October 6th, 2012 Add Your Comments Bookmark and Share

Just as things are starting to settle down again and I’m starting to see traffic level approaching the pre Panda and Penguin days along comes Google with another update. This time they have gone after Exact Match Domains, not with a penalty as such but instead downgrading the significance than your domain name plays in rankings. Or so they say, I don’t believe a word of it.

For a start every single domain on the internet is an exact match for “something”, even abcdefghijk.com is an exact match abcdefghijk. So it can’t be that straight forward, instead I imagine it all ties in with over optimization again. If you try to rank for your EMD then expect trouble. Except once again I have plenty of domains that are EMDs where more than 90% of the natural traffic is for that term and yet they have been left alone. On the other side of the coin I’ve got domains that have been wiped off the face of the planet that had very diverse (dare I even say natural) link and search traffic profiles. Notice how I say wiped off the face of the planet and not “lost a few places because of the domain name losing significance”?

Maybe social signals are important? Nope again. Sites with very active Twitter, Facebook, YouTube etc profiles gone, websites not touched or mentioned in years untouched.

Of all the Google updates in the past 24 months this is the one that has me the most confused. I’ve seen new domains and domains more than 10 years old getting hit, I’ve seen the most convoluted hyphenated exact match domains remain untouched whilst generic domains related to my own product names floored. I’ve even seen websites where the domain name isn’t even mentioned punished. This just doesn’t match up with the Matt Cutts downgrading of domain name significance explanation. When websites drop from having first page rankings suddenly to the high hundreds I’d consider that a penalty.

I’d love to know if anybody has got a handle on this yet? I haven’t even looked at what has replaced my websites in the search rankings yet, going by past experiences it’s not good for the heart to see generic crap still ranking well so I don’t think I’ll bother.

In the meantime I’ll keep on looking for any sort of patterns and as soon as I’ve got my head around this I’ll let you know.