Google Exact-Match Domain (EMD) algorithm update – SEO is DEAD

Year 2012 is the darkest year for SEO. Not satisfied with Panda and Penguin, Google whacked SEO community with yet another nail in the coffin update know as Exact-Match Domain (EMD) algorithm update. EMD algo was pushed in the Google’s echo system on 28 September 2012 and very next day it affected more than 99% of my websites.

What is Exact-Match Domain (EMD) Algorithm

EMD algo update was being expected for quite some time and it has been already reported by SEOs on various blog. The algorithm was unleashed by Matt Cutts and his henchmen to prevent abuse of exact keyword matching domains.

So give you an example if you owned a domain, let’s say, and you had optimized (doesn’t matter if over optimized or not) it for the matching keyword laptop then chances are that your domain will disappear from SERP after EMD algo update.

Live Examples

Today morning when I prepared myself to watch much awaited India Pakistan clash in ICC World Twenty20 2012, I was pissed off by seeing the Google AdSense earning drop for yesterday. Saturday is notorious for bringing lowest AdSense earning in the week but yesterday’s drop was by far worse than I expected.

Sensing that something has gone terribly wrong I started to check Google Analytics traffic for my website and to my horror most of them have dropped organic traffic massively.

This is simply carnage.

Most of my websites have survived all of Google’s major algo updates and the main reason for that is that I always adhere to Google’s guidelines and avoid aggressive SEO tactics.

Here is the example of one of the website which is 7 years old website and has never loss any traffic on any of previous Google algo updates.

Website affected by Google EMD algo update
Website affected by Google EMD algo update

This is an unexpected and unacceptable drop in the traffic.

This domain is not an exact match domain though main keyword is present in the domain name. It is also not over-optimized for the main keyword. If it was over-optimized it would have been certainly affected by the previous algo updates.

7 Years of Traffic
7 Years of Traffic

If you see the traffic report above, taken from past 7 years, you will see that this website has not been affected by any algo updates in the past at all. The drops which you see are the ones when the server was down.

This is just one example, most of the affected websites have similar pattern. None of them was affected by any algo updates in the past.

Another Example –

Even if agree to accept that either exact-match domain or a domain with keyword in it has been affected by EMD algo update what about your own personal name domain?

Well this is really a bummer.

This very own blog has been affected by the update and I’m sure that no one in the Google will be able to justify how come my own name can be considered as Exact-match for this domain.

How to recover from EMD penalty?

There is no question of recovery if you wrongly affected by EMD algo update. Well there is a way to recover from EMD penalty, change your name and start all over again only to be whacked again.

SEO is dead

If this is really the case and it’s not just an abnormal and random change then I’m afraid SEO is dead. There is no way we, SEOs, can do any SEO work for living.

I’m sure once the SEO community wakes up on the Monday morning it is going to be a total chaos and web will be flooded.

Till the writing of this post I couldn’t find many blogs posting the EMD impact except the SEO Moz blog which first reported the negative impact of the EMD algo update.


29 responses to “Google Exact-Match Domain (EMD) algorithm update – SEO is DEAD”

  1. Paul Hunter Avatar
    Paul Hunter

    Well reported Ajay. My personal blog is also affected by EMD update. I wonder how my name could be considered as keyword for exact-match domain?

    1. Google doesn’t know if a keyword is personal name or just as a normal keyword. My guess is that something has gone terribly wrong in the EMD algo update. Matt Cutts and his bunch of brainless thugs have messed up something this time.

      Coming to the name, let’s say you created a domain with some famous personality and (over)optimized it for that keyword. This domain could be easily caught by EMD algo update. But how does Google know if this domain really belongs to the famous personality or not?

      If Google is not able to distinguish between personal name and keyword then it should simply quit search engine business.

  2. After long time I got so badly hit. Had so may sites running since last 10 years and have survived all so called google dances. SEO… I even forgot what exactlyu is SEO, but anyway this update has virtually wiped away almost 75% of my traffic.

    1. Matt Cutts and his team of crooks have fucked it all up this time. Just wait and watch while SEO community revolts next week.

      I’ve already started thinking to quit SEO and do some other decent and meaningful work for living than relying on fucked up mercy of Google.

      Fuck Google.

  3. I’m local services provider and my domain had keyword for the service which I provide. It was ranking on No. 1 for the main keyword. Now thanks to this update my website is completely wiped out from the search results.

    I’m no SEO and I’ve no clue what all these algorithm means.

    I’m almost out of business now, what to do?

    Why does Google kills small businesses like ours?

    1. Bad luck Nathan, you should not have relied on Google for your bread and butter. This is the biggest mistake everyone does. Relying on Google for your business is suicide.

      The main reason why Google kills businesses in search ranking is too obvious.

      To understand the big picture you need to know how does Google make money.

      Google makes money from it’s advertising platform – Google AdWords. Businesses, and those who have shit load of money, advertise on Google AdWords. These advertisements are shown on Google network, it’s partners’ websites and on the websites running advertisement via Google AdSense.

      Advertiser pays to Google when someone clicks on these advertisements. A very little fraction of this money is also paid to webmasters via Google AdSense.

      So as you could easily guess Google would like the whole world (100% in ideal scenario) to use it’s Google AdWords platform and pay ransom to Google for the same.

      And Google has to do all these keeping it’s fucked up ideology of keeping it’s search engine free and unbiased.

      So the easiest solution for Google is to start wiping out these businesses from the search ranking and force them to use Google AdWords.

      Simple business model, same age old thuggery which always works.

      Take example of your own situation. What would you do now? Your website has been wiped out from search result and it is not going to come back on it’s original ranking that is for sure.

      If you want to remain visible online then you will have no option to buy into Google’s ransom program aka Google AdWords.

  4. I lost 90% traffic on my personal blog on Saturday and it has not recovered today.

    Does anyone know what the f*** is going on?

  5. I just read somewhere that only the low quality EMD are affected, is that true? Some say that the domains on 2nd page of SERP are not affected?

  6. Big brands are not affected, non-brands are hit hard. But it is too early to say the exact affect of EMD update.

  7. Matt Cutts has lost his mind and so does Google. My site lost massive traffic. It is my company’s domain and no keyword stuffing in the domain name. How the heck this domain is considered to be EMD?

  8. It is not only EMDs but PMDs (partially-Matched Domains) are also affected.

    1. It’s an algo update which has fucked all domains, irrespective of whether they are EMD, PMD or whatever. In fact it seems if you have got a domain you are fucked.

  9. Ajay, no need to panic now. It is too soon to estimate the affect of EMD update. It takes about 1-2 weeks for a major algorithm to be propagated to all of Google’s data centers. the drop might be just temporary and you might see recovery may be after a week or so.

  10. Just look at what is going on with Google Places to see that G is trying to make people buy into Adwords, which are not clicked as much as organic listings. Google Places is currently broken with no end in sight. After PIN verification, what do you get? “We currently do not support the location.” Oh, really? You don’t support the location where the post card with PIN arrived, which came to the very address where the business is located, delivered by USPS? WOW!

    Is there anyone with a functioning brain working for the great gargoyl to remedy this situation? My bad, I forgot. There’s NO CUSTOMER SERVICE for something that you made all too important for small business owners to get their brand recognition.

    I hear many clients tell me that they do NOT get the ROI on Adwords. They spend, spend, spend money on it and don’t get the bang for their bucks.

    Ajay, I absolutely love your spunk. You’re not afraid to speak your mind. In addition, you are correct that to depend on G for your bread and butter is a HUGE mistake that most website owners make. These are the businesses that are dragged down into that dark abyss and ruined. That’s G saying “Fuck you and your business. We really couldn’t care less. But we want you to spend copious amounts of your hard earned money on our Adwords thievery connection.”

    Ahhhhhh, freedom of speech. Don’t you just love it?

    1. Google Places? You kidding me? Never heard of this beast ;)
      Just checked it out and found that they are pushing AdWords there. Another sickness.

      I expected more noise from SEO, webmasters and small business owners who are completely pissed off by EMD update. What I found is almost a dead silence. May be these guy feel some kind of guilt or something. May be they are thinking that if they come out they could be labelled as losers or incompetent SEO.

      I’ve even seen some (fucked up) SEOs praising this update. Man these guys must be high on Ganja.

      The worst thing is that the gang leader of all this trouble, Matt Cutts, is silent too. Normally this narcissist doesn’t miss any chance to put himself in the limelight on such big occasions.

      So no one really know what the fuck is going on and no one in Google bothers about it. After all this whole SEO shit was Google’s attempt to keep SEOs sweating out by running around with their algo updates. These guys think that they are the most genius 2 legged animals on the planet but they forget the simple law of Physics – Faster you rise faster you fall.

      And I think Google’s downfall has just began.

      There is billion dollar opportunity open to be exploited in the search engine market. Anyone coming first with the next big idea gets all the pie.

      And guess what I’m almost ready to jump in this opportunity.

      1. I don’t think that anyone could be able to build a search engine in near future to challenge Google’s dominance.

        Google ate all competitions in search engine market and those guys were the best in their own ways.

  11. Milo SEO Avatar

    Nice post Ajay.
    I’ve been hit hard by EMD update and I’ve no clue on why I was hit hard. I’ve invested a lot of money and effort in building these websites and for no reason they disappear from the search results. I’ve lost a lot of money and feel really frustrated.

    Why Google is doing such harm to hard working people and businesses?

    What could we do about it?

  12. Can’t we sue Google over unfair competition?

  13. Costella Avatar

    Google penalized your websites because you use a lot of F word against Google.

    No offence, just a thought ;)

  14. Google is smart enough to roll out it on a weekend evening. Most of the webmasters was not able to see the impact as they may relate it to week end drop. But it will affect lot’s of niches. It will be a killer for affiliate sites minor sites.

    1. It’s not only affiliate sites which have taken hit from EMP update, the impact has been random. No one has been able to figure out any common pattern yet.

  15. Jack Folsgood Avatar
    Jack Folsgood

    Ajay – You said “Bad luck Nathan, you should not have relied on Google for your bread and butter. This is the biggest mistake everyone does. Relying on Google for your business is suicide.”

    I’ve been saying the same thing for quite some time now.

    Those who built their internet business “the old way” – relying on gaming the SERPS are quickly realizing they built on a shaky foundation.

    People need to build a Brand. Period. (and don’t rely on Google at all – for anything)

    1. I got 200 websites all of them are brand-able. It is simply not practical to make them all brands.

      There are brands and there are websites. There are more websites than there are brands.

      Ignoring website which are not brand is big mistake.

      However it was not just EMD which fell on that doomsday, it was EMD+Panda update.

      Google doesn’t always do it right, history is the proof. They always fuck it up with every update.

  16. Ajay, It was not only EMD update or was it? If you read news you will come to know that it was EMD + something else?

    1. EMD or whatever it was, it was chaos.
      Yes I’m aware that it was not just EMD, it was EMD, Pand and rest of sh*t.

  17. My website on natural health care supplements was number one in google for about a year. After the EMD update it landed at number 205.

  18. Hi Ajay, I don’t think EMD are dead just yet. They do require a little more work then before but I my EMD dropped in rank for a few days and i thought i had been Google slapped but, it came back even stronger. So I think it may have something to do with your backlinks and anchor text distributions. My rule is to always keep your main keywords under 20 percent of your total profile.

    1. EMDs are penalized if you are really trying to promote it as EMD and not as a brand or value added website. Even if you try to promote it as brand or value added website and not just as EMD Google doesn’t like it any more as they used to do in the past. EMD do really work as rest of SEO but everyone in SEO knows what I mean by EMD is dead and so is SEO.

      The real problem is that even if you try to be honest and follow Google’s Webmaster guidelines (sic) and do everything in white and only white, there is no guarantee that you can please Google’s broken search algorithm. So why to waste time and money or screwing around with Google’s fucked up system which is already hijacked by big brands.

      You might get lucky with smaller keywords but try messing with big boys and you will be penalized.

      1. Very true. Went i went to one of these internet marketing conferences i had the opportunity to speak with a member of a “big brand” company’s seo team. He clearly told me that all they have to do is throw up a page targeting a specific keywords and “Presto!” they rank first page for it without having to do anything.

        So yes, Google is kind of making it unfair for the “normal” seo people we have to work 10X as hard for a quarter of the traffic.

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