Google is at it again. Their latest update targets websites with Exact Match Domains (EMD).
Exact Match Domain is a website whose domain relates directly to the main targeted search term. So if you’re targeting to rank for “Halloween costumes”, you may have chosen a domain name like “halloweencostumes.com” The details of this update are not known, since Google tightly controls their algorithms and shrouds them in secrecy So we’re left with assumptions and speculations. What we do know is (as per Matt Cutts of Google), the new update is supposedly trying to reduce the number of “low quality” sites from showing up at the top of search results.
Now it seems that the change wasn’t in fact so “minor” as Matt Cutts (of Google) suggested. Since it’s implementation, the latest Google changes affected a significant number of sites and queries. We are unable to say whether the sites that were affected was solely due to the EMD change or maybe there were other factors that caused the website to drop, or perhaps a combination of EMD and Panda or Penguin changes. The fact though remains that many sites did in fact drop significantly.
According to Google’s announcement, the idea is to provide searchers with the most relevant and high quality results, so therefore it’s only logical that they would devalue low quality websites. And we’ve all been there I’m sure. You’ve searched for something only to get top level hit that left you scratching your head as to why in the world would those come up to the top, since they offer no info on what you’re looking for.
Remember those Bing commercials that were attempting to spoof the Google results? Well I guess Google is fighting back.
What should you do if you have an Exact Match Domain?
Many businesses like to use their business name or their brand for the website URL. However, many SEO experts may have been encouraging businesses for years to have URLs related to the topic and keywords you are trying to rank for. So what are you to do? Have those SEO experts been lying?
If you have been listening to us closely you would have also heard us say that website quality is the key to a successful Online Presence.
What is a quality website?
The websites that have been affected were considered “low quality”. Here is in the nutshell what “low quality website” means:
- lack of engaging or original content
- over-optimized pages (yes, you can over optimize)
- lack of quality links coming into or out of the website
- lack of social engagement and activity
- no fresh or updated content
- spammy content
- spammy linkbacks
Please look closely at the list. Is your website guilty? Business card websites just won’t do anymore. If you simply have a site with some static pages like “About Us”, “Our Products”, “Contact Us” with minimal content that doesn’t actually provide any information, doesn’t answer any questions, doesn’t welcome or engage its audience, your site will not rank and will fall into the abyss of Google’s tertiary search result pages, or worse, may be dropped altogether.
Conclusion: Status Quo has changed
Google, Bing, Yahoo and all other search engines are a business. And as a business, they need to stay competitive and relevant. They need to be able to serve up good and relevant information and search results for the people who are using it. Otherwise, no one will use them and therefore they will fail. We may not always like the changes that they make. We may complain about the algorithms and formulas and what that does to our business websites, but the truth is that they are just trying to improve. So we should not take offence but rather understand play by the rules they set, since whether we like it or not, at some point your and your competitor’s customers will use those Search Engine’s services to try to find you.
If you are one of those businesses, who thinks that you’re not going to be affected, think again. The almighty Google, a place where your kids are taught is the “go-to place” for information is defining how we find and interact with information. They are not pulling it out of the air either. When you evaluate the new social behavior online, you will see the value is in creating proper sets of interactions for your business, more than just your static website.
Remember again that a website is your Online Storefront. You need to clean the windows, vacuum the carpets, greet your clients, attract them with offers … and all those other things you would do in a brick and mortar counterpart.
If you would like a review of your Online Presence please head over to Website Review. If you already have a project in mind let us provide you with a no obligation quote. Or simply Contact Us if you have questions.