Google EMD: Does It Impact Non EMDs As Well?

Jul 25, 2013 • 8:46 am | comments (49) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Google EMDWhen Google launched the EMD Update in September 2012, I assumed that it only impacted keyword rich domain names. Specifically, sites that target the keyword phrase in their primary domain.

For example, a site targeting the keyword phrase [cheap flowers] would be impacted only if their domain name was or a variation of that.

A WebmasterWorld thread asks if this is not true. Is it possible that the EMD update also impacts non EMD sites but with very exact matched subfolders or file names or both? For example, the flower web site might be but the URL targeting the [cheap flowers] keyword phrase would be

Got that? Why am I even suggesting this is possible?

Last night I saw a case of a site that had a huge drop in Google traffic, like 60-80%, exactly on the date of the EMD announcement. I know there were other updates around that date, but Penguin was way after, Panda was a week or so after. The traffic statistics clearly shows a Google penalty on the date of the EMD update. But the site isn't a pure EMD case.

Have you seen cases of sites being penalized on September 27th/28th that are not classic EMD sites but have very keyword heavily filenames or subfolders?

Does the EMD update impact non EMDs as well?

Update: As Marie points out in the comments, Google released a Panda update during the EMD update. It slipped my mind and I actually did cover it. So I'd assume what I was looking at was not EMD but Panda.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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Marie Haynes

07/25/2013 01:01 pm

I think it's almost impossible to tell the difference between whether a site was hit by EMD or Panda. EMD was September 28, but there was also a Panda update on September 27.

Kamaldeep Singh SEO

07/25/2013 01:02 pm

Sir but Google also Consider URL When we search cheap flowers google shows in SERP so it means this site will be penalized with EMD update??

Kamaldeep Singh SEO

07/25/2013 01:03 pm

Yes I agree with you Mam

Barry Schwartz

07/25/2013 01:05 pm

True, I forgot about that! It wasn't confirmed until later. So I guess this doesn't have to be EMD, this can be a clear case of Panda. hmm…

Kamaldeep Singh SEO

07/25/2013 01:06 pm

Next Exact match Domain Update will hit only those site which are penalized with Panda or penguin.


07/25/2013 01:41 pm

where is the source of this info?

Michael Martinez

07/25/2013 01:54 pm

The EMD update did not specifically target all EMDs -- it only went after whatever Google determines to be "low-quality EMDs" (and this is clearly stated in the Search Engine Land article). I seriously doubt they are targeting low-quality EMDs solely on the basis of what keywords are in the domain name -- otherwise, every domain would fail to rank for itself.

Charles Floate

07/25/2013 01:57 pm

wow, cheap flowers does do some cheap flowers!

Dr. Pete

07/25/2013 02:33 pm

Yeah, my gut feeling is that the recent EMD/PMD updates and tweaks are targeted at other factors which low-quality EMDs happen to use. They're not just saying "Some part of this domain/URL matches", since the collateral damage of doing that has just been too high. So, they're looking at clusters of factors that happen to correlate with low-quality EMDs (best guess, at least).


07/25/2013 02:33 pm

There is no source. It is just conjecture.


07/25/2013 02:40 pm

It's "Non EMDs" not "None EMDs ".


07/25/2013 04:16 pm

Look at "motor trade insurance" in the UK and tell me that EMD doesn't still work. Or in this case it could be treated as some PMD domain

Michael Merritt

07/25/2013 06:18 pm

I would hope your file name example is never the case or the site I work on would be in major trouble. We don't engage in some the egregious URL tactics like having the exact-match keyword in each level of the structure, but I don't think it's unreasonable to target the keyword in the file name, as it's a good relevancy signal.

Durant Imboden

07/25/2013 06:40 pm

Google is going after low-quality EMDs? I'll believe that when I see it.


07/25/2013 06:45 pm

Very funny... Search HP printer memory, not only do you see an EMD, but footer links that link back to other EMDs.... To penalize a site with showing KWs in the URL or file structure seems desperate. What's next? Is GOOG going to spank Apple for having, iMac in the file name? #LOL


07/25/2013 07:16 pm

I don't think you understand what is being discussed or are simply refusing to use your reading comprehension skills.

Graham Ginsberg

07/25/2013 07:17 pm

The Search Engine Roundtable ::: The Pulse Of The Search Marketing Community of your website Barry. It doesn't mention Google once. Then why Barry do you forever and a day keep posting about Google??? I am so confused

Barry Schwartz

07/25/2013 08:34 pm

Read deeper, I wrote "The Search Engine Roundtable does its best to only cover topics that are discussed within the search community." So if the community is talking about Google, we cover Google. We cover what the community is talking about. So stop talking about Google.

Graham Ginsberg

07/25/2013 08:56 pm

Barry, thats like saying "if you don't like Google, don't use it." Being an abnormally strong willed person, I would think my resources adequate to change my habits, but it seems even I fall prey to the "creature of habit" syndrome. Yes, this means that you are the shepherd and we the sheep. We follow you to your pasture and participate in a daily grazing at Search Engine Roundtable on whatever you have dished up. It seems like a daily - Google on rye, Google scrambled, Google boiled and Google roasted, is our staple. Its your site Barry, so do as you like, but IMO, it would be nice to venture slightly off the beaten track into the dark mysterious unknown and mention a few titbits on others.

Barry Schwartz

07/25/2013 08:58 pm

The purpose between of this site is specifically to save you the countless hours of not having to find google discussions in the forums. I read thousands of forum threads each day and pull out the good ones. That is why Search Engine Roundtable is different. I run Search Engine Land also, you can read those stories and get a nice mix of search content, without the search community bias. Two different sites, two different angles. Got it?


07/25/2013 09:00 pm

no, it mean low-quality google is going after high quality emd. Emd also used in real world, lot of companies using "emd names". Also compare bounce rates, time on "site" for advertising in real world. You will see what in internet everything is same, but google not cares what is natural or not.


07/25/2013 09:07 pm

i love this word - low quality. Everything can be inside this word: emd, time on site, content quality, affiliate links, adsense average cpc, google penalties for non-sense things, etc. How it convenient for google to answer like this!!!

Graham Ginsberg

07/25/2013 09:08 pm

Summary if I understand correctly: = highlights of search community bias = general discussion of search engines

Barry Schwartz

07/25/2013 09:10 pm

Feel free to email me directly. This is really not on topic to this specific story.


07/25/2013 10:21 pm

If you're gonna make a site about something you're gonna get a domain that matches the topic. If you have structures such as /blue/cheap/flowers/cheap-flowers-from-10-20-dollars-that-are-blue.html then you should be slapped, same goes for long-stupid-domains-about-your-topic.


07/25/2013 10:25 pm

From what I've observed on here, Barry does covers other search engines but when he does no one seems to care. People mostly comment and show interest in his Google news coverage. Maybe if you and others would show a little more interest in other SE news, he'd cover more of it. In addition to this, even people that cover "seo" such as moz, seobook etc. focus on Google because they are the ones that readers show interest in. Even people that offer seo services always target Google because How often do you hear someone saying: who can I hire to improve my rank in Bing? Hey, if you feel the online world needs someone to cover news on other SEs, I think it would be a good opportunity for you. You seem to like to write and also seem good at it. It would probably be time better spent writing on your own site than writing on here (I should take my own advice :) ). Why let Barry move in on the opportunity?

Peter Watson

07/25/2013 11:11 pm

I see a site in my niche with the exact match domain name for our main keyword term, and this site is kicking ass! All signs indicate that it is ranking much better than it should be, and leads me to think that the exact match domain is the reason why. And this is for a huge term!

Graham Ginsberg

07/26/2013 12:37 am

There can be but one Barry Schwartz


07/26/2013 02:24 am

It's not what it's look like, I know sites that didn't shifted a single position being exact on everything, at the end all counts is the importance of you side in Google.

bhargava aloori

07/26/2013 04:58 am

September 2012 EMD update happen major which sites has redirect hug amount of pages in the website past 6 months treated as low quality websites.

the sniga

07/26/2013 05:03 am

We can say there was a soft update cause I am seeing a lot of EMD domains from past few months with good positions...

Alan Smith

07/26/2013 05:09 am

Can i use keyword+brand for my website? I think it will be fine please help

Sanket Patel

07/26/2013 05:34 am

So many urls are still ranks for their domains with their brand. Some of them have not quality links to their link profile. Hope so those once are outrank soon!


07/26/2013 05:47 am

Still lots of EMDs ranking out there after EMD update the ratio of ranking EMD websites has been increased. This update was like encouraging the EMD's.

Rakesh Singh

07/26/2013 06:28 am

So now Barry As I think you got your answer exactly. From my point of views Google must penalised those websites who use keyword rich domain....after all it the matter of identitiy with their original name or something..I am sure about that...but I think so. Cheers !

Rakesh Singh

07/26/2013 06:31 am

Yes ! for this I really appreciate for efforts and all.


07/26/2013 06:38 am

EMDs are still ranking. Whats the exact issue with them plz suggest....


07/26/2013 07:59 am

For Google there is no such thing as low quality or high quality for Google. As I can see there is a crack in the algorithm also I can give hundreds of examples.

Craig Hamilton-Parker

07/26/2013 08:09 am

Googles philosophy is simple: anything that gives free organic traffic is bad. Exact match domains are likely to be followed by exact match folders, files and sub domains. I think it's inevitable. The accountants now running it have blinkered vision.

Nosferatu 2000

07/26/2013 09:58 am

The problem is that EMD is one problem, but SUBdoamin match is another problem... See one subdomain for each page! Those sites are spreading the toolbars, that will hijack your browser!

Murthy SEO

07/26/2013 02:54 pm

You mean Anyway, you use brand name in your domain with some generic words related with your business. if you sell flowers, Then you can use your keyword in files or folders. EMD is not impact for this process.


07/26/2013 03:43 pm

And therein lies the beauty of Google's strategy. By releasing 2 updates in very close succession they make finding the root of the problem much harder, thus increasing the cost both in money and resources, something that will lead to smaller businesses and websites just giving up.


07/26/2013 04:51 pm

About EMD. I have one and the thing is that is on the first page in serp but i never did any optimisation on that keyword (phrase). Thing is that i got links on other keywords and most of them general keywords and also a lot of links to internal pages. Hope it helps you


07/27/2013 02:21 am

I didn't even feel that there's an EMD update. Still seeing a lot one-page EMD minisites ranking for the simple reason that they caught the keyword in their domain. Most of them outranking established sites.

Michael Martinez

07/27/2013 04:59 am

Technically, it's a phrase. For whatever that may be worth.

Hafizur Rahman

07/27/2013 10:39 pm

I agree with you.thanks


07/30/2013 08:35 pm

yes we lost all of the traffic on emd date. our domain was and targeting guns for sale.

Raghavendra Bellala

08/27/2013 12:35 pm

Barry, I really appreciate you for all your efforts

Spook SEO

01/19/2014 04:24 am

Is this for random only? We are not affected by the EMD update last couple of years. Hhhhmmm..

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