Google EMD Update: Exact Match Domains No Longer Rank As Well

Sep 29, 2012 • 9:42 pm | comments (229) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google PageRank & Algorithm Updates

Google EMDLate Friday afternoon, Google's head of search spam, Matt Cutts, dropped a bomb on some webmasters and SEOs.

He announced on Twitter that Google is going after "low quality" exact match domains (EMD) to ensure they do not rank well in the Google search results. Matt said this algorithm update only impacts 0.6% of English-US queries.

He has two tweets on this, here they are:

Honestly, I am a bit surprised it took Google so long to do this. I mean, Matt said publicly that Google will look into exact match domains almost two years ago. I would have thought Google would have done something shortly after. Maybe they have and maybe this is just an update to that? I am not sure. But this shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone going after the exact match domains.

I believe Google was slowing pushing this out a few days ago, on Thursday night. I saw an uptick in SEO chatter in the WebmasterWorld thread but I really didn't think it was Panda or Penguin related, which it wasn't, so I decided to wait it out and see what I could find out over the weekend. It was this, an exact match domain algorithm change.

It seems like many sites were hit, as many webmasters have reported being hurt by this update. A WebmasterWorld thread has several webmasters claiming to be victims. I will do a poll on this in about a week, I don't want to poll our readers until they have time to investigate if they were impacted by this. But it seems pretty significant, especially for SEOs and domainers.

SEOmoz has some early data on who was hit and how many sites were impacted. They say it seems like a pretty big update and shared this chart via mozcast:

Google EMD mozcast report

Anyway, this is a special weekend report - I rarely do this but hey, I am offline Monday and Tuesday.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld, Google Webmaster Help and DigitalPoint Forums.

Previous story: Daily Search Forum Recap: September 28, 2012



09/30/2012 02:28 am

The problem with update is... it is somehow not detecting "low quality". Some good quality sites have been hit. Seems they have been penalized just for being exact match. This is downright silly :). Further, this update will just favor long established big sites for multiple keyterms (as they were the ones not getting any benefit of exact match).

David Iwanow

09/30/2012 02:37 am

Still only 1 days worth of data but seems some niche sites have just been wiped out and replaced with keyword stuffed websites, automated generated content and aggregators which is not really the best quality. The EMD update has certainly pushed far too heavily into just culling domains from the results. The churn and burn websites lost but so did a lot of strong and very relevant niche sites!


09/30/2012 03:33 am

even if some sites were less than 20 page content EMD's....some of those are still WAY better than KWstuffed sites or even worse aggregators. So far my EMD's have been anihalted by this recent update....SUCKS. The update now favors sites who in all likelihood are just huge massives of sites with no real relevancy to the search query and those who have built USEFUL content are being screwed

David Iwanow

09/30/2012 03:40 am

yep i did notice one that got hit that was a EMD that wasn't even ranking for or chasing the term but lost a ton of traffic over last day or so... really frickin annoying

David Iwanow

09/30/2012 03:44 am

mostly I noticed it in the travel vertical as some of my ones got hit were 50-100 page sites that did everything right including listing local contact phone and address details but now that business will have to travel aggregators for enquiries... having been to these actual locations and provided real photos and local information doesn't seem to have any added value apparently it's all about aggregators who are using correctly..


09/30/2012 05:03 am

I think the problem is that despite what Google says, I don't think they have any way of detecting "quality content" based on the actual content itself. Instead, they still have to rely on things like backlinks and social signals to determine if something is quality but those things are easy for crappy sites to manipulate. And by the same token, a lot of sites with good quality content that don't have strong backlinks or a lot of social signals end up getting classified as "low quality" because Google doesn't seem to have the ability to actually tell if the content on a page is high quality or not just based on that content alone. How about an example... Go do a search for "ddrol". Look at the #1 site How does that site not get hit by an algorithm that's supposed to target "low quality exact match domains"? That site is the PERFECT example of a low quality, exact match domain and yet there it sits unhurt by Penguin, Panda, or this latest algorithm that should specifically target a site like that. Heck it even has the "Sample Page" from a new wordpress install still on it and is even a bit taunting with the line, "This is the best place to find D-Drol online. It just that awesome! Hurray!" I'm starting to think Google stresses quality content because they have no good way of actually detecting it and if they keep stressing it then people will write better content out of fear, when the fact is it obviously doesn't matter. How can anyone say it's all about quality content (or any content for that matter) when a site like sits there at number 1 after every single update? Even though this latest update was supposed to target low quality exact match sites, I bet it was still more about backlinks and things like that pointing at the sites that got hit rather than about the actual content they had on their sites. Otherwise should have been the first site hit.


09/30/2012 05:53 am

Barry this update is the most criminal of the lot. My site as many others disappeared. Matt Cutts is a liar and Google are thieves beyond comprehension. I remember seeing a webmaster tools video from some time where Matt talked about exact name domains and he said it makes no difference and people should rather try branding the site.Chaning the rules now on this one is insane. Barry the correct thing for Google to have done is negate the power it had not slap a penalty on.That is just plain cruel not that they give a damn. It cannot be hard to achieve this and should be a simple programming rule for a 2 year old not warrant a re-engineer of the whole algo.Its also a penalty you cannot recover from other than changing a domain name. Where is the transparancy here. Google has lost the plot the completely. Honest people have built quality EMD's for years and built a good website around it. Now Google have come along said its worth sh......t I know the dust will probably settle and they will fix the mess partially but playing with peoples lives with a BETA SERP should not be allowed and Google should stop lying to people and ruining honest white hat SEO domains. I really am waiting for some lawyers to get a class action suit going one day and never thought I would see the day when I long for googles downfall and a competitor to take their place. They are the most intrusive company in everyones lives across the globe and its not jsut webmasters. They steal our personal information and are heading straight for our wallets with the services and ads they are pushing in our faces.


09/30/2012 06:58 am

My site got hit, lost 100% of my traffic, i can't believe i lost 15 000 USD investment in my site just because of the domain name. More than 6000 pages, everything unique and writted by humans.

Pankaj Kumar

09/30/2012 07:27 am

Nice thinking Matt....


09/30/2012 07:49 am

more than just emd going on here image searches seem to be affected badly also!


09/30/2012 10:11 am

My site is dead too ; killed online tv shows/video site :(


09/30/2012 11:39 am

More proof that Matt Cutts is a liar in this video and thief where he states that it makes no real difference in their algo and look at him now I know its hard to watch his face talk anymore but the engineers at google are a bunch of idiots because they cannot just negate the ranking factor instead they go an penalize and produce more bankrupting code to innocent bystanders with quality sites jsut trying to make a living.. Man they make us sick.


09/30/2012 12:13 pm

What a f*in a*shole... Lost 3k hits a day on one of my sites...

Kuldeep Singh

09/30/2012 01:14 pm

Johan , i can understand how it feels, my site got hit so hard by penguin update and lost all traffic overnight even had totally unique content written by me and i have thousands of raving fans. But google is just thinking like a machine, not because my traffic went down or i hate google animal , but i really think that instead of quality now google search engine is serving crap , at least in my country , india. After that i decided to leave google based business and started to build email lists and traffic source that google can never hit, like ads. If you dont mine can you please give me your site URL ?


09/30/2012 01:17 pm

Went from 2000 uniques/day to 0. Real site, real content. Maybe not the best site on the internet but good enough to have a few visitors i believe, not zero.

Shalu Sharma

09/30/2012 01:25 pm

Thats google for you. Time to change your homepage to yahoo and bing.

Adam Grunwerg

09/30/2012 01:45 pm

This update makes no sense at all. I have a very high quality student money advice site that happens to be on an EMD ( The EMD was for brand purposes and doesn't even receive any exacts. Now it's completely penalised just because of the domain I chose - it has nothing to do with content quality or user metrics, which are both extremely high. If anything, it seems like age'd EMDs with links are fine, but


09/30/2012 01:49 pm

I think some sites that may get are some of the personal injury law sites for defective drugs, medical device URLs that some firms buy.


09/30/2012 02:25 pm

This is just going to create even more spam sites when people just switch to a different domain name and copy the old site.

Jeremy Meindl

09/30/2012 03:00 pm

On the plus side Google seems to push out their updates on max volume then dial it back so part of me thinks most EMDs will come back to a certain degree. I also have to wonder if this update is to push their "seo trap". . . devalue emds and then watch the seos scramble to fix them. A perfect way to lure them out.

Wolf Dalone

09/30/2012 03:58 pm

Really. You have a site where people can download .EXE(cutable)s which God knows what they contain and you complain. Really?! Taking a hit on your 'software bundles' that generate revenue :) Put them up in torrents, that the way to go. Funny...

Narender singh

09/30/2012 04:52 pm

I lost almost 100% of the traffic on four of my websites and I think this update is just a name as EMD but its more cruel than the Panda and Penguin...most of the spam website are showing in the Results and the good websites are just out of rankings,why Google is testing these kind of bugs.

John Brown

09/30/2012 05:30 pm

good idea for all peoples/small business who lost own emd/pmd website to write letter to anti-monopoly department in your country about this matter. Tell inside this email what google totally unclear and used only to remove competitors from their search results and not providing any clear instructions what can do and cannot do (g guidelines is common, not specific in lot of topics). Also attach their stocks history, your sites, trademark/company registration certificate (if it company emd). That mass actions at least will increase interest of anti-monopoly departments to this company and it can cost google some big $$$

Explore My Blog

09/30/2012 06:29 pm

Google is not a search engine that returns relevant results anymore, its a crap because you will get hit if you make your domain and website brandable :) simply they are killing relevancy and quality contents. Good news is that yahoo and bing combined launched their own adsense program for website publishers with the colaboration of Media.Net. So its time to switch to bing and yahoo. you may apply for Bing & Yahoo Adsense program here ttp:// In my opinion people with micro niche websites with Exact match Domains always write good, quality and unique contents because they always try to rank for one or few keywords. This algo implementation is just to improve big authority websites those already within google network. If you noticed for last couple of months youTube videos are coming top in search results even we are searching for text/contents in google search, and couple of times i open those results and videos come with model girls dancing and making fun of each others video was ranked only because it uses keywords in video title, no where in the contents of video. Matt Cutts what are you doming man!

Jessica Smith

09/30/2012 06:36 pm was #1 before this update. According to google algorithm EDM #1 like is a brand. All the others are trying to fake it, and they will get hit, not that one, quality is irrelevant more than ever. I remember 2 years ago, if users are happy, page view goes up, and your site goes up - that simple. Users were shoosing what's the quality content. That should be the only way and it's simple.

Nadeem Khan

09/30/2012 06:50 pm

Johan, was your PR 0 before this update or it went down to 0 after this update?

Nadeem Khan

09/30/2012 06:53 pm

The update makes total sense as exact domains had an unfair advantage over other regular sites ... 100% authentic sites were being outranked by relatively poor sites just because the poor sites had the keywords stuffed right inside their domain names!!!

Raja Tahir Qaiser

09/30/2012 06:54 pm

WTF is this :(


09/30/2012 07:01 pm

My point isn't that was #1 before this update (it's been #1 for a long time). My point isn't that is a brand. My point is that site has as close to 0 content as you can possibly get and therefore has no reason to rank before, after, or during any updates, especially one that targets low quality, exact match domains. Whether it's a brand or not should be irrelevant if the site doesn't have any content. A site with no content should be a prime example of a LOW QUALITY site that Google claims it doesn't want in its rankings. Obviously that site IS "faking it" by manipulating backlinks and other ranking factors. It has to be because It obviously isn't ranking #1 based on its content. Google puts all this emphasis on "quality content", but obviously essentially "blank" sites can still rank number 1 even after Panda, Penguin, and everything else. In fact, I know who owns that site and they've even said they don't even put any content on their sites until they have them ranked in the top 10. So all Google's talk about rewarding quality content is a bunch of bull. It will never be based on actual content. It will always be based on outside factors like backlinks, social signals, etc that supposedly "indicate" high quality. Unfortunately, all those things can easily be manipulated. Things like Penguin, Panda, and other algorithm updates just mean you have to be smarter about your manipulations to make it look more "real" and "natural", but examples like this prove quality content has nothing to do with it.


09/30/2012 07:19 pm

Ok, I was ranked # 2 for the past 3 years, please tell me how I totally dropped for all of my keywords except one and my competitor has increased? I have 27 other websites that just dropped off the face of Google and my competitors all stayed. They also have EMD url's and way worse content I'm so lost : (


09/30/2012 07:21 pm

I have bought the EMD only to make a good french site about sexe fridn! I hope it will not be crashed because of his name !

Krista Tannahill

09/30/2012 07:25 pm

I am thinking of doing the same thing. My site lost about 75% of traffic due to this update. I write unique content and I am tired of the negative effects these updates have on my site. My other site was also slammed (due to the name I guess). I also plan on focusing on email lists and other sources that cannot be affected. In I way I feel like just saying OK Google you win!! My little site that I created for fun doesn't make money anyway ... but it was nice that people could read my posts - I enjoyed it. Too bad that now no one sees it.


09/30/2012 07:30 pm

A big lose for those people who was paying a lot to retain their domain as they are effective and good news for those who are new in the market and atleast the competitive edge of exact match domain wont hurt them.


09/30/2012 07:31 pm

Krista Tannahill

09/30/2012 07:32 pm

Exactly! This is what I am seeing with my sites - they were pushed down and can't be found anywhere. Even my images are gone from Google search.


09/30/2012 07:49 pm

it seems that this update hit sites that had domain name in anchor text on too many places, although in my mind this seems cleanest white hat SEO you can do. search results are plain stupid right now, on 2 pages i see 14 results from the same domain. it's a complete mess, Google, do something.

Amit Kumar

09/30/2012 07:59 pm

Guys google is company of crooks matt cutt is head of these crooks. Now these guys are inventing new ways to increase thier adword balance because look the posts @ seoroundable where google announced the 42% hike in revenues of adword after penguin update now these guys invent a new way to increase it if EDM is illegal then see this video and Matt Cut if you are listing or read this watch this video of your interview and reply to SEO Community you crook...

Amit Kumar

09/30/2012 07:59 pm


09/30/2012 08:31 pm

I own 5 websites, 2 of which are low-quality EMD's and the content isn't all that great. The other 3 are personal, unique and non-EMD and have no relation to the 2 EMD-sites. All 5 of them got hit saturday morning around midnight GMT+1. My Adsense income has decreased by 95%. Seriously, Google ruined my online income with this "minor" weather report. It's nuts, I hope they'll tweak it, to make it more fair.

Michael Donaghy

09/30/2012 08:44 pm

This has been a disaser for me. I've gone from page one on all my keyword terms to not even being in the top 25 pages. My whole business has disappeared!


09/30/2012 08:55 pm

Hey Jenny, I agree. It makes no sense to penalize a site for using an exact match domain. Honestly, the domain shouldn't matter. It's the content on that domain that should matter. Not to mention that exact match domains are a lot more user friendly and informative. For example, if you want to find "blue koala bears" are you more likely to find them at or at I'm all for penalizing and getting rid of low quality sites, but to hammer a site just because it uses an exact match domain (whether that is a brand name or not) is totally absurd. From the sounds of it, there have been plenty of high quality sites hit by this EMD update.


09/30/2012 09:08 pm

Hey Jeremy, I get the same feeling. It's a great way to see which EMD's are being manipulative by suddenly building a ton of new backlinks, social signals, etc. to try and get their rankings back. Honestly, I think this sort of "seo trap" is also the reason why we haven't had a new Penguin update in so long. I think Google is sitting and watching. I think they are seeing how SEO's react, letting them test new strategies and letting them think new backlinking strategies are working...setting a trap. People see their rankings go up so they start doing more and more of the new backlink strategy. Meanwhile Google sits and watches, sees what they are doing, then at a later date decides to lay down the hammer once the trap has been set and the bait taken. I just get the eerie feeling that Google is waiting and watching for people to expose themselves, letting them get comfortable with their new methods for "gaming" the algorithm again before unleashing the next beast of an update.

The Widow

09/30/2012 09:30 pm

I agree. I posted very high quality human written content. No linking going on at all and poof! Like a magic trick many sites gone. This kind of stuff happens every time something or someone gets to much power. Legitimate businesses and people being hurt is BS.

Michael Donaghy

09/30/2012 09:44 pm

This update is unbelievable. My site is the only dedicated site in its sector in the UK, a property site with properties, news and articles. It is not low quality but the only dedicated business of it's kind, which was on page one across numerous keywords- and now it is page 65! Below results from Uganda and totally irrelevant search results!! My whole business is currently finished and my sales person will have to not work next week!


09/30/2012 10:26 pm

I want to organize a collective lawsuit against google. who is in?? WE would need a lawyer and what is needed to get this going. They need to pay. I hope many are here to join, complaining is not the solution.


09/30/2012 11:04 pm

I also think this update affected more than just EMD's...I think Matt Cutt's tweets only told half the story. Either that or there was another, different update at the same time.


09/30/2012 11:09 pm

Do these happen to be images that use the keyword as alt text?

Ari Kuswinda

10/01/2012 12:59 am

How long this will happen? or this algo will be implemented forever?

Ega Pamungkas

10/01/2012 02:32 am

Medok yah bagong


10/01/2012 06:59 am

Now Fu**ing Google has showed its monopoly again...... I am not able to understand.... why Google repeat this again and again... Whenever Google don't have solution to a problem it release it as a Penalty or Algorithm Change. What is the issue if someone have a keyword in its domain shows the relevency between content and domain. And relevency is the main criteria for a matching result in search engine. But Google don't like it so its a Penalty.....WTF Tomorrow Google will release another Penalty Exact Match Keyword in Title then it will release Exact Match Keyword in URL It is a creal indication that Google is forcing online business owner to use its Google Adword Service to remain in business. After Google Penguin update there was around 46% hike in Google Revenue and mainly from Google Adword now this time it will be 200% hike in Google revenue from Google Adword Service. They are saying that they are doing it for people....but it is clearly visible to all that it is just business nothing else.


10/01/2012 08:06 am

Lots of non-EMD sites have been wiped out as well as lots of EMD sites are still there, so this update has a lot more to do with EMD. I bet it even has to do with anchor text, since it's saying EMD which usually has anchor text. So EMD and anchor text can be correlated. Now suppose you have an exact match domain with keywords in it but you have a well balanced link profile instead of using the exact keyword from your domain in your inbound links every time, you can be safer. Maybe this is why some EMD's are not affected but still too early to say. Of course if someone else links to you, what we call natural links, they might use your exact domain which has keyword. So basically this update could be like targeting domains which has keywords because whenever you get links, it's easier to get your keywords in just because you have a keyword-rich domain name. Anyway, I have a non-EMD site wiped out, traffic dropped 95%, maybe it has to do with anchor text diversity but with all this mayhem going on, it's difficult to say for sure. According to Google, you should have only about 5% of your main keyword in your link profile but how can Google knows what's your main keyword? Guess it's time to add more naked urls and generic words for safety. But if you take Cutts to his words, it shouldn't be about links since this update is about EMD which is still rolling on. Think better wait for the dust to settle before making any conclusive assessment because the state of the SERPs are confusing. Sites with poor or no content are ranking top 5, go figure. Writing high-quality content seems counterproductive today even when Google always vouch for this. Just my 2 cents. Good luck to all.

Jigar Pandya ™

10/01/2012 08:51 am

Don't worry mate, Its effective if and only if you have '''low-quality''' exact-match domains.. Google think some people already parked that type of non-relevant domains for only ad purpose. Thank you!!


10/01/2012 09:05 am

Best update and one of which I've been predicting would happen by the end of 2012 since last year. Very happy to see this :)

Cess Padilla

10/01/2012 09:17 am

I agree with Barry, I can't believe that Google took so long on doing this. Ever since the Panda update, I knew that something like this will resurface then Penguin hits and now this. Google isn't really finished with their updates so I think webmasters and SEOs should keep their heads up and be prepared of whats coming.


10/01/2012 09:35 am

What a stupid decision that is from Good, New websites does not meet that much quality standards. Appropriate time is required to meet these standards.


10/01/2012 09:40 am

New websites does not meet that much quality standards. Appropriate time is required to meet these standards. How could new websites ranks well?

Nowdoo - Domains & Hosting

10/01/2012 09:49 am

I think they never will stop updating - that game is played since Google was founded and will continue as that`s part of the game ;-)

Ravikant Sharma

10/01/2012 09:50 am

right bro... actually Google wants every one use paid search on higher cpc..


10/01/2012 09:53 am

7 months ago I purchased - spent 5k. Employed copywriter and in-house SEO programmer. 4 weeks ago ranked TOP6 for exact match keyword, TOP1 was taken by Checked SERP's today and we are not in TOP100. Thank you very much! Layoffs and bankruptcy.

Steven Lockey

10/01/2012 10:00 am

[sarcasm]Yeah because getting rid of all the EMD spam domains isn't a good thing honest!!!![/sarcasm] Are you upset because you are a spammer or because you didn't bother to read the article properly? Because those are the only two groups of people who have ANY reason to be upset with this update really. PS. Please learn what monopoly means.

Steven Lockey

10/01/2012 10:10 am

No, I'm afraid your competitor's site is actually better than your's. Your one does look prettier but IMHO, the competitor's site has more information which is better separated into relevant sections. It is however ugly as hell but Google doesn't care about that ;) Your site actually has very little information on it (maybe 12 paragraphs outside of the home-page) compared to the competitor's site.

Mahendra Varma

10/01/2012 10:15 am

may it will work for low quality domains and I can say the every update that was done in Google is to generate more revenue and as well as better search results but it gives much preference to the revenue side.

Jonay Pelluz

10/01/2012 10:34 am

so if I have a EMD with quality content I don't have to worry?

Sardar Nawab Khan

10/01/2012 10:49 am

No, please do worry. You are on their whims.

Sardar Nawab Khan

10/01/2012 10:58 am

Right you are. Search for any cheap flights to .... e.g accra or any city and you will find just 5-6 companies dominating. This is really ugly practice. Do they serve people better by just allowing top 5 companies to make a living. And I can tell you 500%, quality sites have been hit.


10/01/2012 11:00 am

I lost 45 sites, completely wiped out. I wrote my own content, I couldn't bring myself to publish worthless 5$ articles. My content was genuine and my goal was to write content that helped the searcher and generated revenue through non-aggressive contextual ad placement. I also didn't build a single backlink, just focussed on non-competitive niches. For the last 3 months I worked every night on these sites and had just started seeing top 10-20 rankings and some income. I was trying to trying to take advantage of a ranking bonus with emd's, so while I wasn't trying to manipulate Google (e.g. unnatural backlinking) I certainly was being opportunistic. I can cop that, it's a chance I took. What I can't work out is if this is a real penalty or just the EMD bonus is gone? e.g. is there any point working on these sites anymore?

Sardar Nawab Khan

10/01/2012 11:04 am

But good quality sites have been hit, no one can deny that.


10/01/2012 11:11 am

The only thing that can make some difference.

Matt Janaway

10/01/2012 11:16 am

I feel for you. Working online can be risky when relying on one source for visitors - I have been there many times myself. "What I can't work out is if this is a real penalty or just the EMD bonus is gone? e.g. is there any point working on these sites anymore?" Well nobody really knows. My advice would be to concentrate on building some more great and unique content. Does content act as link bait for you? If so, does it work? If it doesn't work then I would suggest to try and find a few more natural links (I would try to ensure that these new links are none-anchor text links too, make them as natural as possible).

Matt Janaway

10/01/2012 11:21 am

Instead of panicking, try to stay calm. Just because you have an EMD doesn't mean you can't rank for that keyword. Instead of giving up, why not keep at it. Google obviously think your site is poor quality (rightly or wrongly) so just stick at it. Keep up with creating good content and ensure you have a natural link profile - it might climb back before you know it! It is important to remember that this should ONLY effect "low quality EMD websites". If you have been effected then you need to increase the quality of the website.

Matt Janaway

10/01/2012 11:32 am

Exactly Steven!. I have over 20 EMD's and not one has been effected. This (I assume) is because Google see them as good quality websites with natural link profiles. I have seen absolutely no indication of ONE SINGLE good quality website which has lost rankings. Not one. @ the other comments in this thread... Of course Google want businesses to spend money with them, why wouldn't they?. However, people should not be so naive to assume they would risk the quality of their search engine to force businesses to hand over hard cash. A poor search engine would be extremely bad for business for Google. If search quality keeps dropping then consumers will stop using Google. If consumers stop using Google, do you think businesses will keep paying for PPC? Come on guys, think about what you are saying.

Matt Janaway

10/01/2012 11:34 am

What you are saying could be true but it is purely speculation without any evidence. I would put my money on your issue being unrelated to this "low quality EMD" algo change.

Matt Janaway

10/01/2012 11:53 am

@facebook-609461944:disqus I'm guessing that (rightly or wrongly) Google IS seeing your site as low quality. I feel bad for you! There must be a reason though why it happened. If you want help contact me on G+ or Twitter (@MJanaway) or something...

Matt Janaway

10/01/2012 11:58 am

It's not just about the quality of content. Think about the whole visitor experience and in addition to this, ensure you have a natural link profile...


10/01/2012 11:59 am

Well are your EMDs US-based? This is a US-only update so far. If they are, I would love to speak a little to you about your domains to see what is different abut them. I had some really nice helpful, quality sites that got hosed. I hear both sides of the argument, crappy sites still ranking, awesome sites tanked and vise versa..

Fredrik Eriksson

10/01/2012 12:02 pm

It's not a penalty to have an EMD, but at least "some" of the free bonus you got by having an EMD is now gone. Some EMDs tend to be quite long and that could be a disadvantage now. Make sure the quality of the content is good enough so visitors will share your site. Then make sure people in need will find your content as you would with any other site and you should be fine in the end. The best thing with EMDs is still that Penguin has a hard time hiting you because of the exact match domain. I would guess that it's still better to have an EMD than something else if your main goal is to rank for that keyword alone.


10/01/2012 12:02 pm

See how you masked your advertisement to LOOK LIKE navigation to FOOL people into clicking ? Boom. Site gone.

Matt Janaway

10/01/2012 12:06 pm

Yep, most are US based. I think this issue is not just about content. In Google's eyes, a low quality website is about much more than just it's content. What is the link profile like? Is it natural? What ratio of incoming links are using anchor text? Where are the links coming from? This is an open ended question and there are so many variables but the one simple fact that remains is that Google obviously see the sites that have dropped in rankings as poor quality. Whether you agree with them or not is not relevant, your job (if you want to retain the rank) is to improve the quality of the site and it's link profile.


10/01/2012 12:07 pm

Barry, enjoy your time away! When Penguin was released I had pretty much decided I finally had a gut full of Google, SEO, Google+.. All of it. I just focused on my company's real world efforts and published a lot of our company news via press releases, local media, etc. That has had a positive effect on the bottom line thankfully. If you are able to do this for your business, I seriously recommend doing it. If you are old enough to remember business before the Internet you will understand what you need to do. It is pretty bad when you can not rank #1 with an exact match domain and that domain is your business name... I am not going to complain because at this point, I really don't care anymore. It is going to take some time but Google will loose it's dominant position in the search market serving the poor quality results it has been lately so I think it is prudent to be patient. I have lost just about all of my traffic from Google search in 2012 and what little I do get is not very relevant and the bounce rate is through the roof because the sites pages are being served in results not relevant to the search. However, my Bing traffic has been growing by leaps and bounds... up about 250% so far this year and I am not sure why. I have not done anything to promote my websites other than the press releases. "likes" and +1's are a joke so I don't work to get those... The only think I can think is Bing is getting better at serving the right page for the search query and is being used more than what is being reported. Hell, I am even starting to get a few hits from Duck Duck... I think if more people like myself washed their hands of Google, got back to basics, focused on what it takes to rank well in Bing, the webmaster world would be a better place.

Matt Janaway

10/01/2012 12:16 pm

I agree. Google should never be a websites main source of traffic. I know it is hard to ignore (and you certainly should not ignore) the potential traffic that Google can provide but it is also important to put all your eggs in different baskets. With the rapid release of new algo updates, more and more businesses are going into liquidation because they use Google as their only traffic source.


10/01/2012 12:16 pm

Relax dude, Matt Cutts does not run Google. You do not know him personally, stop attacking his character. You are playing in a game like the stock market, imagine if you had $20,000 invested in a company that produces machine parts and then the market went down. You are taking the same risk. Matt Cutts has a job and is doing his job. Google is trying to make a good search engine. You are trying to make money off the search results. Don't be so pissed, make adjustments and try to prosper my friend.


10/01/2012 12:18 pm

It will come back. Just a rainy day.

Matt Janaway

10/01/2012 12:19 pm

@twitter-62601254:disqus That's a valid idea. I have also noticed similar things happen recently with anchor text links. SERP's drop temporarily while (I assume) Google are watching and keeping an eye out for more changes (possibly more incoming anchor text links too) due to panic. Worth keeping an eye on...

Matt Janaway

10/01/2012 12:22 pm

Exactly. Thumbs up! React. Play by the rules. Be patient.

Matt Janaway

10/01/2012 12:26 pm

Ha! Shameful plug! It is also a "big lose" for those who put efforts into posting a pointless comment (using a guest account) on a blog comments page with a link back to their site. The only thing missing from your link is some SEO related anchor text... If you think an SEO website is the place to find customers then you are sadly wrong. Most people here know what they are doing to a certain extent. You should be looking for customers who DON'T know what they are doing. Good luck :)


10/01/2012 12:31 pm

Thanks for your comment. That's true it's pure speculation, anyway everything is pure speculation with Google nowadays. No one apart the Google gods really know their secret algorithm. If only someone knows exactly the holy grail of their algorithm, we wouldn't spend so much time on forums and blog commenting I guess. Honestly, I deeply think it doesn't have to do with the EMD at all. Something more is going on. Maybe a Penguin in disguise which is mostly link building. I suspect a Penguin update is soon to come after the so called EMD and before that a Panda Refresh. This infernal cycle will never end. Right now, I can see a big Google dance as well, results shifting like mad in certain niches. Website appearing, disappearing, shifting few positions etc... Need to fasten our seat belts as we are all in for a hell of a ride.


10/01/2012 12:55 pm is a doorway page.


10/01/2012 12:59 pm

Exactly, I was reading a white paper about the BILLIONS of websites that Google has to mange, crawl, and rank against each other. They have almost 1 millions servers. That is a HUGE job and they give you results in less than one second on ANYTHING you type in. That said, they make one little tweak.. and 1 million people are adversely affected and 1 million people are positively affected. 7 billion other people don't even notice. They are doing a great job, good sites will come back. EMDs will not be terminated completely and we will all make money again.


10/01/2012 01:13 pm

It seems to me especially as I went after such low competition niches that to go from ranking say for example 8th to 297th without a single backlink is more than just a loss of the EMD bonus, but this might settle down over the coming days so best to work with all the facts. I take your point re quality content and I honestly believe my content was of a high standard, I felt this would distinguish me from the typical Adsense niche sites with $5 articles. (Then again everyone believes their content is high quality I guess) I was actually hoping for another Panda refresh and the impending Penguin update. I'm still not going to build fake backlinks, even though Google has created an environment where this is almost essential in niches where natural backlinks just aren't natural :) I'm not about to bitch and moan about this, I can see why Google did it, they have to protect their brand and they are in the business of being the best search engine available. There was a lot of rubbish on EMD's I just hate to see so many people who were doing nothing wrong get taken out as well.


10/01/2012 01:21 pm

Great and unique content is the goal for sure but content that people share in low hanging niches e.g. 'soundproofing materials' is less likely to happen naturally and my sites were a lot more tightly focused on the searchers query, hence in my opinion being of more value. Another thing I noticed, is one of my sites used a secondary KW for the domain with the home page targeting a higher volume variation. This site still got hit, but still ranks no 1. for the secondary term which is an exact match. So there has to be a correlation between the domain name and the title tags, content etc. which is probably how they finally worked out how to do this without effecting brands.

saon islam

10/01/2012 01:39 pm

This is so ridiculous. I had 5000+ visitor per day but now that is drop down to 200+!!!! Is it fair? I worked so hard for my blog and now everything wasted. Can you please tell me what is the solution?


10/01/2012 01:49 pm

Barry I cant add my comment?

Mike Kalil

10/01/2012 02:15 pm

I think Google's algorithm is still biased toward EDMs. Google "movies," for example. comes up first, but who actually uses that site? The movie site that people actually use, IMDb, is third from the bottom when I search. It looks like this update just targeted EDMs that haven't established authority yet.


10/01/2012 02:35 pm

It clearly missed the mark. Do a search for "ddrol". Can you tell me that isn't a "low quality EMD"? The problem is content doesn't make any difference in Google's determination of a high quality site. It's all about outside factors that can be manipulated. Yet Google continues to stress quality content over everything else so then an update like this comes out and people who had great content but maybe not backlinks or social signals (because they aren't focused on getting and manipulating them) end up also getting hit.

Fredrik Eriksson

10/01/2012 02:42 pm

I feel for you and I'm not exactly sure what is happening, specially since I'm not yet affected. If you are actually getting punished by having an EMD that is a new interesting angle from Google. I assume far from all EMDs where hit and where goes the line if that's the case? Is a few quality backlinks enough to stay in zone and/or does long EMDs (based on 3 words or more) have a hard time ranking at all after this? It's an interesting move by Google if good EMDs where hit by this.

Codex Meridian

10/01/2012 03:00 pm

Well ignore Google and forget about them...just today I received an email from a reader thanking me for my content and want me to send my free ebook. I also had one person commenting on my blog posts asking questions about my posts. I gladly entertain them both. You know it still makes me happy knowing that this site loses more than 50% of traffic due to EMD but still I have readers paying attention closely to my content. This is something that algorithmic updates can't take away from my site :)

Matt Janaway

10/01/2012 03:02 pm

But who said low quality was all about content? Not Matt Cutts. All he said was "low quality"... How do you interpret "low quality". If I knew nothing about optimization I would interpret it as content - but would an algorithm? CAN an algorithm? Considering I do know about how Googles algorithm works (to the extend that could be expected considering the secrecy of the algorithm) I would automatically review the websites link profile if somebody told me it was a poor quality site - even more so considering the last 18 months with Panda and Penguin. Also, you cant be sure it missed the mark if you don't know if it has been fully rolled out. They might be testing the water. All I ever see when there are algo updates is anger and speculation. They release very little information yet people always make all sorts of assumptions. Wait for data, test, resolve. Simple! If people don't like it then they shouldn't rely on Google for visitors.

Kevin Gerding

10/01/2012 03:06 pm

Has anyone noticed that there is essentially no competition to Google's products in many product based search queries? Are all of these updates combined to kill off any competition to listings/verticals that are controlled by Google?

Saket Vaidya

10/01/2012 03:07 pm

Looking to his disgust it is quite obvious he has a low quality exact match domain.

Matt Janaway

10/01/2012 03:08 pm

Hmmm. I was thinking the same. There have been some ranking changes overnight (up and down) on one of my domains that have been pretty static for a few years now. To be clear, the domain certainly does not have any keyword placement in the domain name. I need more data :D Time will tell I suppose...

Nadeem Khan

10/01/2012 03:14 pm

Most of the times a good site is penalized manually by Google for some serious violation (and a notification comes in GWT) ... if a site has all the right signals of a good website then Google bot can NEVER penalize it because its a BOT, it cant think and therefore it cant have double standards! If millions of other sites are ranking well even after these updates then why isn't your site ranking ? Answer is simple, SOMETHING is wrong/missing. Study on/off page SEO in detail and do a thorough check up of your site accordingly - 99.999999% times the issue is with the site not with Google bot! P.S. If you are confident that your page is PERFECT, send me its URL and keyword and I will point out the exact cause of your demise =)


10/01/2012 03:41 pm

I had two sites affected out of around 40 , neither of them EMD. So there is more to this update then google are saying.. As always relevant useful sites replaced by scarcely relevlant low quality pages on big brand sites. Google is not useful as a search engine any more. When I search all I find is big brands,the speciailsts I hunt for have been pandad and penguined.


10/01/2012 04:11 pm

Can you post an example of what your traffic has gone from/to? Using SEMRush it looks like you only ranked for one or two keywords, and I would expect that you still rank for those particular ones. What I'm saying is it doesn't seem that you've been blown out of the water by this, but let me know if I'm wrong.


10/01/2012 04:27 pm

Hey Matt, Yeah, that's kind of my point. I don't think an algorithm can determine quality based on the content alone. That's precisely why there are so many other factors. But with an information service (which is basically what Google provides) are the backlinks pointing to a website more important than the actual content on that website? I would hope not, but from what I'm seeing, the actual content on the website has very little to do with it. Otherwise, essentially blank sites wouldn't rank. I think that's because the actual on site content is probably the hardest thing for an algorithm to actually read through and interpret whether it's good, bad, relevant, irrelevant, well written, accurate and factual, a bunch of mumbo jumbo, etc... The problem with relying on all the external factors is that anyone can manipulate them. Want your site shared a bunch on Facebook or Twitter? Go to Fiverr. Want backlinks? Go to Fiverr. Want to create your own backlinks? Use a piece of automated software. Sure things like Penguin and Panda mean you have to be smarter about it, but rankings are still manipulated and will always be that way. That's unfortunate because it means a site that has 1000 Facebook likes wasn't necessarily liked by 1000 people. It could just be that person went to Fiverr and threw down the money to make it look that way so it APPEARS to be of higher quality to Google even though it isn't. I think a question a lot of people have is...Can I just focus on writing good content without chasing backlinks, social signals, and all the other SEO stuff? It seems like that's what Google wants us to do, but It doesn't seem like you can because Google could still classify your site as "low quality" since it lacks the other signals. I just think actual on page content should have more weight than it seems to have, especially since Google always stresses quality content and good user experience. A poor content site with great backlinks and social signals will outrank a site with a ton of great content that doesn't have those other signals. When you're providing "information", shouldn't the content be the most important thing? Maybe it's just not possible to do with an algorithm because it's too hard to determine "good content" (whatever that might mean). One could argue those other signals should come naturally if you're putting out good content, but that could take months or even years if you're not doing anything to help bring traffic to that content. Do I have a better solution? Nope. There will always be that issue with search engines and SEO which is fine as long as people understand that. These updates are never "fully" rolled out. There will always be tweaks and more updates down the road. Do I think the initial wave has been rolled out? Yes, because the rankings I'm tracking seem to be stable again. Do I think this is the final chapter on the EMD update? Absolutely not. Do I KNOW any of that for sure? Of course not. Only Google does. I think you're right and people need to think about this update and "low quality" in terms of more than just content. I think most people think of a low quality site as one with poor content, but Google doesn't see it that same way. It's a lot more complex than that in Google's eyes. From the initial results, it looks like this update probably also factored in backlinks again and some of the other things that Penguin and Panda address. I do think Google has good intentions and what they attempt to do certainly isn't easy by any stretch of the imagination. But some good sites will always get caught in the storm and some poor ones will also find a way to escape. I certainly wouldn't want to be in Google's shoes trying to sort it all out.


10/01/2012 04:31 pm

An interesting threat in Google Support Forum:

Edward M.

10/01/2012 04:53 pm

Well guys, you are not going to like it, but you always have a choice to go flip burgers and earn your money that way. Instead you chose to feed off one of the biggest company on earth that DOES NOT OWE you anything. Instead build a real business that does not depend on any other business or a person (eg. Matt Cutts). If I type a title of a book or a product in google I want to be taken to the store that sells that product, not some SE spammer who wants to earn a commission. Why should I or Amazon pay you? You are not producing anything, you are just an eater, a parasite. Don't get me wrong, I am a parasite as well, I have hundreds of domains and I trade on stock market, making money producing nothing and I am not whining. It was good while it lasted, not get over if or get a real job. Or build a REAL business. Create companies like Google, Youtube, iStockphoto, Facebook, instead of depending on those companies. Oh, sorry, I forgot this it too much trouble for the low live forms called humans.

Matt Hepburn

10/01/2012 05:22 pm

My past employer that I was a webmaster for has 65 websites all with EMD domain names. They are all quality websites and have between 30-45 pages of content on them. They where all optimized with On page. I had over 1400+ 1st pages on different keywords, all with relevant content from high page rank websites as backlinks. No spun content. He had lost 99% of his rankings. So the question on whether the sites are spammy or premium content is moot as far as I can see.


10/01/2012 06:24 pm

Actually Penguin had a more significant impact on EMDs because of the fact that you can't brand your links. So Penguin sees your link profile as unnatural.

John Brown

10/01/2012 06:29 pm

before even google company was created i was in online business. At this time everybody from us helped google placing links to their site. After google become popular it start changing game rules, before it was exact anchor, later no exact keyword in post/titles, now it emd. I feel what google is responsible for what they do now and I personally helped that company with links at their initial stage. Also google is not just a company, it before was a web search engine. It mean also about big responsibility. And peoples visit google not because love to see search box only, but because many peoples still thinking it real search engine.

Adam Grunwerg

10/01/2012 06:37 pm

I wasn't trying to "rank" for keywords. I was using a white hat strategy producing lots of articles that generated long tail traffic. My search traffic has gone from around 30> 1 per day. I know it wasn't a lot before but the site was relatively new and had

John Brown

10/01/2012 06:37 pm

answer really easy, this is google sites (privacy here) or just owner is somebody from google webspam team/google knowledge team.

John Brown

10/01/2012 07:00 pm

it always hard to know what is good content for google. i found few weeks ago what if somewhere at your blog keywords (even partial) used twice at one sentence it mean penalty. I found such places/fixed it and blog going up. Also with that emd update it so dangerous to do anything with websites now (new/old/content updates). need time to understand what and why. Or just forget about google traffic totally.

John Brown

10/01/2012 07:05 pm

i think google to not completely lost any minimal trust in webmasters eyes must clearly explain us what them mean under 'low quality site' in great details. Not common Cutts ekekek

John Brown

10/01/2012 07:13 pm

i think what we don't know what is low quality mean. it can be bug in their algorithm, problem with datacenter at bad time, manual action, competition under $$$ keyword. You will never know it, but you tell as google it low quality sites. haha.

John Brown

10/01/2012 07:16 pm

good job was 2 years before. now them switching their search engine to biggest MFA site of the world and killing all competitors. Sorry to say it, but google is not search engine anymore. Do you think search engine can not display content from site only because not like domain? But where things about great content? Or only domain/exact keywords and emd is matters???

John Brown

10/01/2012 07:18 pm

we need really consider group lawsuit against google. At least we need to write letters to anti-monopoly departments at our countries. We need government get more interest to google latest activity...


10/01/2012 07:23 pm

a lot of angry folks look to be from other countries than the US. i wonder why this is.

Mark Jacobs

10/01/2012 07:28 pm

Not True. We have a clean domain and it took us out of business! F... Google!

Brandon Heate

10/01/2012 07:58 pm

If this was really about weeding out low quality sites, why were these sites ranking in the first place? This was really a poor move I feel and really did not do anything to improve search quality in the least. It just seems to be an admission that their algorithms aren't good enough to discern quality sites on their own anymore.

Shalu Sharma

10/01/2012 08:05 pm

Its like saying, I don't like your name so bugger off. Sorry to say, its time I changed my homepage to Yahoo. EMD exactly tells what the website is all about.

Fredrik Eriksson

10/01/2012 08:22 pm

That's odd since it was the exact opposite for all my domains.

Billy Heiman

10/01/2012 09:28 pm

We had number 1 positions for a competitive term, now we can be found in the top 100 pages. Took us 2 years to get our site to rank, and google dropped us in 2 minutes. This update needs to be tweaked, terms that take 2 weeks to gain page one positions should be penalized, not competitive terms that took years to gain.


10/01/2012 09:53 pm

It clearly a lot of quality sites where also hit. Also concerns me if you go to page 1-2-3-4-5 for many keywords you see the same sites listed again and again and again. I really think Google turned that nub a little to much this time.

Lee Uk

10/01/2012 10:00 pm

use its like google5 years ago!! :)

Mike Terry

10/01/2012 11:21 pm

I think my mom's site, MargaretTerry(dot)com was hit by this update for her name. Went from bouncing around #1-#5 all the time to nowhere on the index. The results are now very strange, a mix of Youtube, linked in, and small book stores that she has done events at. I was checking after some of my SEO buddys were freaking out about their EMD's getting hit on Sunday. She is an aspiring author with a book coming out this month. There is obviously no ads or spam content on the site... I have never done SEO for it either except a bit of on page I guess. It sucks that people might be grabbing her book soon and when they Google her name nothing shows up. Is there anyone I can contact there to help me out? Or do I need to start a furious SEO campaign to get her to rank again?

Michael Donaghy

10/01/2012 11:37 pm

I'm hoping so but I've read comments on webmaster forums that this algorythm is here to stay. Thanks for the hopeful words though.


10/02/2012 01:34 am

@MGB that's an interesting point, and one that actually makes a lot of sense. If you think about it, sites that have a brand behind it, will most likely use tags that correspond with their brand (or none at all lol). Link profile is obviously a tell-tale sign as well, and one I'm sure is part of this change. In my opinion, this could have been handled differently. Sure there are a ton of crap EMD's that have this coming, but at the same time there are obviously a lot of sites that got ambushed by this change that did not deserve it. There's no doubt Google has forced us to reexamine how, we as webmasters and SEO's, run our business. I mean, the way I see it is we have 3 choices: 1. play their game of delivering only quality content on a decent chance we will get hit by one of their algorithm changes down the road, 2. throw sh_ t against the wall and see what sticks... or 3. go elsewhere for traffic.


10/02/2012 03:39 am

This is a good measure. I have noticed people take 40-50 domains on project keywords which used to rank on top with little effort. This will enhance google's credibility.


10/02/2012 06:15 am

I see that is back and I suspect more lying by google. They have probably been monitoring these forums and the backlash from the update and manually rectified that site because of the attention it was getting and possible press backlash they would receive.

Arpit agarwal

10/02/2012 06:58 am

Hello Sandeep, Its only applicable for EMD for Low Quality Content. if we have a website with Exact Match in Domain and we have good quality content, don't need to can't give any Penalty for these websites..


10/02/2012 07:27 am

@Johan: happened to me, too, in a smaller way.... However, could you explain how you could create 6.000 unique and real pages for 15.000usd? That would be 2.50usd/page. Most people that create unique good quality content won´t work very long and diligently for that. Not even in India. (and this includes no costs for hosting and technology...)


10/02/2012 08:34 am

I have people in house to create content. If you want good quality content just contact me.


10/02/2012 11:17 am

This is just pure criminal. There is nothing about this that could be considered legit. MATT CUTTS and his criminal team of imbeciles should be in prison for the economic damage they're doing! This is JUST what an economy needs... more people losing their jobs because of fu**ing retard extraordinaires like MATT CUTTS who are incapable of thinking deeply enough to consider the economic implications of the retarded changes they make. Anybody that says this is a good thing is completely overlooking the fact that MANY LEGIT SITES that ARE NOT TRYING TO WEB SPAM were COMPLETELY ROLLED OVER by these fu**ing criminals at google! It's going to be FU**ING POETIC when these web-gangsters finally lose their dominance! GOOGLE = MAFIA = CRIMINALS = SHOULD ALL BE IMPRISONED!


10/02/2012 11:19 am



10/02/2012 11:31 am

What the F**K are you talking about??? Do you have any clue what kind of impact a drop in traffic from 5000 to 200 visitors per day can do to a company? Get a grip man... this KILLED thousands of legit online businesses! Do you think they give a flying fu**ing sh!t that somebody wanted your retarded ebook? Imbecile.


10/02/2012 11:34 am


Andrew Tonks

10/02/2012 12:52 pm

in all honesty, this has been on the cards for a long time and I am surprised it's taken this long for this to come up with all the updates - if in essence doing SEO on your site is an effort to manipulate the way Google ranks content for a particular keyword, which we know Google is against in reality, then what bigger signal to give Google than to stick the keywords you're looking to rank of in the domain!!

John Brown

10/02/2012 12:59 pm

because you are alien


10/02/2012 01:51 pm

We know what it feels like but unfortunately till they fix the damn thing that they broke once again nothing we can do but wait. Cannot wait for the criminals to be arrested. Their intentions are good but their indiscriminate BETA UPDATES are taking their toll and our motivation.....


10/02/2012 01:56 pm

I haven't seen the update have much of an impact in Canada, personally (Any other Canadians?). In fact, a new competitor just bought 2 exact match domains and sold them to 2 companies that are ranking right under the top 3 within a week of popping up on the web. It's so annoying to have worked so hard to get our clients in the top 3 for main keywords, fairly with good quality content, and see these guys just buy their way to the top of Google in 7 days. I REALLY hope it just hasn't made it to Canada yet and these guys will be gone as fast as they came. Their websites have very little content on them and paid links to the same "flat rate for 50 backlinks" website........... Grrr.

Randy Layman

10/02/2012 02:31 pm

This has been long overdue. Sub par sites shouldn't get a bonus from any search engine just because of EMD. Cheap smoke and mirrors site marketing are going away finally. Content and news worthy niche sites are the necessary for the future....


10/02/2012 02:39 pm

LOL You could as well sell your computer and obtain your information from your local newspaper and library. good luck!


10/02/2012 02:46 pm

Its not this update. Its whoever had the idea of ranking EMD's superior in SERPS in the first place should be hanged. Due to this algo variable I potentially lost 1000's of $ to lazy people who registered EMD's and just uploaded 1-page sites with affiliate links! I should sue google for my losses.


10/02/2012 03:28 pm

man I was literally going to purchase an exact match domain that was in the number 4 position on google on saturday and than the owner declined my counter offer, which he than countered and I was about to accept until checked again and his site was completely off the radar, like no where to be found. Thank god, those pathetic squatters deserve it.

Mark Jacobs

10/02/2012 04:53 pm

u couldn't be more incorrect. It is affecting Everybody! F..k you GOOGLE. I cant wait for a search engine to replace you guys


10/02/2012 04:59 pm

Please share your data at if you were hit. Google must have targeted these factors and if we can figure out what is going on, we can all find a recovery.


10/02/2012 05:07 pm

He didn't announce it on Google+?

Michael Merritt

10/02/2012 06:33 pm

Are you doing any promotion of your content? Social media? Finding related sites or forums in your niche to pitch it to? Telling a friend? You have to tell somebody about your content if you expect to get any links.

Kevin Gerding

10/02/2012 06:52 pm

I see in some black hatter forums there is talk of click bombing adwords users. Keep an eye out for unnatural spikes in clicks.


10/02/2012 07:29 pm

REALLY?? You must be retarded. Removing 1-page sites with affiliate links is one thing... BUT REMOVING MILLIONS AND MILLIONS of legit businesses that own EMDs with legit websites is almost as retarded as you are.


10/02/2012 07:31 pm

LOL!!! You might as well just sell your computer and walk to wal mart or target. good luck!


10/02/2012 08:24 pm

I don't think this is just a US-Based update, where do you get that information?


10/02/2012 09:52 pm

Its about time - for those of us who actually want to be taken directly to a relevant product or service rather than stopoff that hinders the experience. well done google this is defintely a filter worth supporting. It may also mean domains are released by those parked domainers !

Robert B Roberts Jr

10/03/2012 12:25 am

Wrong, We have most content locally owned, using the City Name in URL and we were on first page for 8 years. Now not in top 50 pages!


10/03/2012 12:28 am

I checked out your fashion divas site and saw that it still had a PR of 1, and that it held position # 3 on the SERPs. I'm not a hundred per cent sure about this, but I think one of the reasons that you got slammed (as you put it), was because your ads were set-up to be similar to navigation links, even if there was a "Ads by Google" indicator on the left side of that bar. Also, I took several blocks of text from random articles on your site and search for them, but they didn't appear in the Google index. I'm puzzled about that.


10/03/2012 12:29 am

Sorry, I meant "searched for them" not "search for them"


10/03/2012 01:24 am

I wasn't affect by this update, but let's face, Google SERPs are getting worst and worst with every update, I'm getting pure CRAP 80% I do a search.


10/03/2012 02:36 am

My PR5, W3C 100% validated gem with a ton of great content and natural links just went the way of the 8-track tape. I'm glad I got this site off of adsense monetization and opted for selling space. But, another site i have was doing well with adsense and it seems to have bitten the dust as well. What strikes me as odd is that "the google" kind of kciked themselves in the junk wouldn't you think? I mean, if I am not serving their ads, they aren't getting paid for clicks from my site... and a site without adsense ranking above me does them no good. Am I thinking incorrectly?


10/03/2012 05:25 am

I spent years of work and $thousands, painstakingly creating the best quality sites in existence on a subject, now not even in the top #200 for their keywords! The most idiotic update ever. Google doesn't give a rat's ass about quality content. Think about it, the worse the organic results are, the more people click the ads. Duh!


10/03/2012 05:45 am F**K GOOGLE!!!

Mike Budhani

10/03/2012 06:17 am

For three of my website here two were killed by this update... While third one is not even touched by the Google EMD update moreover I got higher rank of this website. How rubbish is Google He can't even seen and manage all thinks proper. Let roll out more. May Be Google Will Fail In Upcoming Years..


10/03/2012 06:18 am

you should change domain name .. use 301 redirection .. :)

Nitu Sharma

10/03/2012 07:14 am

I lost my ranking for more than 15 sites which are EDMs.As the content is unique and though i hadnt done any bad SEO.But why google had done this to me.Can anyone tell me how can i recover from this update or is there no chance of getting back in top rankings?

Codex Meridian

10/03/2012 07:23 am

Yes I do care a lot and I'm not an imbecile. I know this update is very upsetting in nature. I do lost a more than 50% of my visitors. But since today (for the first time) I have more than 60% returning visitors compared to only 25% or something from search; it just brighten my day. That I realize these visitors are keeping me alive by feeding me some income and inspiration even when Google wants me dead. This is something that no algorithm updates can stole it from you.

Adam Grunwerg

10/03/2012 08:48 am - lost all of my long tail rankings which had nothing to do with EMD keyword. Tell me what is wrong please.

James Barker

10/03/2012 08:52 am

This will put Flippa out of business. No more trade in EMDs with content written by amateurs or autoblogs.

Adam Grunwerg

10/03/2012 08:53 am

It seems Cutts confirmed at least one other update that rolled out over the same period:


10/03/2012 09:26 am

Where was the traffic coming from, the brand name?

Adam Grunwerg

10/03/2012 09:59 am

There was no traffic for the brand name, it was all long tail content and articles.


10/03/2012 10:25 am

The problem not with the webmaster world, it's that most consumers still use Google and it's going to take a long time to change that.

Chris Brown

10/03/2012 10:59 am

Anybody know where I can buy a cheap computer?

James Barker

10/03/2012 11:07 am

Were the sites written by experts in their field, true beacons of authority, with engaging content and great link profiles / social shares? Or were they thin content trying to make money through ads? Unique content isn't enough. It needs to be high quality. Can you post an example of one of your sites?

James Barker

10/03/2012 11:17 am

There is a more rational discussion about this on SEOMoz. People are saying that Google has removed the "bonus" given to EMDs but that is all (i.e. they have not been given a penalty on top of the "bonus" removal). So people whose sites have dropped are finding their ranking is where it would have been, without the exact match "bonus" they have enjoyed for years.


10/03/2012 11:32 am

Nope.. It's not like that I am 100% sure. It's a penalty. Do you think the site earlier ranking on top would gone to page 60th or nowhere by just removing bonus?

Nadeem Khan

10/03/2012 03:47 pm

Boy o boy a lot of things need to be done: -- Specify image dimensions in your home page so that it loads faster -- You are not using H1, H2, H3 tags properly .... use them in proper order, H1 should be the first tag followed by h2 tags then h3 tags (EXTREMELY IMPORTANT) -- Make a sitemap and submit it to all major search engines (EXTREMELY IMPORTANT) -- Write unique meta titles, descriptions and keywords for all of your pages (EXTREMELY IMPORTANT) -- Do some blog commenting on some related blogs, you dont have much backlinks and completely zero social presence (IMPORTANT) -- Learn more about keyword density and maintain it between 1-5% for any keyword (EXTREMELY IMPORTANT) -- You have UNIQUE CONTENT (as far as pages I have checked) which is GOOD ! Further, analyze these reports to further optimize things:!/DnZPDO7EH/

Nadeem Khan

10/03/2012 04:02 pm

you have all backlinks with this single keyword = " " which explains why you were hit by EMD !!!

Explore My Blog

10/03/2012 06:00 pm

I would like to share my research what i done after google's emd update and show you how google is claiming to be a big search engine and returning not only silly results but totally wrong contents. Please go to google and search for "yellow teeth" and you will see website of 4th or 5th position and have a look the website quality and contents no single word/ paragraph is written about yellow teeth relevant to search query and still google considering this website as a quality and top ranked. This is how google is improving search and providing you quality. Matt Cutts what are you doing man!


10/04/2012 01:44 am

I agree with FunkySnake. WTF is your problem TIMMY? Just because you were not clever enough to register a keyword rich domain, you think the world owes you?


10/04/2012 01:56 am

That's wrong April. Google just cannot get it right, and think this has everything to do with pushing commercial sites to pay for clicks this holiday season. These updates are a serious joke. Hey Matt, you nuked some real good EMD sites out there, At the very least, release a form so that one can appeal their ranking change. If this algo change had nothing to do with Penguin or Panda, then what was it looking for? Does not make any sense. Matt? Is this all Google Shopping? What? G still does not have enough subscribers to call it a success? Helps us out here. Don't pull another wait and see Penguin like update.

Ashish Pratap Singh

10/04/2012 06:00 am

Google is smart enough to roll out it on a weekend evening. Most of the webmasters was not able to see the impact as they may relate it to week end drop. But it will affect lot's of niches. It will be a killer for affiliate sites minor sites.

Ming Jong Tey

10/04/2012 08:02 am

I am sure a lot of rater from Google manually go after the sites. From now on, it might be save to avoid exact match domains to be on the safe side to be flag as "low quality".


10/04/2012 10:12 am

To ALL the Google fan boys... When a website the copied content from my site (an extremely poor copy at that) ranks at the top and my site is nowhere to be found. Your argument about EMDs being spammy is invalid. Clearly the content was extremely high quality (hence the poor copy is still ranking). If ranking bad copies above the original sources is how they want to fix their index they won't be around much longer. Yes, we the webmasters are usually the first to whine but sooner or later people will get tired of useless junk (with or without emd) ranking at the top. EMDs shouldn't be the issue crap content should be.

John Britsios

10/04/2012 11:37 am

Bary I have to disagree that exact match domains no longer rank as well. For example look at What is your opinion about that?


10/04/2012 03:40 pm

It looks to me like a lot of people are so far into SEO as some sort of game that they can't see what the end-user sees any more, or move with the times. I don't think sueing or hanging is a particularly sensible route but you bring up an important alternative to the prevailing viewpoint. Without being too offensive in the process, to boot. Mark Davies | Strategy Internet Marketing

vanished without a trace

10/04/2012 04:30 pm

I was affected by this update. My website has dropped from page one to page eight of Google. All the content was relevant to my business and written by myself. Two years of hard work to achieve a high ranking has been wiped off!!! So when can I claim loss of earnings from Google???? Do they realise that lives have been drastically affected by this disgracefull decision??


10/04/2012 06:04 pm

This is google's descreet way of forcing business with EMD to use Google Adwords. I predict that they will lose profit share as more people become educated that their SERPs are biased.


10/05/2012 08:55 am

Well - Low quality Content , our site had extremely high quality content, I am sure the tweaking will further happen. Our site has extremely high quality human generated content


10/05/2012 12:58 pm

hey bro is there any way to recover ? :( one of my site lost traffic from 15000 to 300

Kuldeep Singh

10/05/2012 03:05 pm

i think you should change domain of your site and leave everything as it is use permanent redirect which dont pass link juice. I am not sure about it please check on warrior forum.

Kuldeep Singh

10/05/2012 03:07 pm

agreed, i like this search engine.

Kuldeep Singh

10/05/2012 03:14 pm

Krista don't worry, aero is not pushed back to let it down , it is pushed back to fire !! Excuse for bad Indian english O_o


10/05/2012 07:11 pm

You still don't get this website thing, do you? :)

Nick Ker

10/05/2012 09:50 pm

So if SEORoundtable decides to move to a domain like, that means we are all talking about flying cars here and this is automatically a good site for info about flying cars? You have it backwards. Domain (and page titles for that matter) should reflect the content. If the domain doesn't fit, you no longer get the benefit of the EMD. There are plenty of good quality sites with EMDs that are not hurt by this. It is about the site and its content, not an automatic penalty for EMD! Otherwise, brands would no longer rank for their brand name.

Nick Ker

10/05/2012 09:53 pm

To answer your first question, they were ranking because they had EMDs. Sites were often given sort of a bonus for having the EMD, despite lacking in quality. That "bonus" should never have been to begin with. Party is over, now those who relied on the easiness of EMDs will have to actually produce something worthwhile.

Nick Ker

10/05/2012 10:04 pm

Really? What is the domain?

Nick Ker

10/05/2012 10:17 pm

I think you just lost your EMD "bonus", which looks like all the site really had going for it SEO-wise. Not much in the way of links judging by Open Site Explorer. Try doing some better on page optimization (title looks spammy and you use "custom" 36 times on the home page, for example). Probably got bit by the Panda since that had a big update at the same time as EMD update. To get some real, quality links: Make a Google-opoly game, or SEO-opoly. Spread the word about them wherever SEO folks hangout. Clever products get shared, Liked, and linked. Problem solved. Remember who gave you the idea :)


10/06/2012 03:33 am

They haven't just hit EMDs, they've hit sites with a keyword in the title when that's what the site is ABOUT. I run 4 sites. All written by me, all with more than 2,000 pages, all updated several times a day with relevant content. Since this latest Google algo change, I've lost 10-20 percent of all my traffic. Couldn't tell you why, except that what the site is ABOUT is in the URL. Let's see "Tasty Thailand". The site is ABOUT Thailand - what the feck am I supposed to call it, Google? "Tasty Timbucktoo" and then write all about Thailand? Same on all my other sites. A site about computer games, so the word 'games' is in there. A site about Spain, so the word Spain is in there --- all sites that have more than 2,000 pages updated daily with unique, relevant content. Let's face it, you're an idiot if you even use Google search (I don't, as I won't support monopolies if I can help it), but you're even worse if you actually write content to what Google wants. As soon as people stop using Google and stop writing to what Google wants, other search engines will have more power as they increase users, and therefore what "Google wants" will eventually be irrelevant. As for Google, they can go feck themselves :)

Todd Herman

10/06/2012 02:51 pm

I need to update here. Since the EMD, we have also noticed many a dropped in rankings even for keywords with only one EMD word in the url, eg for the search term "website designer" whereas this URL website has lost rankings because the one word in inside the url "website" is located inside the url. Wait until the full effects of this one drop on us! ouch!

Nick Ker

10/06/2012 03:03 pm

It isn't ALL exact match domains, but EMDs that would get an undeserved boost from the EMD but have little or no other reason to rank well. is pretty well established, linked, and provides some good stuff so it wouldn't effect them as much as some fly by night that has nothing going for it other than the EMD.

Dean Paul

10/08/2012 09:02 pm

Wrong! The whole front page in my niche is loaded with one page spam sites and complete trash for my keyword. This is a play for adwords to rake in the cash

Chris Ainsworth

10/09/2012 08:46 am

The problem with the mozcast data is that they track 1000 keywords therefore the EMD influence may truly reflect daily SERPS. HP Group have just released (yesterday!) EMD research data over 5000 keywords which is worth checking out if you haven't already seen it. You can read the full post for yourselves via, but to summarise we saw the average EMD ranking shift from #13.4 down to #26.6 and the average PMD ranking shift from #39.7 down to #47.7. The research data also showed the average top10 EMD went from #3.2 down to #11.9 and the average top10 PMD went from #5.2 down to #12. I'd recommend reading the post if you haven't already done so.


10/09/2012 09:11 am

Agree, but it was EMD with "low quality content". Anyway Google is 100% responsible to promote it. Google has been keeping EMD up in search since the inception and now says:- Hey Webmasters, I did mistake but you will be penalized. LOL

NetDost Social Network

10/12/2012 02:40 am

google is bullshit, first they tell to build sites with keywords in domain for better seo, then we work on it for years, they bloody change the rules, this is all bullshittery

Chris Beasley

10/12/2012 01:18 pm

I don't know if I was hit by this update or not. I use generic domains, and have for over a decade. Google should NOT have a preference over domain type, that is patently ridiculous and it makes me question the so-called intelligence of all the supposed smart people at Google. That is like judging a book by its cover or the quality of someone by the color of their skin. If a site is spammy, don't rank it, if a site is quality, rank it, the domain should be irrelevant. I get the impression lately, with all these updates, Google has too many employees trying to fill their days tweaking. All these other updates, panda, penguin, whatever haven't touched me, but on Sept 29th I took a hit on some sites. The weird thing is, the sites most hit, were my best quality sites. They use keyword rich domains, but they're as high quality as they come. I have a blog that uses a keyword rich domain, is over 7 years old, 100% unique content, tons of RSS subscribers, it is a side project for me about my favorite hobby. It has been #1 on Google for years and years. Doesn't even have a single footer link. That site lost a big chunk of traffic. Why? On the exact match search it is still #1, but it seems to have been hurt on all other searches. It isn't even that good of an exact match domain. I've another site, 12 years old, #1 for 12 years, spot on exact match domain, with a hyphen, traffic didn't drop at all (and still #1 on exact match search). Third site, 13 years old. Keyword rich domain with 1 hyphen but not exact match on anything important (I don't even track it) - ranks primarily through subpages - but lots and lots of subpages, phrases it has been ranked 1 or 2 on for more than half a decade it dropped to like 6 or 7. Traffic hit appears to be about 20%. Fourth site, relatively new, 3 years old maybe, so noncommercial didn't even have a single ad on it, but 1 word keyword generic domain, nothing but unique quality. Lost 50% of its traffic on Sept 29th. I can't make heads or tails of this, but it all happened on Sept 29th.

David Billings

10/13/2012 06:42 am

Google put the screws to allot of small business site owners. Good bad and the ugly got hit. Don't bet bullied on Google and other forums. It's not your website that's the problem it's ALL Google. When you do a Bing/Google Challenge and you see for yourself you will know this was the worst algorithm roll out Google has put out yet. Search results only show PPC ads and large conglomerate websites. Real good for share holder value and a good customer experience. I am sure we will hear allot more from seo's, webmasters and small business owners in the days to come before this one shakes out. Best advise: "Boycott Adwords" and if your site is doing well in Bing change nothing! No matter what you do it won't help. I now. Have been in this non-stop for over two weeks. In some cases indexing does not work at all. One client's site went from 2,000 click 60,000 impressions to 12 clicks. Was so bad I opend a reconcideration form. If you think I am full of it call all your business partners that have website and I am willing to bet their listing dropped. About all I can say to Google is, "God bless you" Accident forgiveness from an old web guy.

David Billings

10/13/2012 06:55 am

Hang in there Johan. Know allot of good people who had nothing wrong with their websites that got the boot. Old saying what comes around goes around. Hope you don't have allot of stock in Google becuse they are worth about $20 a barrel right now.


10/13/2012 11:47 pm

i use Bing now for this very reason.


10/17/2012 03:44 pm

My understanding of an EMD is that it's a domain name that exactly matches the search made on Google - so if someone searches for "student money" your's is an EMD, if someone searches for "how to save money on a student loan" then your site is not an EMD. Personally, I'd have a look at any links you have and see if they might be considered poor quality and if they are try to get some better ones. Also, don't forget that traffic on many sites is cylical, so students going to uni for the first time might be caught up in freshers week and settling into life at uni at the moment rather than looking on websites for articles about student money. Also, new sites often get a honeymoon period where they feature better in the results than they would do normally.

Rachel Roodhardt

10/20/2012 10:36 am

Hi Johan, Don't give up... if you invested 15k in your site then it can't be a "thin affiliate" site, although I don't doubt that it's commercial in nature otherwise you wouldn't have invested the money. My site got flushed and i'm back on Page 1 day.. I've written down what I did here:


10/20/2012 09:43 pm

we know why you do it, google. peoples click on site if it have exact match domain. But you need peoples clicking your top5 cheating adwords ads... But after latest google financial news I think new jarring and jolting updates coming soon. New google serp destroying updates...

No Communism

10/24/2012 06:05 pm

No longer rank as well? How about don't rank at all. And my website name is a branded name that I've been using since 2004. I wasn't just trying to go after a keyword with it. It's just that what i do is in the title of the domain. At worst they should have just not rewarded keywords in a domain But it shouldn't be punished. Geez.

Jason Hulme

11/15/2012 11:41 pm

Are you 100% sure its only US sites that got hit by EMD update? I had a and a loose ranking same day as EMD .com. If EMD update is only effecting US based searches I can rule out the EMD update as the cause of my loss of ranking.


11/16/2012 06:14 am

Like many (but not all) updates, they roll out by server location and usually start in the US and propagate out over time. There is no hard and fast rule to how they do updates to the index but that is a rule of thumb. After this amount of time since the EMD update, you can certainly consider it to be worldwide now. So you cannot rule out the EMD update effecting your sites. Tip: Do not do any knee-jerk reactions (like build a bunch more links) they are looking for webmasters that are trying to keep their rankings by "spamming" more backlinks so they will only punish you more. Here is the thing about EMD updates (and the various spam-related updates) if it is considered by Google that the site is ultra-spammy, then they may demote your entire portfolio (everything you own) or even everything on your server. So if your site was spammy and low-quality (only you can know this) then just kill it, it likely will never rank again and you need to preserve your good name (so the GOOD sites you make in the future are not automatically regarded as spam). That's pretty rare they will do that, you have to be pretty bad but I wanted to let you know that is something they definitely will do if they feel you are a chronic spam site creator. Is there recovery? Well, like most animal updates, the EMD update might have a penalty phase, 30-60-90 days or even a year. There's a lot I could talk about it and I feel like I am rambling haha so .. yes the EMD update is world wide.

Mick Edwards

12/10/2012 04:44 pm

Good. Just come across an appalling geo-targeted SEO/Social Media site that is in top 5 - bad design, poor (no) content. All it has going for it is a very short keyword pure domain name.

PrHike Directory

01/20/2013 08:35 pm

Its always something new.

Emmanuel Obarhua

02/01/2013 08:52 pm

This might make more it difficult for a new niche blog to grow. What do you think?

Nephi Malit

03/21/2013 04:29 am

Permanent redirects DO pass link juice.


05/07/2013 12:41 pm

EMD affects "Low quality" websites. How it is possible ten years old daily updated website fall under EMD? Is it Genuine alog?

Facebook User

08/27/2013 09:57 am

Is anyone at Google listening please? You heard that "some people complained" about exact matching domains, as said by Matt Cutts in the video announcement. Who complained? the people who hadn't got the wits to get there first? who were jealous of small successful businesses? Time for Google to do no evil, and roll back this very poor decision please.

Inanc Gumus

10/24/2013 03:24 pm

Does not work in Turkish sites. Everybody here in Turkey are running exact match domains and successfully climbs to the top results in no time... They are not brand names. Google spam team should pay attention to Turkey! Exact domain match penalization should support non-english queries too! Google shows many spammy results in its top results, what a shame for Google!


03/22/2014 01:09 am

Why the Hell is google letting Patch rank at the top of its site. Patch should be under federal investigation and so should google. PATCH STORIES ARE OUTDATED AND STILL RANKING AT TOP. THIS IS FISHY

Father support

06/07/2014 02:40 pm

This is going to destroyyyyyy the GTLD. It seems Google is like going against the idea of these names? Just when the opportunity opens for everyone to secure a "user friendly" URL! Google drops the bomb.... in other words. Your URL will make less and less of a difference.. it could read for all we care and you'll do fine in rankings... That one stings!!!!!!!!!1

Father support

06/07/2014 02:41 pm


Father support

06/07/2014 02:42 pm

Exactly, what about the poor suckers who selected a name they liked and it happend to be an exact match... no they get penalties??

Father support

06/07/2014 02:43 pm

Bingo, it's about oh shucks...Exact Match names are doing well, let's make them do poor so we can make some bucks off that.

Father support

06/07/2014 02:44 pm

Totally! Google neglets small business with no capital... Where it favours mega teams of professionals who have millions to invest into their sites.. in order to be of good quality..when something else, just as genuine... with probably better service... but not so flashy... doesn't get a flicker of the eye. Greeeedyyyy !

Father support

06/07/2014 02:45 pm

Well, we selected because it looked awesome! But now we are going to get nailed for that fact. :( It's so backwards....

Father support

06/07/2014 02:46 pm

There goes all our investment and time in what we thought was a relevent and awesome name... Now it seems, we will be penalized... I'm giving up on Google's traffic, there is a lot of other traffic sources. We deciding to keep our name, even if we don't feature on Google because of that.

jaklin hammam

07/14/2014 11:48 pm

This might make more it difficult for a new niche blog to grow. What do you think? تنظيف موكيت بالرياض تنظيف بيارات بالرياض تنظيف كنب بالرياض شركة تخزين اثاث بالرياض تنظيف منازل بالرياض شركة تنظيف اثاث بالرياض عزل خزانات بالرياض تنظيف خزانات بالرياض شركة تنظيف منازل بالدمام عزل أسطح بالرياض شركة تخزين اثاث بالرياض here here here here here here here here here

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