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Well, it looks like Google is off again…

Exact Match Domains

Well, it looks like Google is off again…

Google’s Latest Update fires a WMD at the EMD’s.

Well, it looks like Google is doing it again, with their latest update. At the end of last month (September) an announcement came from Google HQ or Bleak House as I prefer to call it, that their latest ranking algorithm change is set to send shockwaves through the SEO world, and EMD website owners into a blind panic.

So what happened?

Let me start with a brief explanation of what an EMD is and why they are popular for people who want to make money online.

An Exact Match Domain is a website address that matches exactly a phrase, or part of a phrase, that someone might type into a search query bar. For example, you might be searching for ‘gardening tips books’, so an EMD would be ‘gardeningtipsbooks.com’.

Before the EMD update, Google seemed to give these domains a bit of a ranking boost, largely because they answered exactly what a person was looking for, thus ending their search. This EMD boost made it easy to get a high page rank. Internet marketers and SEO’s alike caught on to this fact and the use of EMD’s became very popular because the boost helped sites to rank more quickly for their target key phrases. There is nothing underhand going on here, though; it’s always been a really good marketing technique, BUT (and there always seems to be one!)…

The more unscrupulous marketers out there latched on too, realising that a lot of money could be made quickly if they bought a load of EMD’s and put up websites full of advertisements and spam content. And because of them, over time the quality of search results has gone down drastically, and Google has had enough.

Enter the EMD update…

Google’s response has been harsh, and rightly so, however on the downside, it looks like bona fide EMD owners have been tarred with the same brush, with the possibility that their website might lose page rank as well. Here is briefly what the update was filtering for.

  • Web sites with on-page over optimisation (in other words over-using the same keywords), in the title, Meta, Heading and alt tags, without diversification or thinking about user readability.
  • Content stuffed with keywords.
  • An unnatural anchor text and backlink profile.
  • Sites with a low number of indexed pages.
  • Lack of any user interactivity i.e. video, social sharing buttons etc.

There are others but these seem to be the main reasons that Google might remove the boost that sites with these characteristics once enjoyed. Essentially the EMD update is on a “seek and destroy” spammer’s mission, and once they remove their Google love it’s gone for good.

So what can you do if you’re a genuine business owner with an EMD?

The best thing to do is to reverse engineer the above list.

  • Check that you are not over optimised. Think about optimising for your customers and not the search engines, so use a variety of keywords in your tagging.
  • Make sure that your content has a keyword density of less than about 2% and that it’s in context, easy and entertaining to read.
  • Use a variety of anchor text pointing to more of your sites internal pages rather than just your home page. Post content on sites relevant to your niche that offer good authority. Select your links wisely, get a healthy mix of ‘dofollow’ and ‘nofollow’, to provide a more natural backlink profile.
  • Index more pages by expanding the content on your site, so adding to a blog is ideal.
  • Link your social media activity to your site; make it more interactive by adding social sharing buttons and video.

Now if you find yourself in the position of having an EMD, don’t panic, if you were going to be hit by this first update, you would have noticed a drop in page rank already. If not then you’ve got time to work on the reverse engineering described above before the next run.

We’ll keep you posted about this and any future updates.

If you’d like more advice then please contact us, but please do it sooner rather than later…

Tim Brown
tim@mediaidentity.co.uk
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