Google Reducing Ranking Potential for Low-Quality Exact Domains

Yep, the title is exactly what it sounds like. Google just came out with an algorithm change that “Will reduce low-quality ‘exact-match’ domains in search results.”

All of this came from a Tweet recently put out by Matt Cutts, the Head of Webspam at Google.

Google Low-Quality Exact-match Tweet

Somehow this one slipped through my SEO information filtering finger tips. But our head of IT, James Baker brought it to my attention. James said:

“So how exactly does Google determine these ‘Low-Quality’ exact match domains?”

My response:

“Well, I’m sure it’s based on the quality of the content, external links and amount of social shares, +1s etc.”

Limited Impact

Google seems to be saying that pretty much all updates lately have a limited impact (they don’t want anyone to freak), but this one does seem fairly small. According to Search Engine Land, “Cutts said this will impact 0.6% of English-US queries to a noticeable degree. He added it is “unrelated to Panda/Penguin. Panda is a Google algorithm filter aimed at fighting low quality content; Penguin is one aimed at fighting web spam.”

Commentary Around the Web

Many people feel that exact match domains are dropping out of the index already and more will start to fall throughout the week. There has been some chatter already in webmaster forums that exact match domains are losing rankings.

Historical Perspective on Google Exact Match Domain

Over the years an exact match domain has been an easier domain to get ranked. For example, is easier to get ranked for the term “coupons” then (trust us we know we worked with and they had a leg up). Google has attributed a good amount of value to the exact match. However, search engine optimization experts have of course realized it and exploited it. In many cases SEO experts have acquired an exact match and built many links to it quickly, hoping that they can make a few bucks before getting kicked out of the index for this blackhat practice.

Side Note: I recently saw this for a website trying to rank for SEO in a many different locations. They bought tons of exact domains in the locations they were trying to rank and drove excessive exact match anchor text external links to them. They got the rankings for about 3 weeks but then Google removed them.

A Note on Bing

Bing has definitely favored exact match domains. SEO Inc. conducted a test not too long ago comparing Google vs. Bing ranking for exact match domains when analyzing the same keywords. The ultimate result was that Bing favored exact match even more than Google.

Summing up the Google Low-Quality Exact Match Update

Google is working very hard to fight webspam in any way, shape or form. They are also trying to scare SEO’s straight in my opinion.

What this is really doing is evening the playing field and making traditional marketing methods fuse much more closely with online marketing. For example, instead of buying a bunch of text links to try to rank in Google, a better move would be to create amazing content and run an exciting viral campaign. Of course, don’t forget to have a great site structure to support your keywords as well.

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