With the introduction of EMD or Exact Match Domain algorithm by Google on Sep 28, 2012, lots of online businesses (websites and blogs) have been suffering a lot in terms of traffic and revenue.
Those unfateful sites, mainly built on the concept of Exact-Match-Domain are either devalued, or downgraded, or completely disappeared from Google search results, overnight.
Webmasters, who were the proud owners of these domains till few months back are searching for a fix to regain their lost ground. It’s very less time (hardly 4 months) to gather all the data or true stories of EMD Penalty Recovery, since the introduction. The reason – As its an algorithm, just like Panda and Penguin, you have to wait till the release of next EMD update, provided you have done your homework adequately and correctly.
Before jumping to the recovery tips, let’s know – What exactly is EMD, and why there is a penalty for it?
What is EMD, and Why a penalty?
Definition: Domain names stuffed with popular and commercially searched keywords are known as EMD or Exact Match Domains. The domain names may contain hyphens (-) and stop words (to, of, up etc).
Examples: BuyCreditCardOnline.com, Cheap-Hotels-Booking.com, Reduce-my-Weight.net
No matter, whether it’s EMDs or Partially Matched Domains, all felt the brunt to some extent.
Who actually are the sufferers: Point to be noted – Not all EMDs suffered ranking loss due to this algorithm update. Domains which have low quality websites (content), no authority, poor social engagement, spammy back-links and anchor texts are actually hit by the EMD Penalty.
There are plenty of quality websites with EMDs which are ranking quite high in Google Search, and will be continue to rank high in the coming days also. They all are proofed from Google EMD penalty.
Why EMD Penalty: Simply buying a 3 to 4 keywords TLD (Top Level Domain), with or without hyphens. Then getting 3 to 4 back-links from paid directories and blogs (editorials) was sufficient enough for small to medium online businesses to rank on the 1st page of Google (usually @ top 3 spots).
Due to the excessive use or abuse of this practices, Google add this EMD algorithm while ranking sites or content. This is basically to – Show the most relevant and authentic content (websites) on the top results (SERPs), and devaluing or downgrading the not so trustworthy ones.
Basic Concept of Recovery from EMD Penalty
W.S. (Within Script): I’m giving this offline example because – Google is heavily discounting the keywords in the domain names for higher ranking, and quality control (user experience) and authority are always same for online as well as offline businesses (human factor).
Suppose, you are planning to open an electronics shop in your home town (offline).
How will you name your shop? Will it be “Buy Cheap Electronics or Best Electronics Shop?” No businessman will like to name his shop like this.
He will go for a branded name, or a name which augments the brand value of his shop. You may go for Electronix, or Gadget land, or something like that.
Over the period of time, how will you attract more customers and retain the existing ones? Most probably you will adopt the following ways:
1. Offering best quality products to your customers.
2. Maintaining good relationship with your customers, both existing and new.
3. Providing the best after-sales service – by accepting the defective ones and arrange for a replacement (within warranty).
4. Spreading the word (Ads) by organizing cultural or engaging workshops or events in malls and auditoriums.
These are the basic things for doing successful business. The same things applies to online business also. So also “Fixing the EMD Penalty.”
Recovery Tips for Exact Match Domain Penalty
1. Upgrade your website content or pages: Rewrite and add fresh or latest information to your existing pages.
The main aim is to offer value to your readers or costumers by instilling faith, simply by serving them what they want. It may be a solution to a problem, it may be a piece of advice to make their career or life better, or it may be a simple piece of fresh news and info.
2. Add value by adding quality content: Add more content in the form of posts and pages, which should be unique and valuable.
This way you are hitting two birds with one stone – You are not only impressing Google, but also your visitors or customers.
3. Correct your anchor-text profile: EMD owners have a great compulsion to acquire keyword-rich anchor texts from other sites.
That is the reason why they have bought the EMD in the first place. In the process of content marketing if you have links with exact match anchor texts, then contact the respective webmasters or your SEO Service Provider to diversify. Basically you have to dilute the commercially popular keywords with less popular ones in your incoming back-links.
4. Correct your back-links profiles: Whenever other websites or blogs link your site, they usually link with your domain name. And your domain carry the exact match keywords.
You have to get rid of the excess number of low quality back-links from low quality and non-authoritative sites. Simply do a back-link analysis of your site using a good software. Contact the webmasters by pitching Emails or Phones. If that doesn’t work, take the help of Google Disavow Link Tool.
5. Improve social signal: Sending better social signals to search engines is the mantra to rank higher in current scenario.
Make your website or content share-worthy. The more the Facebook likes, Tweets and Stumbles, the better will be your recovery chances. Not merely the low quality likes, go for the tweets and stumbles from social influencers.
You can achieve this by contributing something new and valuable stuff on regular basis, on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon etc.
6. Re-arrange your internal linking structure: Anchor texts (exact match) in your internal links also plays a big role, because these links also send ranking signals to search engines, by providing them the necessary inputs or information about the linking content.
You must have accumulated plenty of internal links with frequently using your favorite keywords in the domain name. Diversify your anchor texts in internal back-links by using related words in combination with your choice keywords.
7. Migrate your website: Simply implementing a 301 redirect to a new domain is not going to work in EMD penalty.
Because the penalized EMD is associated with -Ve trust factor and non-authoritative in the eye of Google. So, permanently redirecting (301) your EMD to a newly purchased domain name will simply spoil the latter.
Go for an existing authoritative website or domain. Buy it or merge with it. Here, the +Ve trust factor not only neutralize the EMD Penalty, but also helps to ranks higher in search engines.
This strategy is advisable to those websites and blogs who have plenty of content or pages, and they don’t want to dump their hard work simply due to this algorithm change.
8. Build brand value: Brand value means trustworthiness or authoritativeness in your niche.
Google ranks higher to businesses who have higher brand value. People like them because of their trustworthiness, and Google likes to show them at the top slots in search results.
It’s an ongoing process and takes lots of time and efforts. Checkout this article – How to improve brand value?
Finally, you don’t have to complete all the strategies mentioned above to recover from EMD Penalty. Because different sites have different needs and fixes.