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

Many website owners and webmasters are wary of Matt Cutts “weather report,” minor or not. This change, he says, will affect 0.6 percent of US-based queries to a “noticeable” degree. Like how the Panda and Penguin updates hardly caused a ripple? What exactly is this new update, and does it affect you?

An exact match domain is just that: the domain name matches the keywords for which you are trying to rank, and Google’s update is aimed at stopping obvious abuse., for instance. Now, on the other hand, many sites use EMDs because they are their branded names., for instance, could be a legitimate, completely whitehat business that also happens to use an EMD. It makes sense. So, will the algo change affect these types of sites?

SEOMoz took a look at 1000 sets; 41 sites with EMDs dropped out of the top 10, but 5 new ones gained footing. Those that lost included:,,, and It is not necessarily because of their EMDs that they lost ranking though, so the impact is as yet unclear.

As with the Panda and Penguin updates, the issue is quality. Google is hoping to weed out yet more low quality sites. If your site was affected, it doesn’t hurt to comb through your site, add rich content, and increase your social media presence. As well, this update will be revisited periodically, so EMDs who were unaffected this time, may end up being caught in the next sweep. This makes going through your content important regardless!

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