Several 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.
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.