LoL here we go again!
Google have this time decided to tackle the problem of “low quality EMD’s” and the result is chaos in the web world as people discover their websites have vanished out of the results in a poof of smoke.[an EMD is an Exact Match Domain – for example red-dancing-shoes(dot) c o m would be an EMD since the domain exactly matches the product.]
In some ways you can see where Google are coming from, since the whole idea of great search results is that you see highly relevant websites at the top, with no emphasis made of the domain name itself, but rather just on the quality of the content of the site.
However, logically speaking, if Googles algorithm is doing it’s job properly then it should already have cut the poor quality sites out of the results, irrespective of the domain and whether it’s an EMD or not.
It seems that there has been a plus or bonus given to EMDs that helps them to rank better, so poor quality content is to some degree offset by the EMD bonus, hence allowing lower quality sites to appear higher than they should.
So what Google are in effect claiming to be doing is to be turning the dial down on the EMD bonus knob in their algorithm.
But the results don’t seem to bear this out. There are some great quality sites that have been built on EMDs, not for any nefarious reason, just that it makes sense since the domain name then describes what the site is about.
And even though some of these sites have great, highly relevant content, they’ve also been knocked for six by this update. By the same token, some low quality sites (i.e. low quality content) that are built on EMDs seem to be doing just fine.
And worse still you have the crazy situation where low quality non-EMD sites outrank high quality EMD sites – just because of the choice of domain name?
This suggests, to us at least, that what Google have actually done, is rather than “turning down” the EMD bonus, they’ve applied a form of penalty to EMDs that meet certain criteria, like for example, maybe having an exact match phrase and UK or some other random word at the end, or maybe they’ve targeted specific high value niches where affiliate marketers hang out, giving certain words and synonyms a red flag.
It doesn’t really make much sense, and in our opinion what appears to be such a broad reaching and quite loosely applied penalty that can punish good quality sites as well as catching the undesirables is not really doing anyone any favours.
The bottom line really is that unless Google explain what exactly constitutes a “low quality” EMD and what constitutes a “high quality” one, then no one is going to know for sure whether one particular EMD is deemed acceptable, while another is not, as seems to be the case right now.
Maybe things will settle down over the next few days and weeks, but one things for sure – I bet the “re-inclusion request” team at Google are extremely busy right now!