Exact Match Domains Getting Nuked

There are very few basic knowns about what factors have an effect on your keyword ranking. Put your keyword in the title of your page,  in your page, and in the url of your page that you want to rank for that keyword.

But the gold standard for ranking for a keyword was to register the exact match domain.  For example if you wanted to rank for Lincoln Dentist,  registering lincolndentist.com secured your spot in #1.

I have known affiliates and companies that have invested millions of dollars in exact match domains for high paying niches.

Recently,  Google’s spam fighting face Matt Cutts responded to the shuffling results saying they were taking action against “low-quality ‘exact-match’ domains”.

This adds to the work done by the Panda update, which filtered out poor-quality web pages, and Penguin, which tackled spammy pages.

According to a Cutts’ tweet on September 28th, 0.6% of English-US queries will be noticeably affected.

This might not sound like many searches in the grand scheme of things. However, the latest comScore figures show that Google sites were responsible for 11.3 billion individual search queries in the US alone in August 2012, meaning that 0.6% of queries amounts to almost 68 million searches per month.

Sounds like no big deal right?  I mean its only 0.6% of all searches that will be effective.  But here is the thing.  This is something very specific.   Since its exact match for something like “lincoln dentist” how much of Google’s over all searches is that?  Umm like .000000000000000000000000001% ?

So in reality searches effected is something like 80% (total guess).

It should be noted though that a TON of these sites that are low quality come from type in traffic in the browsers.  But since Chrome and Firefox no longer take you directly to domains when you search for keyword matches this will become a factor as well.

Cutts’ full announcement of this update on Twitter read as follows:

Minor weather report: small upcoming Google algo change will reduce low-quality ‘exact-match’ domains in search results…

New exact-match domain (EMD) algo affects 0.6% of English-US queries to a noticeable degree. Unrelated to Panda/Penguin.

The immediate response was positive, with one Twitter user simply replying with “Yippeeee!,” and another joking “I suspect that won’t be a ‘minor’ weather report to the vast majority of affiliate marketers.”

This is good and bad news.  Mostly bad for people that invested tons of money in exact keyword domains…  Just hoping the power of the exact match would work.

Also since all of these are manually reviewed (I doubt it,  seems more like a programatic thing).  I am guessing there will be a lot of false positives.  After all Google is hiring thousands of people to manually review search results to determine if its good content or not for the keyword.

Unlike the old days of churn and burn on domains people have made a VERY sizeable investment in these exact match domains…. and the ones who also invested in quality content I hope they don’t get burnt.

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