For those of you who haven’t heard, on Sept 28, Google unrolled what is being called the Google EMD Update. EMD stands for Exact Match Domain. This update focuses on “low-quality” exact match domains. Matt Cutts tweeted about this as it was happening.
For most, this update will go unnoticed, but for 0.6% of searches, we have seen a change. This sounds like a small number but when you consider that as of August 2012 Google was serving results on average for around 100 billion queries a month – as a result this measly 0.6% impacts about 600 million monthly queries.
Essentially sites of lower quality that have exact match domains will have that domain play less of a role on their overall organic rankings, resulting in a decline.
As with all Google updates there are examples of innocent webmasters who have been hit unexpectedly and without solid cause. Normally I don’t take these updates personally, but in this case I am somewhat disturbed in this case – this is because I am a bit bias, as one of my personal hobby sites, Comox Valley Guide, was hit hard by this one, dropping my sites rankings considerably.
I have retained a few of my target rankings, for specific internal pages, but the majority have plummeted, even when the page is the most relevant source online (in some cases).
I’ll admit, that this site is a hobby, and does need work (in terms of both SEO and Content Development) , but I am certain it is far from being a “low quality” site. I guess it’s time for me to put my SEO hat on after work, and actually do for myself what I do for my clients! I guess it’s just the game we play.
My recommendation to anyone who may have been hit by this update? Search for areas on your site where content is weak and strengthen it. This is exactly what I will be working in bits and pieces with some of my free time to get things back up and running to previous levels.