Have you ever heard of an exact match domain algorithm? The term “Exact Match Domains“ came into existence when Google started giving preference to the domain name with the exact keywords. In the early days of the search engine, the EMD algorithm used to rank the exact keyword match domain higher than the domain which is more useful and content-rich.
As a result, people started registering the EMD to leverage the benefits search engine offers in terms of top ranking. The manipulation of the search engine result gave birth to the exact match domain. Slowly the search engine has found the pattern, and they demoted the exact match domain concept.
Google introduced a filter in 2012 for preventing poor-quality websites from ranking in the top searches. Since then several updates have happened, and every time the new update comes, the exact match domain name sees the impact on it. A website that has improved its content quality would get a better ranking, and the website developed intending the top ranking without putting effort on content quality, and other aspects of the ranking would experience exact match domain penalty.
How EMD Affected the Web Search?
The exact match domain filter has reached the level where it can monitor the various domain patterns wherever popular keywords are used in the domain. The purpose of the Google exact match domain filter is to protect the websites that are doing a good job in educating and solving the problem of the end-users.
In the majority of the cases, EMDs are created to manipulate the search results. The strategy is more popular in the black hat SEO technique where the sole purpose of registering an EMD is to drive traffic by achieving the top position in the organic search.
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How To Find Exact Match Domains?
A search engine results page or SERP scan can be a great way to find EMD for the keywords you want to rank for. After adding the specific keyword you are trying to track, SERP Scan will automatically look for any Google EMDs. It will strip any particular characters and spaces and search for .com, .net, or .org domains.
The interesting part is that you’ll be able to see the number of searches per month (global, exact), the domain and available extensions, as well as where your website currently ranks for the keyword. You can also filter them by words.
Are Some Industries Better Suited Than Others for Using Exact Match Domains?
Yes absolutely, it’s an accepted fact that Google treats some sectors very differently especially when it comes to competitive industries such as fashion, insurance, and finance. In these competitive fields, Google isn’t convenient about giving anyone a quick advantage just because they own an EMD domain.
The best attitude is to look at each industry and the SERPs that you are targeting separately. As for some industries such as loans and insurance, there are very few (if any) in the search results. However, if you look up the keyword “casino bonuses”, around seven to eight sites on page one have the word “casino” in their domain name, this example can pretty much indicate the importance of researching each industry in domain matching. For industries where there is much less competition and fewer exact match domain penalties handed out, you’ll be more likely to succeed using an exact match domain.
What Is Exact Match Domain Penalty and Why It Happens?
Since December 2000 Google has been changing its ranking algorithms as it released the toolbar extension. Back in the time, that toolbar update demonstrates vast changes which created the SEO industry as we know it. As a matter of fact, it was the first time PageRank was published in a consequential or utilizable form. Over the past decade, Google continued to filter and improve the quality of its search results as it began to omit the poor-quality content and boost the good stuff to the top of the SERPs.
Why My Site Has Been Penalized?
Google is continuously modifying its ways of indicating and analyzing content. Although Google does publish clues about its exact match domain algorithm, it hardly ever comes clean about all of its reasons for changes. Here are some reasons for Google taking issue with your site:
1. Duplicate Content
Evident as it seems any kind of duplicate content on your website makes it less valuable in Google’s view. It certainly could result in a penalty so you have to make sure of your content’s uniqueness and quality.
2. Internal 404s
Google needs to know that you tend to your content and dispel any errors and problems. If you’re delivering an internal 404 error then it would seem like an obvious signal that your users aren’t getting the service they have asked for.
3. Buying Links
Purchasing links could be considered as an attempt or trick to manipulate page rank. If you have bad links and even worse lots of them, the consequences could be horrible.
4. Keyword Stuffed Content
There are series of weird and interesting rules about keyword density in content but truth be told these rules haven’t really been proven. Nevertheless, it is kind of a flag for poor-quality content. If Google detects a weirdly huge number of keywords in a page, it may penalize you. Hence you must really be careful with exact match domain SEO.
5. Hidden Links
All of the links which are available on your website should certainly be visible and useful to all of the users. Any kind of hidden material is considered dubious. So take note and never color a link or content as the same color as the background of a page.
6. Slow Speed
If your website is too slow to load, your users will probably get frustrated and bored. It’s a tricky problem to cope with as many factors affect hosting speeds.
7. Hack Problems
Google will remove any website which has been hacked as quickly as possible. So you need to be cautious and try to contain hacking attempts and restore sites from backup after a cyber-attack.
How To Recover From the Google Exact Match Domain Penalty?
If you have been hit by the Google EMD update of 2012 then there is a high chance that the site is only penalized for the keywords that are contained in your domain. The best recommendation for you would be to purchase a new domain instead and start working again, but if your business does not utterly depend on that one specific keyword you can keep working with the other pages without fail and continue your work with EMD SEO.
Here are some tips to recover from the EMD penalty:
1. Enhance the Quality of Your Content
Content has always been a crucial part of each and every website that is in the upward stride. Fresh and high-quality content will not only help you improve your ranking but also determine your survival from any kind of exact match domain update refreshment penalties. Pay heed that it is unwise to use thin, low, and copycatted contents to your site at all levels.
2. Renovate Old Blog Posts
Another sensible idea is to renovate old blog posts in order to improve the organic rankings of existing blog posts. It isn’t going to be a difficult task to cope with as you can simply edit older posts and optimize them with new keywords.
3. A New SEO Strategy
Once you get penalized by Google, you will be considered as a violator hence there isn’t going to be an easy escape. It will be the moment when you have to plan a whole new, fresh SEO strategy with great care to implement it without fail. Cautious planning and proper implementation of new SEO strategies can guarantee to bring organic traffic to your website and restore your business once again which will make you apprecaiate exact match domains.
4. Redirecting the Website to a New Domain
Whenever you get penalized for Google EMD update reasons, purchasing a new domain can be a wise action as you redirect your website into that.
What Benefits the Exact Match Domain Used To Provide To the Website?
1) Achieve Top Organic Ranking
The exact match domain used to rank easily due to the usage of top keywords for domain . Even the website with less content used to outrank the popular websites with thousands of content without undertaking any marketing efforts. It became a lucrative technique on the web as soon as it was discovered by webmasters. Everyone jumped into it to leverage the benefits, and the web search was filled with the exact match domain name short period.
It didn’t take much time for the EMD algorithm developer to identify the cause of such poor results on the web. As a consequence, Google has introduced the new algorithm update where the exact match domain is treated separately in the search engine ranking. The specially designed Google exact match domain filter started penalizing the sites which are not high quality and don’t fulfill the algorithm guidelines.
Google started giving more emphasis to the website, which has high-quality content. EMD domains whose sole intention was to rank higher in the organic searches were dropped from the ranking overnight. Only sites that are producing a good amount of content and update it regularly stayed in the ranking.
2) Online Reputation Management
One of the important factors of businesses is online reputation management. The customer generally searches for reviews on the web before buying a product from the website. The common terms are “brand name + reviews” or “reviews”.
These are some of the keywords used by the customer to find the feedback of the previous customers. Some companies started using Google’s exact match domain to push down the genuine reviews and replace the top ten search results with the exact match domain’s websites.
The company was registering all the domains with the brand name plus the word review in it to manipulate the organic search results. The published reviews on these websites are moderated by the brand itself.
A large group of people still uses this strategy, but after Google’s filter, the EMD domains are tough to rank. You have to pour a good amount of resources to gain the top search engine ranking, which makes it difficult for businesses.
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3) Impact on Multinational Business
Several multinational businesses have seen the impact of the Google exact match domain update due to the fact that exact match keywords are used in the domain name. Even the websites that have no intention of manipulating the results witnessed a drastic drop in the ranking. The new EMD update has applied to the entire sites that come in this category.
Websites with the exact keyword in their domain name have seen a fluctuation in the visitors and organic ranking. Despite affecting only 0.6% of US English search terms in phase one, several businesses have experienced a strong impact in various areas. Industries such as retail, travel, gambling, and finance have seen a more significant change in their search engine ranking.
Many businesses claim that the exact match domain has damaged their online presence, and they have lost their entire online business after the update. Companies who were into the multinational business used to register the exact match domain to target different countries.
Now they would not be able to do that because the EMD is worthless. You have to put the same amount of time and energy into each domain you want to rank in the search engine. The realm of the search engine has changed radically.
Like Panda and Penguin algorithm update, the EMD update has also become buzz in the SEO industry. Every time a new EMD update is released, a large number of websites see the change in their traffic. It refreshes the entire web search results with new websites introduced in the ranking, and the sites with low-quality pages are removed from the search.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Exact Match Domains Still Work?
Certainly yes, with the right level of EMD SEO you can make the exact match domains work. In some cases, you will not only avoid getting penalized but also get a good boost. Nevertheless using EMD is like walking on ice and there is a chance that you will be subject to an exact match domain update penalty. There are tricky parts in handling EMD as link building or using anchor text, but whatever you do you need to find a balance to both improving your website and avoiding an EMD penalty.
Does Domain Name Affect Google Ranking?
Yes absolutely, Domain names do have an impact on Google ranking. It is necessary to add that you’ll need more than a keyword-rich domain name to boost your website ranking and benefit from exact match domains. You’ll need high-quality content, backlinks, inbound links, and good use of EMD in SEO as well. All these can contribute to improving your website’s search ranking.
Is It Too Late To Change My EMD?
No, if you are struggling with your current EMD domain and trying to get it to rank or you have been subject to penalties you can always consider changing the domain as an option. To be clear you’ll still hold much of the good SEO you have built up. A simple 301 redirect to the new domain could secure 90% to 95% of the SEO value, and also it could help to restore or even better improving your ranking with high-quality content to back your SEO up.
If you have been target of EMD penalty with innocent reason then you’ll have nothing to worry about. First of all do not panic. Even massive and huge websites might get penalized. Get rid of troublesome links, and enhance your content’s quality. Now you’ll need to request reconsideration if your penalty was manual. You should wait out for some time as it might take Google a while to act on your changes and disavow requests.
In few cases abandoning a site is inevitable and unwise to fight a Google penalty especially if your domain has been tarnished. Nonetheless, in most cases, a little effort, some hard work, and an ethical approach can save the day and help you recover an EMD penalty. Despite some myths in this case, with the right approach, you can make the exact match domain 2021 work.