The head of Google web spam fighting team Matt Cutts announced on Twitter that Google will be rolling out a “small” algorithm change that will “reduce low-quality ‘exact-match’ domains” from showing up so highly in the search results.
Cutts said this will impact 0.6% of English-US queries to a noticeable degree. He added it is “unrelated to Panda/Penguin. Panda is a Google algorithm filter aimed at fighting low quality content; Penguin is one aimed at fighting web spam.
This should come as no surprise, as Cutts said a couple years ago that Google will be looking at why exact domain matches rank well when they shouldn’t, in some cases.
Likely over the coming days, you will see shifts in the search results where many sites that may rank well based on being an exact match domain may no longer rank as high in Google’s search results.
Exact match domains mean domains that match exactly for the search query. For example, if I sold blue widgets and owned the domain name www.bluewidgets.com, that would be an exact match domain.
Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean sites with keywords they hope to rank for in their domain names are now doomed. Rather, the change aims to target low quality sites that might be riding on on the basis of exact matching.
For a broader perspective on Google algorithm updates, see The Return of the Google Dance on our sister site, Marketing Land. As for ranking factors overall, be sure to see our Periodic Table Of SEO Ranking Factors.