We touched on this in my previous blog “Google Panda 20 or EMD Update – Diagnosing an Algo Update“, however, I thought I would delve a little deeper to explain the Exact Match Domain Google update.
An exact match domain refers to a domain name that exactly matches a high volume search phrase.
For example, I have a company called XYZ company which sells purple pipes, and I want to rank in Google for the keyword “purple pipes”; one of the ways for me to do this is to buy a domain that is www.purplepipes.com instead of using a domain like www.xyzcompany.com.
The site www.purplepipes.com would rank higher for searches using the keyword phrase “purple pipes” than another site with an equivalent back link profile and authority.
Matt Cutts, the head of the Google Web Spam team explained that sites which use a keyword term for their top level domain will no longer get a ranking boost based purely on the fact that the domain name matched the keyword phrase being used.
The update should “reduce low-quality ‘exact-match’ domains in search results.”
The key here is “low quality”. For many, using an EMD to gain an unfair ranking advantage meant that they had to invest less in quality content and quality link acquisition.
This issue has already been on Google’s radar for a long time now, but it took two long years before they were able to do something about it. It comes on the back of the Google Panda update which was focused on on page content and Google Penguin which focused on overoptimisation through the use of excessive keywords in the anchor text.
The key takeaway is that if your domain is an exact match domain but it has a solid link profile and quality content then you really should not see any negative results.
It will be interesting to see how this flows through to the secondary market for exact match domains.
Have you seen any changes in any of your sites as a result of this update?
Photo Courtesy of Ignite Visibility Blog