EMDInfluence

Exact Match Domain (EMD) Update: Did Google Change Its Mind?

10 comments

 

Back on September 27th, the same day as Panda #20 was rolled out, Google announced the EMD update that aimed to lower rankings for websites that achieved high rankings by using exact match domain (EMD) names. Companyname.com is not considered an EMD because it is expected that a company will use their name as the URL for their website, rather, the EMD update was aimed at sites like keyword.com, shortkeywordphrase.com, and longkeywordphrase.com.

As with most Google algorithm updates of late, this one also shook up the SEO community. Most of us were excited for this update because it meant the end of spam sites with thin content outranking our client’s sites purely based on a URL. Many of these sites maintained high rankings with very weak link profiles, if they had any at all.

What then, has been the impact? Has this update been the magic answer to sites with keyword-rich URLs winning high rankings?

Looking at Data from MozCast, we can see that on September 27th, the day the EMD update was released, there was a 10% drop in EMD influence.

 Photo credit: MozCast.com

But this metric is only looking at EMD data, Dr. Pete was smart enough to separate EMDs (keyword.com) from PMDs (partial match domains like keyword-phrase.com and keyword.subdomain.com). Looking at PMD data, the decrease is also evident on September 27th.

 Photo credit: MozCast.com

However, something interesting has happened in the PMD data that hasn’t happened in the EMD data — from November 18-22 the influence of PMDs has increased.

I have personally seen evidence of this in one of my client’s rankings for a targeted keyword phrase. Over the last weekend there has been a fair amount of flux in the rankings and as of today one of the sites outranking my client is key-word-phrase-reviews.toptenreviews.com. Not only is it outranking my client’s site but it is in the third position for a very competitive keyword phrase..

My guess is that all the recent flux means Google is in the middle of either rolling out an unannounced update or they are running a test. If you’ve seen any evidence of EMDs or PMDs winning rankings please share your findings in the comments below.

Image: Domain Name by Shutterstock

About the Author

Chris Slowik is a Digital Analyst with Anvil Media, Inc., a leading search engine marketing company. Chris helps Anvil’s clients increase ROI through social media marketing, PPC management, and search engine optimization.

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10 Comments

  1. I've done checking and I've not see any other urls showing up except for the one you mentioned on this post. I ran about a dozen queries that I thought would generate some results that would shed some light and I only saw brand sites and legit sites that are not EMD only. The one site for TopTenReviews did come up quite a bit on very thin content.

  2. Nicole

    I had a site ranked number 14 for an emd. It was kicked out of the index the day of the emd update. I have since decreased keyword density. On the day of the testing it went back up to number 43 which is worse than it was but at least in the index. A few days later after testing it was back out of the index.

  3. I've seen EMD that has lorum ipsum text all over and rank #1 for a keyword term. Apparently EMD still rank on Google despite irrelevant content. My question would be will EMD continue to rank especially with a lot of relevant backlinks?

  4. I have created 3 EMD websites - brand new - zero external SEO - and have seen first page results typically in the top 3 and some i retained the top 3 spots knocking off the biggest established competition. EMD is back ... for now.

  5. I'm not seeing it on the one EMD/PMD domain of mine that got hit. Totally legit site, entirely original content, but fell off a cliff. Decline was so steep it felt more like a penalty than a tweak in EMD weighting. Has seen only the slightest recovery, and that's been a more or less linear rise. Maybe the next algo tweak will help.

  6. I had been ranking page 1 for a search term for a long time but since EMD the site disappeared only to return briefly on page 1/2 but now has vanished again. Oddly I have a site on page 4 today which has a generic name but carries an article on the seach term. Do you want a guaranteed page 1 top spot? Then pay the man (G), that is their long term aim driven by shareholder's demands. Cynical?, maybe but they hate giving us traffic for free. Russ

  7. I have an EMD that has two hyphens in the name. It is an ecommerce site that sells phones, 5+ years old totally legit. It was crushed by EMD. I have another site only a year old EMD for phones, no hyphens and is basically an affiliate site -thin content - for my main phone domain. The affiliate site was not hurt at all by EMD. Go figure?

  8. Google is giving monopoly to its products and we all are becoming fool. Is it to?

  9. I have had my website Learntosail.net up since 1997. I produce and sell sailing training and history cdroms, apps and dvds. I also have an online sailing course. When I built the website and registered the domain name, it made sense to me to have the domain name reveal what the website was about. The same with my other websites which have also been up for a long time; LearnToSailOnLine.com, HistoryOfthePilgrims.com In September 2012, I noticed suddenly I wasn't getting much traffic and no orders. Then it got worse..NO visitors from Google..I had always ranked from 5 up to 1, 1st page organic on Google. Now I can't be found anywhere on Google if you type learn to sail, learn to sail online or history of the pilgrims. I researched, tweaked my sites, updated all blogs, added great content to the sites, video, etc, to be worthy of Google search. I was on the phone to tech support with the hosting company thinking maybe my IP mapping had been messed up somehow. This article is the first I saw on EMD and I realized that that is what had happened to me. Needless to say, my business has dropped over 50% in the red. I feel I am being penalized unfairly for a spam practice that was not intended on my part, not to mention the fact that my websites have been up for over 5 years, one of them 16 years. Is Google hitting the small business person like me hard? Yes, I say! I think older sites should be grandfathered to allow EMD. Does anyone out there have the same issue and is there any discussion of grandfathering older sites with EMD?

  10. Personally I have a couple of PMD and EMD domains but haven't seen any effects yet. At least not changes worth mentioning. I guess it will affect me too, but I certainly hope I'm wrong.