Google's EMD Update
Exact match domain (EMD) used to rule the Internet in terms of SEO. But with Google's announcement in September of 2012 regarding EMDs, has all of that changed?
The EMD Update is a filter that analyzes sites to ensure that poor quality sites that contain search terms in their domain don't end up ranking high in Google's search results. Will this impact your site? Let's look at the issue a little more closely to determine if its time for you to rethink your SEO strategy.
The Rumor Mill: Fiction
After Google released EMD Update, a host of blogs wrote posts stating that anyone owning an EMD would need to change that immediately due to the fact they would be banned entirely from search engines. This couldn't be farther from the truth.
Google's EMD Update: The Truth
According to Matt Cutts of Google Webmaster Help, the algorithm used to bring up search results was adjusted in order to make things fair. Basically, if an EMD demonstrates other positive visitor engagement metrics as other highly ranked sites, they will in fact continue to rank highly. If not, then they would see their rank drop lower.
What Are Positive Engagement Metrics?
In order to determine whether your EMD will continue to rank highly, you should know what is being factored in. The EMD Update looks at the following:
- Do visitors look at more than one page on your site?
- How long are your visitors spending at your site?
- Are your visitors viewing a page and then immediately clicking away from your site (bounce rate)?
- How often do your visitors come back to view your site?
EMD Update: Makes Things Fair
People were getting tired of highly ranked pages offering content of no value or relevance to the term being searched. With the old algorithm, the EMD sites of poor quality were given priority over the non-EMD sites with solid, valuable content. Seems a bit unfair. Hence the EMD Update.
Think about it: you are searching for “gardening tips.” The cheap hosting with domain website “gardeningtips.com” comes up as a highly ranked site, but seems to offer no content regarding gardening at all. Instead, it is some form of ad revenue generator for the site owner. Another site, “mrsgreenthumb.com” has a fantastic article that uses the keyword “gardening tips,” highly relevant and informative, but the other site still ranks higher in the search engine. Seems a bit unfair, for both mrsgreenthumb.com and for you, the user.
EMD: Still A Good Idea
As long as your site is meeting its positive engagement metrics criteria, you can keep that EMD as is. The EMD, coupled with relevant content (which leads to positive engagement metrics), will still put your site on top. Let's not forget that the EMD you have chosen, as long as you are representing the EMD (gardeningtips.com actually offers gardening tips), leaves no doubt in a visitors mind what they'll find at your site.
How Social Media Fits
Did you know that your EMD can also give you an upper hand wen it comes to social media? You need more than cheap hosting. Put to use the SEO value of sites like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Pinterest. The more your site is mentioned on social media sites, the higher your rankings are.
Consult A Professional
Have a conversation with a domain name broker regarding an EMD that represents the purpose of your business. Your broker might have access to premium domains not shared with the public, or accessible through your cheap hosting company.
At the end of the day, if you want your EMD to work hard for you, you need to work hard putting forth valid, useful content in order to bring users back time and time again. It isn't the EMD that's king: it's content with associated EMD!
Do you have a better understanding of Google's EMD update now? Do you plan on making some changes?