What to Take Away from Google’s EMD Algorithm Update
October 4, 2012 1 Comment
In late September, Google released a new algorithm update, which targeted low-quality exact match domains (EMDs). Google has been talking about implementing something like this for a couple years now and it certainly has benefitted searchers and other websites who aren’t as spammy and perform more white-hat SEO and link building tactics than the ones poorly affected.
Not only is it important to understand what this update means, but even more importantly, we need to understand what it means for ongoing SEO and the future of domains.
Does your domain even matter anymore?
Of course, it does. However, now it matters in a different sense. Before, exact match domains were highly valuable in a way that would automatically influence ranking immensely. Now, it appears the Google update has leveled the playing field for all websites by taking out this factor. Here’s why it leveled the playing field:
- The low-quality EMDs were low-quality for a reason. The only thing keeping them alive was their domain name. The update finally labeled these sites for what they were really worth.
- Domain names are now one step closer to being more user-friendly and not just search engine friendly. Now, when people search for short-tail keywords, they will find more relevant websites with information that will actually benefit them.
- This creates more honesty in selecting domain names for start-ups. When people are looking to start a new website, they will be less inclined to think of something that is spammy and want to build something that has actual relevancy and value.
What are the high-quality EMDs doing right?
Now that low-quality EMDs are lower on the ranking scale, it’s time to examine what EMDs that didn’t lose SERP, or at least didn’t drop drastically, are doing right:
- White hat SEO is what it comes down to. These high-quality EMDs weren’t affected because they are performing proper SEO tactics.
- Natural optimization across their websites
- Natural link building with relevant links on relevant websites
- User-friendly experiences, rather than SEO friendly code.
How does this affect domain pricing?
Since Google has lowered the impact of an EMD, what will this do for the pricing EMDs or even more general domain names? It may take some time before any influence on domain price is seen, but EMD pricing could drop. Maybe not significantly, but if one of the main reasons for buying an EMD is for the impact it has on SERPs, and if Google is not accounting as much for this anymore, it stands to reason that a drop in price is plausible, because EMDs will no longer be as valuable. However, there is still the advantage of a short URL, which will be easier for people to remember. That is something EMDs will always have over other domain names. On the other hand, more popular long-tailed domains might see an increase in price. It’s difficult to say at this point, but that could theoretically be the case.
What is the main thing to take away from Google’s EMD algorithm update? Anything that Google does or changes in its algorithm is for the sake of searchers. Perform proper SEO and you’ll have nothing to worry about when it comes to Google penalizing and decreasing your website’s SERPs. They strive to make the internet a user-friendly, beneficial and relevantly categorized place. Isn’t that something worth contributing to?
Do you think that Google’s latest algorithm update has been beneficial? What do you think it means for the future of SEO? Leave your thoughts in our comments section below, we would love to hear from you!
Samuel Ott is an experienced blogger who enjoys writing articles on SEO and Social Media.