Google penalizes websites with Exact Match Domains (EDMs)

Do you have a website with an EMD?

Google wages war on website owners using EDMsIf you use Exact Match Domains as part of your marketing strategy then read on.  A couple of weeks ago I posted a comment on my Facebook Page about Google’s latest update which penalizes website owners for relying on Exact Match Domains (EMDs) as a key marketing tactic.

For a long time, many were advised to use EMDs as a method of ranking for long-tail keyword phrases i.e. research your business idea and a profitable related keyword phrase; register a domain name that matches this phrase, and then build content until you hit the first page of Google. It was a great strategy and an easy way to get ranked quickly.

Now what’s happened is that Google has taken a real aversion to this method of “gaming” the search engines and is now punishing websites that use long-tail keywords in their domain. Their aim really is simply to weed out “low quality” sites that use EMDs to artificially inflate the rankings of the site for a particular keyword. Unfortunately, however, some high quality sites have been affected.

So, how can you mitigate your risks and what can you do right now if you’re affected?

  • Continue to add quality content to your website. Remember that Google loves unique, well-written content that offers lots of value to your readers.
  • Build your social presence i.e Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Linkedin, Pinterest, Instagram etc. By building up a strong social presence you’ll show Google that you’re serious about building a community and about getting REAL people involved in your brand and website experience.
  • Reduce your reliance on Google i.e. don’t have too many eggs in one basket. Obtaining high search engine rankings and relying purely on Google as your main source of traffic is a risky strategy.

Ways to reduce your reliance of Google

  • If you’re not building a list – start to now! I cannot stress this enough. Remember to build up your relationships with awesome content and interactivity. By building a list, you have some assurance and you could probably even argue that to some extent it’s a business continuity strategy!
  • Experiment with advertisements to build traffic and opt-ins to your list, whether that’s through Google, YouTube, Linkedin or Facebook.
  • Look for external traffic sources. Find relevant groups and forums in your niche. Comment on relevant blogs and add value. Guest blogging and cross blogging are also great tactics along with creating high-quality YouTube videos and linking these to your site.
  • Build a branded authority site. Google is continually showing a preference towards authority websites and this I believe is their real objective with targeting the EDMs.

Good luck with this and let me know what you think to these changes. Personally, whilst I think it’s unfortunate that genuine businesses have been affected, I do see these changes as being a good thing in the long run.  Please let me know how you’re getting on though and whether you’ve been affected. And, if you need help or more advice, just drop me a message. Thank you, as always for reading and contributing here. If you found this useful, please share it with your friends!

With love and gratitude – as always,



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Jane Frankland is a successful cyber security entrepreneur, consultant and speaker who has had a diverse career encompassing art and design; business development; and operations. Having held directorships and senior executive positions within her own companies and at several large PLCs, she now provides agile, forward thinking organisations with strategic business development solutions. Right now she is writing a book on gender diversity in cyber security and is focused on increasing the numbers of women in the profession.

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  • Eddy says:

    Great article Jane! One thing I would add about EMDs is that focusing all your marketing for one keyword is dangerous. Search behaviours change and your once popular keyword may become less so. Furthermore an EMD is essentially a spam signal since all links using your URL will have your target keyword as the anchor text – an over optimisation issue. You should have a more strategic approach, focusing on your brand and building out what you do, why you do it and who you do it for. Once you have answers to these, you can begin to build a proper content plan. Google does not rank sites to make them popular, it ranks popular sites.

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