EMD Update – What Is It? Should I Be Worried?

What was the EMD Update?

On September 28th, Matt Cutts (Google’s head of Spam) tweeted that they made an algo change that “will reduce low-quality “exact-match” domains in search results.” He also said that “new exact-match domain (EMD) algo affects .6% of English-US queries to a noticeable degree. Unrelated to Panda/Penguin”.

So, what does this mean?

If you’re using an exact match domain (ex. keyword.com) AND if you have low quality content on the site, then you may see a ranking decrease. However, say for example you have an exact match domain (ex. keyword.com) and the content is a) unique and substantive and b) the subject supports the keyword you’re using, then your site should not be effected. It’s in Google’s (and the users) best interest to reduce the amount of spam – this algo change is one way of doing just that.  It used to be the case (and I can attest to it) that buying an exact match domain, in a fairly non-competitive market would quickly get you on the first page of Google, regardless of the quality of content. Those days are likely gone – and may have some SEO companies that heavily relied on this tactic, a bit worried.

Is it OK to still use an exact match domain?

Yup – absolutely. If you’re in the beginning stages of starting a business and are contemplating a business name, one consideration is to include a “keyword” within the name. For example, “Charlotte Roofers Co.” or “Pete’s Plumbing Service”. From an SEO standpoint, having an EMD can still give you an added benefit in the long run because you can develop a link profile (naturally) with keyword rich anchor text. When picking domain names, the advice I always give is to pick something that a) most represents your company and b) is something that you feel comfortable using for a long time.

Implications of EMD?

In my opinion, keyword rich domains will not get the immediate ranking benefit – for the keyword being used in the domain – that they once could have received.  In other words, exact match domains are not as strong as a ranking signal as it once was. Google has been aware of the “unwarranted” ranking that some  EMD’s would get.  In fact a couple years ago Matt Cutts said that he would take a look at the issue – 2 years later, it looks like they finally did.

Hope this information helps! If you have any questions or thoughts, just let us know!  Just as a reminder – 630 Marketing offers internet marketing solutions for small businesses at a very affordable price!