Matt Cutts Just Announced A Google Algorithm Change

    September 29, 2012
    Chris Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

Google’s Matt Cutts just announced a new Google algorithm change via Twitter. He says it will reduce low-quality “exact-match” domains in search results.

It sounds like an extension of the last change he tweeted about, which was aimed at improving domain diversity. Here’s the new tweet:

Update: Cutts tweeted a follow-up:

Probably good of him to clear that up right away.

Google is about due to publish its big list of algorithm changes for the months of August and September. When that happens, it will be interesting to see how many entries are related to domains. It seems like there are typically visible themes in the lists. For example, in the June list, there were a lot of changes related to improving how Google deals with natural language.

Have you seen any effects from this update? Let us know.

  • Stan

    90% of my sites got hit, Yes they had part of a keyword in the domain name but other than one site, I wouldn’t consider the rest of them low-quality sites. Each one had high quality unique content, numerous pages.

  • https://twitter.com/weboptmization Rajesh

    Oops..I’m running a website with exact domain match keyword. :(

    • shawdy

      sad to say but kiss it farewell whilst its still alive..

  • http://www.arnavgupta.com Vishal Gupta

    this is really good as many business taken a keyword related domains and created website and even they are getting dominating the search results. one company got 4-5 listing in top 10 :) this should be controlled some how. real business will suffer with that…i have seen from last updates, many results are cleaned and Google still removing garbage/spammer from the results… gr8 stuff by gr8 team .

    Vishal Gupta

  • Jason

    Google monopoly is eating small blog and web publishers, I was working on two blogs from 1 year with unique content and a lot of hard working but it all got vanish from the Google search, right now I am feeling as a biggest looser on the planet earth.

  • vistha

    most of my sites got disappeared today.I truly agree i used keyword in the domain name but all the contents were written by professional writers and all unique.no way low quality!! Big loss for me…

  • Dean Williams

    This is utter nonsense. I have a site which was hit that the domain name contained one keyword that I was ranking for. But, I was also ranking for 15 other keywords that weren’t related to the domain name, but they are also nowhere to be seen in google. This is a site with 100’s of pages of unique, quality content, all hand written by me, with a high quality well followed facebook fan page. Just gone. I’m just glad I can rely on facebook for quality traffic, as it doesn’t seem that google can provide that anymore.

  • http://www.smartphonetaxis.com Martyn

    Strangely this doesn’t seem to have touched everyone with keyword domains yet. Maybe I am talking too soon!

  • Martin

    Okay, at least I know what happened. Two of my websites are gone. Good sites, with unique content and a lot of backlinks and work behind.

  • http://technorable.com Richard

    I think the algorithm is already in effect as I have seen a considerable lost of traffic in my other related websites.

  • Boris

    3 of my websites are DESTROYED with this update. One of them had more than 100 unique articles and had ranged in first 10 with for more than 30 keywords. All 30 keywords are not in first 100 now. When I analyze which sites are before mine sites, 90% are garbage and 10% are big corporations.How Google decided which domains are low-quality? I am disappointed with Google company.

  • http://www.go4seoindia.com go4seoindia

    If you have keyword in domain that is not a problem.Google checking the quality of EMD sites becose EMD sites have chance to get high ranking with less efforts.That’s why google want to add high quality with those sites.

  • SSB

    I have the keyword in my domain but it’s not EMD. Not only is my site no where to be found for that keyword, but just about every other keyword for which I was ranked pretty highly for. My site has lengthy original, handwritten content with great one way links from high PR / authority sites.

    I started noticing the drop in visitors sometime in the afternoon yesterday. I figured that it was just a “slow Friday”, but guess I was wrong. Hopefully, the changes for my site and others like mine are just temporary. It would be a real shame if it wasn’t.

  • http://marketingclaw.com Leigh

    It was going to happen and some of my sites have been hit and others haven’t. So I guess G is crawling slowly. I reckin it will be a bigger percentage than 0.6% impact however. The best thing to do is buy a new domain without the EMD in and 301 redirect to get the link juice and put your content on the new domain.

  • http://www.coordinatedseo.com Voltage Spike

    From where I’m sitting, I can take G at their word that this is a content-based penalty.

    EMD’s are a natural part of the internet and have been for years. If you don’t have a brand, why not have a term that matches what is one the site? It helps a site get found. I get a lot of direct traffic from people just typing the keyword into the browser. It’s how many people use the internet, whether google likes it or not.

    My 7 EMD’s are good so far. One of them, widgets.net, saw a promotion from 2nd to 1st place. Others appear unchanged or slightly promoted.

    I suspect EMD’s with affiliate links and adsense are primarily G is calling ‘low quality.’ This is probably a escalation of their war against affiliate marketers.

    My promoted site is pr1, with only about a dozen links. It’s only 5 months old. Very good content. About 30 articles, and 50 internal links. Only about a dozen external links that come from relevant forum posts, a few decent directory listings, and a couple of carefully placed blog posts.

    The niche is software and is moderately competitive. I started over with widgets.net after widgets.com failed penguin. Widgets.net now outranks the established pr4 site that has sat in the #1 spot since April (after my widgets.com was demoted).

    If your site was mine, I would go back and start rewriting the articles, freshen them up. Make sure there’s no dupe content, examine them again for the basics. When was the last time the site was truly updated? Is it keyword stuffed? Have you published your content anywhere else? Validate against W3.org.

    Hopefully as more webmasters weigh in we can more idea of whats happened.

  • Justin

    google killing themself. I never seen worstest results than today. Also lot of small business company sites is not possibly to find under brand names. Looks like lot of legal problems for google coming soon.

    is google really search engine or not? or it just content penalization engine? It must search for content, but not penalize it because of domains or links. If you searching for ‘red suit from Bob Anderson’ it must display you this page, no matter penalized site or not, emd or not. Because peoples looking for content, not for google banning ideas.

    I am personally so tired from that 2012 updates. Hope it start of end of that evil empire.

    • DPW

      17 sites, each aimed at a different section of our company, each domain killed. Not one result anywhere to be found, and I have searched 20 pages deep. All with relevant, unique content, no dpulicate pages. Some of these EMD’s cost me a lot of money too! Noticed change about 12 hours ago. Our business normally turns over £2000 per day, today it was £93. I fear this will absolutely kill our company :( Totally at a loss

  • http://www.k-da.info kda

    I think its more of a ‘get rid of sites’ that are using affilate links

  • http://www.onlinecompetitions.com Nameviolated

    Ranking went from No.3 to No.205 with an authority website that was an EMD, in just one country, from No.2 to nowhere with another. The new algo change makes the search results for my main keyword look totally a mess. I can understand why they did it, but clearly it’s hitting a lot of legitimate websites hard. Hopefully they either clean it up or reverse the change.

  • Ride The Snake

    So Matt said it wasn’t Panda/Penguin related. They must have hired monkeys to program this algo!!!

    Ride the snake, is long, several miles, ride the snake babe, and his skin is cold…- The End/Jim Morrison

  • Ian

    I have EMD with very high quality content and the traffic is the same. However, I have a NON-EMD website with tons of great quality contents and got hit, 2/3 of the traffic gone overnight. You know guys,I do not feel bad already, because I have prepared for anything to happen since October 2011 (when I got first hit). I’ve worked hard for the last 3 years playing fair and safe, and what do I get? Same sh*t like everyone else, traffic loss overnight, scratching my head on what I did wrong and no answer will be available. We just have to face the reality that Google is the most dangerous way to earn a living online. That’s why I am laughing right now, laughing because my prediction is right, that anytime in my online life I will get hit and pounded no matter how hard I work. Now back to my online job.

  • Mike

    All my sites got hit very hard by this algorithm change but none of them were based on EMD. These sites were real blogs with hundreds and some even thousands of articles and updated daily with several articles from different writers. None of these articles/sites targeted some specific keywords they were just there for good content. Something is very wrong in here but what?

  • Now I’m Peeved

    Just when I thought I had gotten over Penguin issues….Google have hit me with this and trashed all my EMDs….Well written site with good content…no affiliate…just adsense….

    I don’t know the way forward anymore.

  • http://www.willpeavy.com/ Will Peavy

    Starting on Sep 26, around 40 of my websites have had about an 80% drop in organic search traffic.

  • http://www.contractormortgages.com John

    I can understand if this Google update is intended to target affiliate and poor quality EMD sites but genuine sites are also getting penalised. One of my sites ranking has actually improved but the other wiped out! It doesn’t make any sense, obviously this algo update needs refining, after all this is peoples livelihoods. Is there any way of appealing to Google to manually review genuine sites that have been adversely affected by this? Or do Google simply not give a sh1t, and put it down to collateral damage.

    What can we do?

  • http://www.contractormortgages.com John

    Can we appeal directly to anyone? What can we do? My site has been around for years and is a good quality site. This has hit a lot of genuine EMD’s, none of them ‘low’ in quality. Does Google give a sh1t or do they just look at this as collateral damage?

    Surely there must be someone that cares about fairness within Google?

  • shawdy

    This new update totally sux, googles gone mad!,. Overnight 7 years of hardwork into my site down the pan. All original content ,classified ads placed daily, and not spammy ones either.

    My sites was not a emd site, it only had 1 keyword in it for which i ranked #2.. Now im knowhere to be found.

    Now the serps for those 3 keyords just mainly show pages and pages of the same popular classifieds site but from different cities..

    Does anyone else wonder why they bother anymore with all these crazy updates?

    What was the last one Penguin?”! Nice move ther too matt cutts

    Negative SEO is what we can call ‘foul play’ among SEO specialists. This is a practice that some SEO specialists still implement in order to de-rank their competitors. With the Penguin update, Negative SEO’s effectivity was significantly increased.

    • shawdy

      correction – We bother anymore

  • Andrew

    Is not Google doing the Black Hat SEO? Your effort and honesty is meaningless now. The Demon Google has the only tool to demolish your lifetime effort in one press of button. Google earns money from us but betrays everytime in every year with new and new rules. Protest all around the world is now inevitable.
    We now eagerly need an alternative and powerful rival search engine.

  • http://www.electricianatlanta.com kris johnson

    just had about 40 different sites of mine drop dramatically due to this change. They were all keyword rich with great content. quite the shame.

  • P1ssed Off

    3 high-quality, well-trafficked local review sites (with EMD), all previously on page 1, now buried on pages 46, 53 and deeper. Fortunately, all still rank on page 1 of Bing and Yahoo, so I can expect a little traffic to still dribble in.

    Nice move, Matt.

    • Jill


      Years of work down the drain…

  • rj

    What do you recommend to do for the sites that are affected by this update?

  • http://netprofitmarketing.com jared

    I like this newest change as it will remove more spammy sites from the results.

  • http://www.engage-2012.com/ Engage 2012 Conference

    I think that this algorithm change will eliminate many spammy websites and it will improve the search results for ‘searchers’. It will be difficult to adapt to this change, though in the terms of SEO.

  • http://www.brickmarketing.com/ Nick Stamoulis

    I’ve been waiting for an update like this for a long time. I’ve speculated that something like this has been in the works because a brand is almost always going to be more valuable than a spammy exact match domain.

  • Wanda

    Good Authoritative content is all that has ever mattered & has been the Google mantra from the start, The EMD with “Good Authoritative” root domain content will always have the edge Its called linguistics. Marketing – SEO terms co-brand with different business on individuals sites with a commonality. Brands do not mean good non-spammy sites. We go back to pre-internet days where top brands have the key real estate positions by paying the money, this time around google is the ferryman, Sooooo many seo people wear the emperors new clothes, whinge, moan, moan, moan, your just no good at your umped up adword job.

  • http://www.santoshsharma.co.in santosh sharma

    I was waiting for this update it may brings my blogs up in the google search. I have blogs which don’t have keywords in urls. this updates helps a lot

  • Andrea

    What are we to do with a 12 year old ecom domain website, it has dropped 50% traffic a day since 29th, we are not a spammy exact match website but do have url keywords relating to items we sell. We have not had any problems with any other Google content update for 12 years.. What has the domain name do with a website containing spammy content..!

  • http://www.pacreditcardlaw.com Greg Artim

    Wow, this really killed me. Two websites taken completely out of the rankings. My sites have content for the end user, the consumer who needs legal help, and my sites have been completely removed from the rankings becuase the domain name has keywords in it. I understand the need to remove spammy websites, but I have all original content.

  • http://www.ragewebdesign.co.uk Nick

    Promoting brand and not generic mush was always obvious for a search engine requiring quality results. Guys if you fell for buying generic emd’s thinking you had the advantage on nice branded companies … Oh well.

  • http://www.wpgallery.com Mish-A-Man

    As I can see I am not the only one who’s thinking negative about any new changes provided by Google. If they continue like this, at the end, we will probably get in search results only big sites, with this new change there is no space for smaller sites.

  • http://www.pwi.com.br/webmarketing.asp Heloisa Gaspar

    I think this change came at a good time … the number of domain that do not use the company name but keywords has increased a lot and end up confusing the internet users who do not know the site on which company are accessing … lots of the same brand has different domains with very similar content. There are SEO practices better than stuffing keywords.

  • http://www.indosurplus.biz Deepika Bamotra

    so what exactly we should do as remedy ??????, my clients site got hit by this EMD update and ranking fell from #2 to #330 over night :(, its not that easy to change domain name now, as site is running since last 3 years and is my client’s business site.

  • http://www.q3tech.com/database.html Big Data

    …and Google Search get a little better !

  • Justin

    i still not understand why mattcutts_com website not penalized??? EMD, lack of content, clearly general articles without any details. This emd is clear example of low quality site.

  • http://www.webnetseo.com WebNetSeo

    Its great news!!!
    Now we can concentrate more on quality, but not on spammers, ho are trying to over take clients.

  • Nashville website pro

    We have many exact match domains and most are doing really well. We constantly add creative original content. I hope the sites that were affected get better. Good luck.

  • http://keithmains.com/ Keith D Mains

    To some extent this may not be such a bad thing

    I will give you a example of why


    the search term

    Hire SEO

    On Bing you will see “hire-SEO.com” in first place a domain I let drop that appears on bing highly ranked for masses of search terms but importantly it appears in firts place for “hire SEO” and it is not a guess to guess why now really is it? It’s a fine example of exact match domains and how they can be used and why this is a problem search engines need to find ways to address.

    Now don’t get me wrong good luck to the guys who picked up that domain but people may remmber the way those NFL jersey sites we’re using exact match domains to sell counterfeit jerseys?.. so then you may begin to see how it is not just a thing about Spamm, we are talking fraud and well you know…

    Thing is where do you draw the line?

  • http://www.mykeblack.com myke black

    this is a disaster for one of my clients, they used to be on page 1 of google for vasetomy reversal and now they are nowhere. Its a good website, with quality backlinks and decent content and yet traffic has dropped like a stone, and this is all because of the unfortunate situation that the keywords are in the url.
    In the old days of SEO, we always preached that the first step in SEO is to make sure you have a good url. Now it seems that if your url is too good, you can be in real trouble. I can’t believe that having keywords in the url would help your rankings to such a great extent. It would be better if the url was not used at all for the algorithm rather than giving it a massive negative penalty.

    Another example of how Google is trying to put us SEO practitioners out of business. Why don’t they just do away with any sort of SEO and randomly generate results based on the day of the week, or what colour underwear matt cutts is wearing at the time.


    • Ridiculous

      It is amazing how much damage Matt Cutts and his team have done to Google’s “image”. Google is now getting a very very bad reputation all other the world for all the disastrous algorithm his team came up with.
      Way to go to “ruin” a business ( i guess they’re so rich that it doesn’t matter at that point, they could show mushroom sites for the “bank” query and people would steal use google :d )

  • http://www.domainwright.com Domain Names

    If all goes the way Google obviously hope, it will be good for the majority in the long run.
    More control over spammers and related sites is needed, so sites need to adapt to change.

  • Matt

    Do you know the duckduckgo.com search engine? I think that it’s a real Google alternative, faster, better philosophy, policies and design. We should try that SE for a while…

  • Tim R

    This update has killed many of our clients sites. Most are very old domains that have keywords in them since its their company name. None are spammy or black hat, all above board, organic and either products (their own) or company/business pages. All have enjoyed combinations of page one placement for various keywords for years. After the googles “improvements” all have dropped two or three pages deep. One client has seen sales of their proprietary product drop 30% since the updates and i have no fix for this. What do i tell them, change their domain name?.. and while they’re at it, change the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent in marketing over the last 15 years for that domain? It’s not fair.

  • Penny

    I think that people should start using other search engines as google has their hand out, you have to pay now to get your business listed again.

  • http://www.sepeantonis.gr klimatistika

    this is very clear and helpful post