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Matt Cutts Warned Us About The EMD Update Over A Year Ago

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Todd Malicoat wrote an interesting article about the exact match domain update for SEOmoz this week. In that, he points to a Webmaster Help video from Google’s Matt Cutts from early 2011, where he hinted that Google would be “turning down” exact match domains as a ranking signal. Here’s what he said exactly:

“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.”

Malicoat also points to an article from Bill Slawki from last year looking at a patent for Systems and methods for detecting commercial queries, which talks about exact match domains.

Matt Cutts Warned Us About The EMD Update Over A Year Ago


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  • Justin

    but we warned matt cutts what we will change default search engine soon. that crawler web knowledge, biggest content scrapper in the world.

  • http://umstrategies.com Peter Sundstrom

    I think anyone who was taken by surprise with the latest EMD update must have been living under a rock for the last year.

    I’m just surprised it took Google so long to make the adjustment.

  • http://blissseo.com.au Bliss SEO

    I’m still seeing plenty of EMD’s rank well, some of these sites are of the lowest quality – e.g. www.adwordsstrategy.com.au, WOW!

  • http://www.NaturalDogTraining.INFO Paul Anderson

    And if our domain name is the name of a business that was registered 30 years ago – are we going to be penalized for not knowing what Google was going to decide several decades later? Is giving a business a name that reflects the nature of the business manipulative?

  • Bill

    Ummm….didn’t Google originally specify in their SEO guidebook (I think I still have mine around here) that it was better for SEO rankings to HAVE keywords in the domain name?

    And, so, now that we’ve committed dollars to buy domains with keywords in them, and committed time and money in building websites based on those domains, Google decides “Umm…you know that house you built on those columns? We’re going to jackhammer the footings that those columns rest on. Eff you.”

  • http://Mabuzi.com Kevin

    Keyword domains in the URL is important and adds an extra 10% weight otherwise to be made up by backlinking etc…for those without keyword domains in the URL.

    I still love Google though even with all its rules.

  • http://www.laptoplcdscreen.com.au Huss

    I think we have been hit with this update, very unfair I hope they review this soon.

    • http://www.laptoplcdscreen.com.au Huss

      Just to add some more details, our impressions dropped from around 5500 / day to around 70, so did the clicks. I understand where Google is coming from but there are some genuine businesses out there that are trying to keep good ranking, it can’t be that we just get hit this hard because domain name contains a keyword, which Google themselves use to give weight to, so should we just change the domain name? any suggestions are welcome before things get really ugly for us.

  • Alan

    Matt gives all sorts of wonderful examples like twitter and yahoo, sites with imaginative names, but forgets the obvious. Most businesses are not like Google or Facebook. Their name is less well known than what they do.

    If you are a Dentist in Hull or a car mechanic in London what would the point be in inventing some meaningless name no one knows? Obviously Dentist, Hull and local neighborhood makes sense for such people and names like Wing-Ding-Zing would be utterly daft.

  • http://garycarlyle.com Gary Carlyle

    Google is practically a government now. the government of the internet. Governments should not rely on people making genuine unbiased decisions. Anybody in Cutt’s position would be protecting his own net real estate so we have to presume that he is an stop him making decisions like he does. they need to be based solely on science and the good of humanity. Not fascism.

  • http://www.bluewaveweb.co.uk Alan Doyle

    You can kind of see why this has been done, to avoid the spammy sites who purchase multiple domains with keywords and then produce very little valuable content.

    Google need to be careful they are not hitting businesses who have a keyword in their business name.

  • http://www.graciousstore.com Nina

    I know it is hard to change a business name that has existed for long especially those that existed before the dawn of internet marketing. If Google gave a hint over a year ago concern the use of keywords in domain names, it is appropriate that people respect that and try to comply

  • http://www.graciousstore.com Nina

    I know it is hard to change a business name, especially those that existed long before the advert of internet marketing. If Google gave a hint about its concern with keywords in domain names, it is appropriate that people respect that.

  • RapedByGoogle

    Google Stock dropping 10% today. I am sooooo happy. I am a web developer and supporter of Google for over 15 years. I take Google’s recent updates as a personal attack. I am stepping off the Google train immediately!!! No more Google phone, docs, chrome, tablet, adwords, adsense, etc…. I am ditching everything Google. The new definition of Google: The founder of antitrust and financial terrorism. The government must act and declare martial law on Google today!!!

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