• http://twitter.com/KungFuJesus1 kung fu jesus

    The question I have is, when creating a new site today, should I avoid an EMD in favor of some catchy, brandable name?

    From what I can gather, its not that EMDs are bad by themselves; its the issue of over optimization and an EMD is just one part of that over optimization. But by everyone calling it the EMD Update, it makes it sound like EMDs are all bad.

    I would have liked to see some examples of EMD sites that went up in rankings to compare their seo vs the EMD site you listed.

  • http://www.linkbuildr.com/ Ryan @ Linkbuildr

    That’s basically it….EMD’s are still ranking VERY WELL for most terms big and small..it just depends on the overall quality.

  • http://www.facebook.com/christoph.cemper Christoph C. Cemper

    Just go ahead and download the full cae study
    lots of examples on EMD sites that went up


  • http://www.facebook.com/christoph.cemper Christoph C. Cemper

    Will discuss other question im detail in call on Monday

  • http://www.techretina.com/ Gaurang Joshi

    Well I definitely agree with your points made. And EMD update was a good initiative taken by Google to get rid of all those who were simply enjoying Google loophole since last 13 years.

  • Andrew Shotland

    I own a few EMD sites that I’d like to think are high quality and were not hit by the EMD update. The way to think about it is can you turn your EMD into a catchy, brandable name? If so, and you’re willing to put in the effort, it should work.

  • http://twitter.com/boblaw boblaw

    Terrific article Chrisoph. This update was a long time coming.

  • http://www.facebook.com/christoph.cemper Christoph C. Cemper


  • http://www.facebook.com/christoph.cemper Christoph C. Cemper

    I agree

  • http://www.facebook.com/christoph.cemper Christoph C. Cemper


  • http://twitter.com/seopandapro Ken Mozlowski

    Is Bing going to follow suit? Not yet at least. It is also a question of whether the user aka the consumer of information is actually finding what they want. Keywords are how they find what they want. Other than direct or brand searches in which case they know what they want and hence should be presented with those brands. In the case of keyword searches they are clearly searching for information and want a diverse set of responses so they can decide what is relevant and what isnt relevant for their needs or interests. Although we all know that there were and are “abuses” which can really be said of any SEO “technique”, a heavy handed approach to EMD takes search a step closer to removing keywords from the search equation and more towards brand which is always going to be ranked by how much money you can spend on brand promotion. Authorship is another example of the further use of branding in search, by giving preference to those who have branded themselves by name not necessarily qualification.

  • Steve Palmer

    Great article Christoph. I have MOSTLY emd’s, always have… Only one dropped, but it was a newer site, no links, in the financial sector with lower quality content, so I wasn’t surprised. But every other emd site I have is still dominating. Most are 1 and 2 keyword domains. The one that got hit was a 3 keyword domain.

    Have you seen this trend Christoph? That 3 keyword emd’s got hit more so than shorter ones? Assuming equal link profiles.

  • http://www.seo-first-page.com/ SEO First

    Awesome share…..christopher can you just share me more about power trust and how one can determine the same.

    Thanks :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/christoph.cemper Christoph C. Cemper

    Ken, they simply took away the “unfair advantage” that EMDs had over normal domains. The playing field is leveled now. All other issues are independent from this “bug they fixed”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/christoph.cemper Christoph C. Cemper

    Bill, would be interesting to look at specifics.

    Please feel free to mail to us here http://helpdesk.linkresearchtools.com

    and we might do a new study with a new angle on it.

  • http://twitter.com/hyderali_ Hyderali Shaikh

    Good Post Christoph!

    What I feel is that people should go & buy domains according to their brand or keyword without fear. Most of the people don’t understand that this EMD update is targeted to only those website who are low quality & doesn’t provide any benefits to their user & ranking on top just for having a keyword domain. I agree with you that people don’t read google’s guidelines properly & behave awkwardly when any update arrives.

  • http://twitter.com/nabeelbutt87 Nabeel Butt

    Well Written article Christopher! Google is trying to kill all those folks who are over-night SEO experts. Though, There’s still plenty of room for improvements and i can see it coming in upcoming months.

  • http://www.brickmarketing.com/ Nick Stamoulis

    I’ve noticed that many EMDs also tend to have an exact match anchor text problem simply because their brand is a keyword. It’s hard to vary things up when your domain name is also one of your “money” keywords. So some EMDs might have been whacked by both Penguin and the EMD update because of that. Not all EMDs are bad but when you can’t make it a real brand you’re running a risk.

  • Andi the Minion

    Great article, I know very little about SEO and dabbled with a few EMDs,over the years though I have learned that in reality whatever your site is, you should turn out quality content for the reader and if you do use an EMD try and make it into a brandable business name as well. I certainly wouldn’t choose an EMD then just stuff the site full of keywords like your examples above and I am glad to say that it looks like the days of those type of Google Sniper sites are dead and buried.


  • http://twitter.com/netmeg netmeg

    Questions like this drive me nuts. If you get hit by the EMD Update, the problem isn’t the domain. It’s what you did or did not put on it.

  • http://kercommunications.com/ Nick Ker

    A step in the right direction, for sure. But I am still seeing quite a few useless, outdated sites with virtually no incoming links that rank in the top 5 for those keywords. Here’s hoping it will tighten up over time, like most algorithm updates.

  • cjvannette

    I would hesitate before buying a new EMD. If you have an established non-spammy EMD site, it’s probably fine, but going forward, I would definitely choose a branded URL instead of an EMD.

  • Adreana_Langston

    I’m still not understanding how this helps me, the user. Let’s say I live in Littletown and it is May 2013. I am trying to find corsages to give to women on Mother’s Day. I type “Littletown + flowers” in the search query box. I WANT the business whose name is “Littletown Flowers” to come up on the first page of results because I want to be able to drive around the corner and buy the corsages. What’s more, I, as a consumer DO NOT CARE if the company “Littletown Flowers” has anything “new” to say on its website about roses, carnations and daisies. Seriously, what has “changed” in the past 10 years about a bouquet of a dozen roses? The images and the text could all be a decade old and still accurately reflect what I, as a consumer in the market for flower products, would want to know. The only thing that needs to be fresh is the price and availability. So now, if I am reading correctly, “Littletown Flowers”‘s website, with no fresh content, and EMD URL and with text about flowers that is very similar (maybe even a copy and paste) of the text about flowers that I could find on a dozen other websites and with text that uses the words “carnations”, “roses, “daisies” and “flowers” over and overa again because – duh – is going to drop off the first page when I am searching for “Littletown + flowers”. I do not expect the owner of “Littletown Flowers” or “Littletown Pizza” or “Littletown Drycleaners” to spend a substantial part of their workweek posting blog posts or chatting on twitter or posting to Facebook. They are small business owners. They have enough to do. I want to search for pizza, flowers and dog toys near my home and have the businesses that are near my home come up first in search even if their website names are the actual name of their business.

  • http://kercommunications.com/ Nick Ker

    I think you may be missing the point. A shop named “Littletown Flowers” should not have any problem from the EMD update since that would be considered a brand – unless of course they have been doing all sorts of spammy things, or if the site is complete junk (hard to navigate, poorly written, etc). “Freshness” doesn’t really come into play very much here, but quality does. Sites are not automatically penalized for having a domain that matches the keyword phrase. Instead, lower quality sites or possibly sites that are doing some link spamming will no longer automatically rank higher just because they have a domain with the right keywords in it.

    For a long time, many sites that really did not deserve to rank highly, were ranking well just because their domain contained those keywords. For example, let’s say instead of the shop called “Littletown Flowers” owning LittletownFlowers.com, it was “Bob’s Flowers” which is about 20 miles outside of Littletown. Bob wanted more business from the people of Littletown so he put a simple site on LittletownFlowers.com. That is not what you are looking for, but prior to the EMD update, it probably would have been what Google showed you. The EMD update is supposed to eliminate some of that.

  • http://www.reactorr.com/blog/ Mark Nicholson

    This is something that’s been on Google’s ToDo list for a long, and likely over hyped.
    An EMD is a domain that shouldn’t be affected by over optimization if the anchor matches the URL. Quality of IBLs is more of a consideration than before, but this is another well timed PR move from G.

  • http://www.asotoadeola.com Asoto Adeola

    Interesting Read and Update.Consistent & Quality Content still rules.

  • http://twitter.com/seopandapro Ken Mozlowski

    I would like to say that is true, but from what I have seen the update was not applied consistently, i.e. only low quality got hit and high quality survived. If what you are saying is that is doesnt matter how many dashes or keywords are in your domain only quality counts. Then I dont think that is true. I doubt that we will be recommending clients buy dashed domains or ones with more than 2 keywords regardless of their business name.

  • http://www.facebook.com/REwidgets Aj Martin

    EMD’s are valuable for other reasons than SEO – think about the toll free business 1-800-KEYWORD – EMDs are great for offline advertising billboards magnetic vehicle signs etc. One day Google may go the way of Yahoo but the domain name system is likely in place much like the phone numbering system. If you have an EMD don’t give away your gold – most of the celebration has been SEOs and buisness owners not clever enough to get EMDs or were “late to the domain registration party”.
    Also Bing.com and the other 200+ search engines don’t seem to mind EMDs. I think Google’s biggest issue with EMDs is the backlink anchor text is by default “fixed” to favor keyword anchors rather than having to earn keyword anchors. At this point I assume the entire anchor text/backlinking metric to be in question due to manipulation by bad players. I wouldnt want to have the challenge of ranking the internet at this point so I feel for Google as their is just too much information for them to keep up – but to come back and slap EMDs seems like a cheap stunt to garner favor from SEOs that dont have clients with EMDs.

    I am not going to advise my clients to abandon their EMDs – would it make sense to say hey you are a doctor so don’t use the word doctor in your domain name. Asinine. For this piece of the puzzle I will take Google’s advice and forget about Google when building a web site. Good luck to all.

  • http://twitter.com/bovibe Bo Vibe

    Very insightful post, but I would, however, contest that it is not quite as simple as “follow the quality guidelines”. I have three EMDs, all with “City+keyphrase”, two of these are basically mirror sites (different languages) whereas one is totally unique, and the latter also has, by far, the most content. All sites have in common that all content is unique (except for the “mirror” sites), they all have few links (and only from reputable domains) and basically the same Page Rank and little to no social media presence. The only difference being that the mirror sites are on WordPress. The two versions, in different languages, still rank on top whereas the largest, most unique site (with a very tidy domain name) completely crashed and burned from one day to the next. This tells me that the update hits quite randomly, which is incredibly frustrating when you build a site that complies with every possible guideline, and then the rug gets pulled from under it.

  • http://rcents.net/ RCents LLC

    Google is going to wind up burying itself. They can blame the website spammers all the want. The real problem is that Google became a monopoly and now keep playing games with the rules. Look at the ridiculous market for “backlinks.” Google could very easily analyze a site for quality, however they have a ranking requirement for backlinks to get the first page. The result? Millions of spun articles on garbage sites with keywords and backlinks.
    Why do people pay for that? Because they work. That’s Google’s fault. No backlinks = no front page ranking for decent phrases. Period.
    Google further caused bad blood with their Adsense abuses. How many good and hardworking bloggers got kicked off of Adsense without recourse? No phonecall. No explanation. Just a cold bullet to a business avenue. It happened to me, and Google couldn’t care less.
    My view is that people are still using Google because they don’t think there is a viable alternative. Unfortunately many of these people view Google with resentment instead of favor. Once they learn of a good option, they’ll bolt.
    In a number of ways, I’ve given up on search engine marketing. I’ll take what traffic I can get, but I’d rather rely on conventional marketing and social network referrals.

  • http://www.candleforex.com/ CandleForex

    Thats what we did, we got a branded URL. However we do have some EMD’s that are 301’ed to the branded domain.

  • Eastvantage Outsourcing

    I am actually confused of this recent EMD update. What about domains that don’t have their keywords in their domains? Please please enlighten me…

  • http://jobsnaturalgas.tumblr.com/ Jobs Natural Gas

    Sorry. Meant to say YES, Google is evil. Their time is coming. I had there… just got excited I guess. Google gets my blood boiling fast. The most overrated company of all time. If you can’t effectively help your customer when they are having problems you will eventually pay the consequences. That is just one piece of the foundation totally missing.. but a big one.

  • http://jobsnaturalgas.tumblr.com/ Jobs Natural Gas

    OMG.. Exactly to 90% of everyone responding. The problem is that Google finds a way to make constructive criticism about them just disappear. And they have the perfect avenue to do it. You would think that they would go out of their way make sure we understand, but instead they make it as freaking complicated as possible. Why? Because they are greedy and think they own the world. Just like someone that wins the lottery and blows every penny in 10 years. Google is not grounded. They are obnoxious, overrated, spoiled brats that want us to think they are sophisticated. They get off on deleted or cancelling numerous Google Adsense customers that have quit their day job because they made it on line. But now because they want to show their muscle they just hire a bunch of people to make random changes which send good hard working people back to the work place, when it was absolutely unnecessary. Why not work with us? Nope.. they want to play God but they are really the freaking Devil.

  • Winston

    Customers? If you mean you are one of those “hard working” made-for-Adsense site builders, you need to understand that you are not Googles customer. They are the broker between you and the ad buyer. So you have it backwards. You should provide a better vehicle for the ads.

    Google does go out of its way to make the rules clear. You just don’t listen or understand it.
    Maybe you wouldn’t have a problem with algorithm updates if your name wasn’t a bunch of keywords, Mr Natural Gas.