in relevant SERPs. Low quality EMD's domains will be hit the same way that any other low quality websites, it is only a question of time on both cases. Best solution is to have a EMD website and improve its quality in order to perform well in search engines.


05/07/2013 08:22 am

As all the SEOs know that quality link building affects the whole website popularity and brands in positive manner. If you are having EMD or Non-EMD, you should work with the quality. Because now on each day is Panda day. So, we should work on accordingly.


05/07/2013 08:45 am

I still see shit loads of crappy Emd sites ranking high in google AU


05/07/2013 12:03 pm

My website cached EMD and the visitors down from 7000 to 300 per day from Nov 12 to May 6th 2013. I dont know what is happening still now my google page rank is 6. Anyone help me to come up with this EMD problem?


05/07/2013 12:55 pm

Remove low quality links,

Takeshi Young

05/07/2013 07:11 pm

EMDs still work, just don't have crappy links or crappy content. My EMDs are all doing great.


05/08/2013 06:37 am

One of our client's site was also got stuck in EMD update and nowhere to be found. After switching the Domain it got its position on most of the Targeted and competitive keywords back.


05/08/2013 07:34 am

EMD's are good as long as you didn't private blog network and cheap comment spam the crap out of them. A couple of clients who did do the above and got hit have just moved to PMD's.. moved content over and deleted the old domain. and they got a recovery within 2 months. Most seem to recover to about 2/3rds of old level. So not complete recovery but still a recovery. by the way no 301 redirects were done and google didn't seem to give them any kind of dupe content penalty. All the comments here would make a great basis for a Matt Cutts video.


05/08/2013 05:13 pm

Just add some high quality content in your website.


05/08/2013 05:47 pm

No site rank in Google without high backlink and promotion.


05/11/2013 03:01 am

in indan emd are working for .in domain

Domain Flipping

05/28/2013 07:13 pm

I know... I always spending too much time and money on backlinks and it's not working as used to be anymore... at list for me. but Thanks!


06/05/2013 07:49 am

i think google needs to smoke some pot and relax rather than doing all these updates. Life is short you know...


06/05/2013 09:23 am

Lol ... because all brandeddomains (or spammers?) slapped by penguin. Now pages previously behind stand in front. Lucky ones, huh?

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