The EMD Update: Google Issues “Weather Report” Of Crack Down On Low Quality Exact Match Domains

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.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Features: Analysis | Google: EMD Update | Google: SEO | Top News

Sponsored


About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn



SearchCap:

Get all the top search stories emailed daily!  

Share

Other ways to share:
 

Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. Comments may also be removed if they are posted from anonymous accounts. You can read more about our comments policy here.
  • Stephen Frost

    Likewise, I own a site where quality pages with word counts around 1500 to 2000 or more words, getting a large amount of natural FB ‘likes’, linked to a popular YouTube account with links back to the relevant pages and the videos embedded on said pages. Yet also the site has as far as I can tell disappeared from Google, the only reason I know it hasn’t gone completely is because I ran the “site:xxxxxx” query, all my search traffic from Google has disappeared though. I only use ethical SEO, on page etc, and have steered clear of black hat like the plague for numerous reasons.
    I will get the site up and running effectively again, it just kind of sucks for this to happen after months of work.

  • Stephen Frost

    Likewise, I own a site where quality pages with word counts around 1500 to 2000 or more words, getting a large amount of natural FB ‘likes’, linked to a popular YouTube account with links back to the relevant pages and the videos embedded on said pages. Yet also the site has as far as I can tell disappeared from Google, the only reason I know it hasn’t gone completely is because I ran the “site:xxxxxx” query, all my search traffic from Google has disappeared though. I only use ethical SEO, on page etc, and have steered clear of black hat like the plague for numerous reasons.
    I will get the site up and running effectively again, it just kind of sucks for this to happen after months of work.

  • Atul Chaudhary

    Google guys have gone a step too far with experimentation. My own site got hit despite being using all high quality content. It is now gone from page 1 to page 20…. I don’t understand what to-do now….all traffic is gone along with business…..guess would have to start from scratch and again spend few months….

  • Atul Chaudhary

    Google guys have gone a step too far with experimentation. My own site got hit despite being using all high quality content. It is now gone from page 1 to page 20…. I don’t understand what to-do now….all traffic is gone along with business…..guess would have to start from scratch and again spend few months….

  • http://localwebsitepro.co.uk/ Local Website Pro

    The word has been out for some time that EMD where googles next target its all about giving and doing what Google wants! I have quite a few smaller sites and many took a hit still deciding if its worth building them up or just letting them go, however a couple of my larger sites did improve which makes me think it might be worth the effort to give one or two a go!!

  • http://www.egiconsulting.com/dotnetnuke/dotnetnuke-support.aspx marco santiago

    Thanks for the very impressive post. I-9
    compliance
    | E-Verify

  • http://twitter.com/ledermanu Uri Lederman

    Ouch @google-fcf4c67324048c7d73ac7b4b2f4d84d2:disqus, you sound like a man who needs some sleep.. :-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Codex-Meridian/100002285341528 Codex Meridian

    As I’ve said, its only an excerpt of the mail. It’s not a comment on the post in public. Its an email. In fact, they privately shared their work to me and allow me to examine if they have done their work right..They asked detailed questions and I’ve answer them.

    They even shared my post on their own social networking profile, and I’ve checked it. I even earn new readers from them and right now the site after these updates even had higher percent amount of returning visitors than new visitors.

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

    In case you haven’t seen it yet,
    we released a case study on that minor weather report last week here

    http://www.minorweatherreport.com

    best regards
    Christoph C. Cemper

  • http://twitter.com/n8brophy Nathan Brophy

    I have a branded domain, my competitors have exact match domains. I just received my SEOMOZ report today… all the exact match domain competitors have gone up in rankings. Gah!

  • Pranas Baliuka

    They own the search engine – it is not public social service, but profitable business. Just accept the reality.

  • http://www.facebook.com/roodhardt Rachel Roodhardt

    Hi Leodeen, Don’t give up – my site got flushed and I’ve made some changes and clawed my way back up to Page 1… I wrote an article here about what I did: http://rachelroodhardt.hubpages.com/hub/Panda-20-and-EMD-Google-Algorithm-Recovery-Plan

  • http://www.smartseobacklinks.com/ SmartSEOBacklinks

    …and now non-sniper sites, which have a relevant domain are knocked out the rankings. They will need to tweak this to reclaim the ground lost by these sites – looked a little too much of a harsh update.

  • le-man-nguyen

    That mean that Google always is trying to provide quality results for user

  • Phòng Khám Athena

    It uses poor quality domain name is identical the new keyword ranking changes.If the content is good domain name is identical keywords is a big advantage

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Geoff-Lohrere/1013361371 Geoff Lohrere

    Same here. I found several of my sites knocked back down by EMD and they are high quality and much loved sites. One has even been added to sold software because of the accuracy of the information.
    Also, one of my pages was penalised out of existance in April 2012 by Penguin but now it is back in
    first place with the blue links under it as very much loved by Google. How can
    it be bad one month and excellent a few months later with no changes?? I have
    also found Google disobeying robots.txt and indexing pages that they shouldn’t
    be. And on their forum they say it is because they cannot read the
    “noindex” because it is blocked by robots.txt but they read it anyway
    so how can that be? And to state another obvious point, if robots.txt blocks a
    page, then isn’t it blatently obvious that you do not want it indexed??? So I
    physically blocked the pages with mod_rewrite and the next thing I found was
    Google trying to gain access through FTP on my server!!! What on earth are they
    up to? I also had Zonealarm saying that some Google software wanted acess to
    the net and yet I have no Google software installed and never have. Are they
    putting spyware out there now as well? Something is very wrong here and there
    can be no doubt that Matts changes are seriously flawed. I am now using Bing
    and helping them make changes for the better and I am finding excellent
    results. http://www.bing.com is now the best
    choice I have found. Since the results are intelligent and stable in Bing, what
    can we do to make it more popular and then we no longer have to do the Google
    dance?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002195460442 Jose Lopez

    I welcome the change because this will weed out low quality websites and weed out other SEO personals selling outdated SEO services to the public.

Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Search Engine Land on Twitter @sengineland Like Search Engine Land on Facebook Follow Search Engine Land on Google+ Get the Search Engine Land Feed Connect with Search Engine Land on LinkedIn Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest

 
 

Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States

Europe

Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech


Free Daily Search News Recap!

SearchCap is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!

 


 

Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

Get Your Copy
Read The Full SEO Guide