Google is at it again.    exact match domain update

No matter what you feel about the EMD update, you can’t sue Google for doing their business.

But you can press the right buttons to get right on track and secure your rankings again.

I’ll show you few tips that’s been working for me since 2011, even before the ugly updates got their appointment letters.

The Exact match domain update is officially live.

Google Amiable Engineer Matt Cutts in one of his recent videos have this to say:

“We have looked at the rankings and weights that we give to keyword domains and some people have complained that we’re giving a little too much weight for keywords in domains. And so we have been thinking about adjusting that mix a little bit and sort of turning the knob down within the algorithm so that given two different domains, it wouldn’t necessarily help you as much to have a domain with a bunch of keywords in it.”

Note that the EMD is quite different from Panda, which targeted low quality sites, and Penguin, which addressed over optimized sites and anchor texts issues.

If your site has been affected by the EMD Google update, I know how you feel. I’ve a bunch of exact match domain names in the health niche.

Two of my niche sites lost 56% and 71% organic traffic daily, respectively. But fortunately, my business blog (the one you’re reading now) wasn’t affected by the Panda, the Penguin and this weird EMD update.

Why the Panda and Penguin came first

Have you ever wondered why the Panda and Penguin updates were the first to kick-off? I asked myself this question several times until I learned about it the hard way. Anchor texts are vital elements for link building.

And because Google is doing all they can to weed out websites and blog pages that doesn’t appeal to her audience, the anchor text has been given a top priority in search engine ranking criteria.

And it was pretty difficult for Google to determine high quality sites from the garbage out there.

I got to know that anchor texts are like snowballs. When you link to your site for instance, with a keyword-rich anchor text, the page you linked to would be monitored for relevance and engagement.

These two elements are the fundamentals of every SEO friendly practice.

The Panda and Penguin came first because the quality and value you provide in your blog/site is much more important than the domain name.

Exact Match Domain – Nothing bad, really

EMD Google update

I see a lot of website owners who think that exact match domain names are bad. To me, they’re not really bad. In fact, as long as we continue to do business online – build niche blogs and drive traffic, we’d continually register domain names that align to a particular keyword.

In the past, people who registered EMDs focused on quality content. They knew that creating a form of engagement was the key point.

I know how much love Google had for EMD in the past. If you doubt this, ask those who built niche sites that were less than 20 pages and they would tell you how much targeted traffic Google sent them, and consequently the income they generated.

But as time goes by, people like me and you, who want to make quick money, were starting to trick Google through the back door.

They started registering exact match domain name, not because they want to solve a particular problem, but simply because they want to rank on Google #1 or #2 and just sell products.

I still know a lot of EMDs that are ranking highly on Google, even now that the update is 94% hot.

So, the problem isn’t exact match domain names that you registered, but the motive and action behind it. When I say action, I’m really talking about the value you provide on a daily basis.

As bloggers, we tend to neglect this very essence. Most bloggers don’t even care if their first time reader comes back again.

Why Google Rolled out EMDs update

Yes, you can call this penalty – and I agree with you. But you may be wondering, why on earth would Google release this type of update, when so many website owners are still recovering from Panda and Penguin?

Before I answer this question, I need you to understand that Google wants to balance the playing ground.

Everyone who has something unique and valuable to say through her site is entitled to good spots in Google homepage, but you must act accordingly and be consistent.

Google rolled out the EMD update partly because people are now placing so much emphasis on exact match domain anchor link.

In other words, people are becoming lazy when it comes to writing epic content. If you had registered Amazonnewkindle.net and you start building links with the exact domain terms “Amazon new kindle,” you may be penalized.

The Penguin and EMD are connected

Earlier, I told you that the Panda, the Penguin and the EMDs updates are different, but that doesn’t make them independent of one another.

If you flash your mind back, the Penguin was rolled out because Google discovered over-optimization in the World Wide Web. Site owners have neglected the first purpose of building a website.

The content you publish on your blog is like a magnet. If the North Pole of a magnet is connected the North pole of anther magnet, they’ll never attract.

But the moment you change the horizon and use the South Pole against the North Pole, attracted will immediately take place. Is your content attracting fresh readers, retaining them or blatantly chasing readers away?

If you were hit by EMD update, it means that most of the links you built to your web pages aren’t natural and relevant – it seems you’d used exact match keywords for the hyperlinks.

And it’s pretty easy to get links with an exact match domain than a generic one. And when this happens, the purpose of being relevant is denied.

For instance, many bloggers can publish your guest post and link to your “hotelinnewyork.com” with the exact match domain name (hotel in New York). But if your site is “bueostrategicforce.org,” tell me who is going to hyperlink that?

Maybe a few intelligent site owners in your niche – alternate your keywords when building links. Also, make some anchor texts abstract (e.g. visit website, click here now, and learn more.)

The abuse of anchor texts in link building has given rise to another quirky update – the EMD which has drowned a lot of sites and I even experienced it.

As a normal human being, do you feel comfortable seeing best-wedding-cake-for-birthday-celebration.com? I don’t know if that phrase is an exact match domain name, but I’m trying to give you an idea, why Google is rolling out this update.

People are now using double, even triple dashes on a domain name, just because the domain name they’re looking for isn’t available.

Good EMD sites dashed, why?

It’s pathetic, but the truth is that so many quality EMDs sites were penalized. I can imagine the ooze in your face right now – considering the fact that you’ve worked so hard to build quality links, publish exceptional articles and still solves problem for your audience.

But there is a problem, somewhere and if you permit me, I can tell you what you’re doing wrong. First and foremost, quality content isn’t enough in this new era. You need to combine good and readable content with social reach.

In other words, it’s not really what you say or call quality that is. On the internet, the public determines who gets publicity. What you think or classify as good, may not be exactly what the people (your audience) thinks.

If any of your sites were penalized, you’re leaving some vital social spots unturned. You need to get out there and convince people to like you, trust you and begin to brand you.

Brand Building Is All That Counts

Yes, people should be able to memorize, spell and type your domain name in the browser, than knowing your personal name.

Except you used your name as the domain name. Google isn’t through with updates yet, I’m sure some heart-quirking search engine tweaks are around the corner.

You need to stand out from the teaming crowd. The reason why a lot of sites suffered in this EMD update is because their sites looks exactly like everyone else.

If you run a blog or website, let your brand stand out or you’d be dashed every time Google rolls out their algorithm updates.

How To Get Your Google Ranking Position Back

I can’t guarantee anything, if you follow the steps below, you’d increase your chances of getting back on track – because you can’t possibly do away with SEO.

At every given point in your internet marketing career, organic traffic is needed. So, let’s talk about ways to make the exact match domain name update work for you.

First, I understand that so many bloggers, website owners and internet entrepreneurs were affected. A friend of mine actually lost 95% of his traffic. He’s an SEO guy, and one of the ways he’s built a successful internet empire is through organic traffic and social media.

The last time I spoke with him, he was sad. He is still dejected and I hope he finds this post helpful. To make your web page more SEO-friendly, and withstand any future update, here is what you must do:

# Action point: Cultivate positive engagement

High bounce rate is a negative engagement metric – you need to reduce it. A great way to start pleasing Google again (even if you’ve given up in the past or recently), is to cultivate positive engagement.

Start by reducing your bounce rate. Sure, you might have an exact match domain name and think that all hope is gone, but cheer up, Google can change anything. They’ve the power to bring you back to your position if you do what they’ve been asking every website owner to do.

If your content is compelling enough, people will spend more time in your blog, reading and answering questions.

This all boils down to the quality of blog posts, articles and case studies you write. Better yet, adjust your navigation and link to popular posts in your blog. This can lead to multiple pageviews, which is a strong metric that Google uses to favor sites.

Your brand signal is equally vital. Use Google alerts to track your brand name, so that whenever a particular site mentions your name or drops your name, you can comment or leave a feedback with the same brand name (your domain name).

We’re trying to merge what people said about you, and what your response would be.

# Action point: Play by the old rules (same rules)

Nothing is new in the SEO world. Trust me, Google didn’t start to advocate quality content today, or last month.

They started a long time ago. The question is, what have you been doing with this rule? “Write quality content” has almost become a cliché, and that’s because it’s the same old rule you need to build a successful website.

It’s still effective and if you continually write quality content, you’ll succeed over time.

But you can’t be right all the time. It’s Google’s world. Most of the time, you may be overwhelmed that Google still penalized you, even when all your content is high quality, well-optimized and easy to read.

In playing by the rules, take quality content to the next level and breed engagement. If people can contribute, share and become a part of your blog, the EMD update can turn around for your good.

If you’re an EMD owner, don’t rush anything right now. The update is still fresh, and taking a leap forward might bring more harm than good. Keep your hand crossed and watch how this drama turns out.

# Action point: Don’t try to rank for exact match keywords

Yes, you got me right there. If you’re an EMD owner, optimizing your exact match keywords might be a wrong idea. Instead, look for alternative keywords and make sure the number of words is less than 4 for a .com extension.

If your domain name is .net, .biz and .info, and you want to link to it – try and incorporate abstract terms to make it natural.

Do everything with the intent of helping people, not necessarily because you want to build a high ranking site that generates 6 figures monthly income. Those would automatically happen gradually, without a push or pull from you.

Did EMD update hit your site?

Were you hit by the latest exact match domain update from Google? I’d like to know how you feel right now and what you’re doing to get right back. Please make your comment clear – I’m waiting to reply you.

See you at the top!

Photo Credit: takile | emrank