Does Google now 'Punish' Exact matching domains

27 replies
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Hi All,

First post here.. from a Noob (be kind)

I have read that a few months back Google made some changes to their ranking system and that sites with exact matching domains now do very poorly on google.

I noticed that a couple of niches I was checking out awhile back used to have sites with exact matching domains in the top page but now they are nowhere to be found, even 3 or 4 pages down!

Is this true? if so are there ways around it if you already own some?

Thanks for any info, loving this site btw. (information overload)
#domains #exact #google #matching #punish
  • Profile picture of the author MarketingGuru123
    Google do not explicity punishes the Exact Match Domains or EMDs in short. But it has reduced the value of having an EMD for seo and ranking purposes - but still with good backlinks and diverse anchor text EMDs can still rank well. However, one should avoid building too EMDs from now on..
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  • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
    They basically took away the artificial advantage they were getting. If you have an EMD with a lot of good content having an EMD can still help. What all the algorithm changes are always about is Google having good, relevant search results. All they want is for the best content to rise to the top -- that makes them look better. Give 'em what they want and you'll be rewarded in time.
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    • Profile picture of the author taskemann
      Originally Posted by Dennis Gaskill View Post

      Give 'em what they want and you'll be rewarded in time.
      I slightly disagree with you there Dennis. Give your USERS what they want. That's what the big G appreciate.

      Build sites for your users and not for the search engines.
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      • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
        Originally Posted by taskemann View Post

        I slightly disagree with you there Dennis. Give your USERS what they want. That's what the big G appreciate.

        Build sites for your users and not for the search engines.
        Jimmy, you're right ... but I think we're saying the same thing in different ways. If the content isn't what the users want, they vote with their backbutton and the high bounce rate will lower your ranking. If they find what they're looking for, they stay and your low bounce rate can only help.

        Another way of saying it is that users and Google both want the same thing -- quality content relevant to the search query. Satisfy one in a genuine way and you can't help but satisfy the other.
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        • Profile picture of the author bluemartian
          Thanks for all the answers everyone, that clears that up. Kinda good I guess, it can be hard finding an EMD sometimes. One question from Dennis' reply:

          Originally Posted by Dennis Gaskill View Post

          .... they vote with their backbutton and the high bounce rate will lower your ranking. If they find what they're looking for, they stay and your low bounce rate can only help.
          So Google can track when someone clicks back on their browser and this actually counts against your site? Would the user have to 'x' out of the tab/browser for you not to have it count against you?

          -- I have much to learn-- :confused:
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          • Profile picture of the author paulgl
            Originally Posted by bluemartian View Post

            So Google can track when someone clicks back on their browser and this actually counts against your site? Would the user have to 'x' out of the tab/browser for you not to have it count against you?

            -- I have much to learn-- :confused:
            If google did that, it would be pretty crazy, wouldn't it? Too much
            is made of bounce rate. Why would google give a rat's behind if
            someone stays on your site? Maybe they went for a potty break.
            Maybe they found what they wanted and surfed out.

            Google would be pretty stupid for timing people on a site, and then
            using that for rankings. Makes absolutely no sense.

            So, if someone searches on your site for 10 minutes, can't find
            a blessed thing you promised, you get rewarded? Like, that's
            better than someone finding what they want right away?

            So many intangibles to bounce rate, it becomes a non-issue.

            Paul
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  • Profile picture of the author franktwin
    Exact match domains use to have a heavy authority when they had the right SEO done.. they would usually pull up first, however as MG123 just said google does not really punish you... it just would not help you anymore with rankings.. High PR link wheels will do wonders for you!
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    • Profile picture of the author sndas
      Banned
      Google have no intension of punishing the EMDs.
      Only the Ranking of EMD advantages are withdrawn.
      But still EMDs work well if it contains Penguin safe contents
      and some backlinks.
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  • Profile picture of the author moneymakerway
    I think that Google doesn't punish exact matching domains!
    It's usually related to building backlinks in unnatural way.
    Unnatural building of links means when you create a large number
    of backlinks in a short period of time and it usually has something
    to do with using automated software.
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  • Profile picture of the author submitinme
    Originally Posted by bluemartian View Post

    Hi All,

    First post here.. from a Noob (be kind)

    I have read that a few months back Google made some changes to their ranking system and that sites with exact matching domains now do very poorly on google.

    I noticed that a couple of niches I was checking out awhile back used to have sites with exact matching domains in the top page but now they are nowhere to be found, even 3 or 4 pages down!

    Is this true? if so are there ways around it if you already own some?

    Thanks for any info, loving this site btw. (information overload)
    Google is not against the EMD domains. They just took out the SEO advantage which these domains had over the generic and the branded ones. Now even if you own an EMD it would have the same SEO benefits as others have. You will have to really put more effort in getting the site ranked.

    If you were solely relying on the exact match keyword in the domain for ranking, and the site is of poor quality otherwise, the EMD update would get you a penalty.
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  • Profile picture of the author xdarata
    Create a domain using exact keyword should be avoided. I strongly felt there has been a drastic decline in traffic. You should avoid it, and there are still other alternatives. Principles of SEO has changed a lot now. Thank you.
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    Originally Posted by bluemartian View Post

    I have read that a few months back Google made some changes to their ranking system and that sites with exact matching domains now do very poorly on google.

    I noticed that a couple of niches I was checking out awhile back used to have sites with exact matching domains in the top page but now they are nowhere to be found, even 3 or 4 pages down!
    What they said was that they are no longer giving an extra advantage to exact match domains just because of the exact match. Allegedly, they haven't penalized exact match domains, with the exception of exact match domains with poor or little content ... like thin affiliate sites.
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    • Profile picture of the author Maecenas23
      To make all things clear: If your website will have lots of quality pages, if you have your main keyword in your URL, it will continue to be an advantage. This is my opinion after analyzing data from the niches where I am competing.

      Above quality content ( and quantity) it's important to diversify both your backlink sources not only the anchor text. So you go for: social bookmarking, web 2.0 properties, blog commenting on low OBL pages, etc.

      Take care when you chose the services which provide the things mentioned above.

      Good Luck!
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  • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
    EMD's are harder to rank, that's for sure, maybe (most probably) Google put them into a small algo where A + B = C, say, A is a search query, B is an emd for that particular query, and C is the result you get in rankings.

    They do this kind of stuff all the time to different parameters, and right now, EMD's need to "prove" more then any other domain. Think about it as a wall - you need to rise a bit more to climb that wall - thats all.

    But the good old days of "EMD's for the win" are over. For now...

    Quick Edit - New EMD's can rank high as before IF they show up "market" presence. I mean, get some related backlinks and 90% of the work is done, even for thin sites. And yes, take this from my own experience.
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  • Profile picture of the author YasirYar
    Google is not directly punishing exact match domain names. What happened is they just don't like EMD's as much as before. So your website does not have an edge SEO-wise just because it's has an exact match domain name.
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  • Profile picture of the author alistair
    Personally I think the EMD punishment thing is a red herring because I haven't seen any difference for my own EMD sites.
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  • Profile picture of the author buffnstuff
    I've heard all the same rhetoric about EMDs bantered about, but I really haven't noticed much difference in search results. I still see a lot of EMDs out there with nothing but Adsense and very poor quality, spun content still ranking on page one of Google all of the time. So I'm not to sure about this alleged slap for EMDs with poor content. This is just my observation.
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  • Profile picture of the author greenowl123
    Maybe not punish, but EMDs just donĀ“t pack the same punch that they used to a year or 2 ago.

    The Big G is looking for quality content and relevant, diverse backlinks, and social signals more than anything else right now it would seem.
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    • Profile picture of the author supereek
      Originally Posted by greenowl123 View Post

      The Big G is looking for quality content and relevant, diverse backlinks, and social signals more than anything else right now it would seem.
      Social signals like what? A facebook like box on your website? Or google+ ?
      I was always wandering if i buy a fiverr gig for lets say +500 fake likes on my blog page, visible on the facebook widget on the website, will that have any impact at all..!?
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  • Profile picture of the author clicktechs
    They are no longer using as much weight in ranking EMD, but I believe it still they give it some merit, but they dont punish it.

    I think too many are looking at this about them or SEO. EMD means people are searching for it, thats whats important, regardless of the domain. That came out wrong. If you find a good domain that you like, the fact people search for it, makes it stronger on several levels. That doesnt mean a site wont need proper seo and good content, why would that not be your goal in any site? But also why would your goal also not be do build a site on a term that people search for, thats what makes a good name, searched terms (at least one of the top things).

    Also keep in mind there are other search engines, and some are still giving lots of weight to it.

    Most domains are likely to be a "term", would you rather have a domain people dont search for?
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  • Profile picture of the author Carolynn
    Oh! How they ruined EMDs for us ALL!
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  • Profile picture of the author JensonChong
    Google doesn't punish EMD but if you create low quality site on EMD then of course, you would be punished, there is no doubt to it.
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  • Profile picture of the author lastdual
    I have several strong EMDs that dropped a bit over the last 2 years. One of them even used to get frequent emails from users praising the site for its informative content.

    Despite having a lot of good, natural backlinks, plenty of content, and few if any affiliate links, Google has moved in favor of wikis and one-page blurbs from industry journals. Your domains, content and links can still be important, but there's no beating external signs of authority.
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  • Profile picture of the author Talent
    I can tell you that EMD's STILL get a boost for that specific keyword. I have built and ranked dozens of websites over the past 5 months and the EMD's always outperformed the NON-EMD's for the specific keyword. I use the same linking structure for both types.

    For people to say they do not get a boost is just wrong.
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