Google EMD Update – Keep Calm And Carry On

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Matt Cutts on Twitter

Google EMD Update – Keep Calm And Carry On

On Friday, Matt Cutts, Head of Google’s Search Spam announced a new Google Algorithm change via Twitter.

Matt Cutts on Twitter

What’s an EMD? An EMD is an Exact Match Domain. An example would be if your keywords were ‘best coffee in the world’ your domain would be If your domain is like this: it’s not seen as an EMD.

The EMD update is, according to Matt Cutts, completely unrelated to the Panda/Penguin updates. The change is geared at reducing the “low-quality” exact match domains in search results to ensure they do not rank well in the Google search results. At the moment, its only affecting US search results, but keep a heads up for UK results.


“the EMD algo” affects 0.6% of English-US queries “to a noticeable degree”.


A small amount of websites affected, although quite a lot of SEO’s are saying otherwise. Some are supporting Google’s new change, where others are complaining bitterly that their sites, EMD or otherwise have lost traffic, dropped in the rankings or dropped off the radar altogether.


Every domain on the Internet is “technically” an EMD for a search. Why’s that? Because people searching for BeSeen Marketing will find the BeSeen Marketing website. – If we were a US site would we have been penalized? Well technically no because we are a brand. It would be impossible for Google to target all the EMD’s. So how come it’s happening to some and not others? Google seems to be penalizing websites for signs of EMD abuse (as Matt Cutts said – reducing the “low quality” sites and exact match domains), not just for being an EMD. If your website is over-optimized or full of affiliate links, this seems to be a big trigger – an extension on the penguin ‘over SEO’ penalty? At the moment there’s no clear data (from Google or otherwise) about the EMD update so I’m assuming it’s to do with multiple factors – from what I’ve been reading, it is.


What are we classing as ‘low quality’?

Google haven’t said what they determine as low or high quality but we’re hoping they will soon. Although from reading about the EMD update I’ve seen a lot of talk about EMD websites with many affiliate links for large networks, such as Amazon that seem to be a strong trigger. Also, exact match domains with large numbers of exact monthly searches may have been punished the most – with some SEO’s and Webmasters saying their traffic has halved or more. As we know from previous recent updates, anchor text distribution is very important and this may well play a role.


How can I avoid this happening to my EMD website?

Okay this update is fairly new and us SEO’s are still getting our heads around it, with a lot of testing and measuring going on… But these are a few of my ideas for how you can possibly avoid getting hit by this update.


Step 1: Create an online community, an online brand.

Step 2: Don’t have duplicate content! (This should be avoided at all costs)

Step 3: Get rid of all your affiliate links! Okay a few are fine but don’t litter your website with links – it looks spammy to your visitors and to Google.

Step 4: If you’re really worried, buy a new domain name (your brand name) and set up 301 redirects, then re-submit your site to Google.

Step 5: All those low quality links you’re pushing to your site? STOP! You’re causing more harm than good in the short and long term.

Step 6: Have a logical amount of no-follow links pointing to your site.

Step 7: Don’t over optimize your web pages if you have an EMD (Well you shouldn’t anyway) – this looks like to be a big trigger.

Step 8: Does your EMD site have less than 5 pages? Increase these pages to 10+. Smaller sites seem to have been hit.

Step 9: Anchor text the same or very similar to your EMD? Tone it down.

Step 10: Keep calm and carry on.


We’ll continue to keep  you updated and informed of the Google updates as and when we hear about them. Worrying about your website? Leave us a comment below and we’ll see if we can help you out.



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