Google Targeting EMDs?
In the past, most Internet experts and SEOs will tell you to get EMDs or exact match domains when you can. Basically, these are domains that use your exact primary keyword. It’s easy to see why this was the recommendation in the past. After all, Google checks the domain name with its algorithm to determine the authority of the site when it comes to the searched keyword.
Here Comes a “Minor Weather Report” from Matt Cutts
Matt tweeted a “minor weather report” that might very well be a Category 5 hurricane for most Internet marketers and SEOs. In his tweet, he said that they’re implementing a minor change in algorithm that will reduce the incidences of low-quality EMDs from being on the first page of results. He also said that this will affect 0.6% of English-US queries. He then clarified that this is not related to the previous Panda and Penguin updates, as the Panda update targets low-quality content and the Penguin update targets web spam.
“The Sky is Falling!”
The “Chicken Little Syndrome” quickly took over, with Internet marketers and SEOs declaring (once again) that “the sky is falling!” and that the end of SEO is in sight. It’s hard to blame them, really. There were countless of reports of EMDs getting hit with a 100+ penalty. Worse, some have reported that their EMDs went from being on the first page to outside of the top 1000.
Some Concrete Numbers
SEOmoz has some concrete numbers when it comes to the effect. According to their data of 1,000 SERPs, 41 EMDs that were on the first page of results were taken out of the first page. For example, www.bmicalculatormale dot com was previously number 4. Now, it’s not on the first page anymore. The penalties do seem random, with some sites falling just 16 spots, with some sites falling down 100+ spots. Unfortunately, SEOmoz has no data on whether the drop had something to do with the latest EMD update, although the timing is hard to ignore.
Some Possible Reasons for the Drop
Matt did say that they’ll be targeting low-quality EMDs. A lot of the sites affected have low-quality content, and having low-quality content is a clear indication that the site is a low-quality EMD. In addition, sites with around just 5 pages were affected as well, even if the articles are high in quality. This is probably Google’s way of targeting Internet marketers that set up EMDs, post a couple of articles, and move on to the next EMD.
In addition, excessive use of keywords is also another suspected reason. Of course, a low-quality link portfolio is always a good explanation for a drop in rankings.
Should You Still Go for EMDs?
Yes, of course! EMDs remain to be the top choice of Internet marketers and SEOs alike. However, you may want to rethink your strategy. For starters, make sure that you’ll place a lot of high-quality content. Regular updates is recommended for Google to know that your EMD is aiming to be an authority. Of course, make sure that you have high-quality links, and a good SEO company can help you with this.
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