Algorithm Rolled Out: September 28, 2012

Algorithm Overview: Overall Gist

Exact Match Domain (EMD) means precisely what it says. It’s merely a domain name that’s similar — or almost identical — to a Google search phrase. While Exact Match Domain update isn’t necessarily harmful to SEO, site builders have used them in the past to rank high in Google without putting in any effort into content or site construction. That is, until the Exact Match Domain upgrade, which held all sites, including those with an EMD, accountable for what they were creating.

While EMDs were previously rulers of the SERPs, Google’s latest upgrade has weeded low-quality sites. Downranked EMDs don’t do anything special; they don’t follow Google’s webmaster standards. Here are a few reasons why your EMD-enabled site may be ranked lower than before:

Poor SEO

What does your SEO strategy entail? Have you got one? Sites are always developing and evolving to better meet their target audience’s needs. If your SEO is poor or non-existent, you will soon lose your ranking.

Bad Content

EMDs are renowned for having poor content quality. Because Google aims to provide the finest experience for its consumers, your material must demonstrate that you are a credible and respected authority in your field.

Keyword Stuffing

In general, Google despises keyword stuffing. EMDs, on the other hand, have a terrible name for keyword stuffing. One may argue that the domain name is an attempt at keyword stuffing in and of itself. You should be aware that Google prefers intelligently positioned keywords versus a slew of keywords jammed onto a page. 

How The EMD Update Works

EMDs scored highly in Google’s SERPs for a long time merely because their domain name matched the user query perfectly. EMDs might profit from Google’s automatic ranking bump regardless of their site’s quality, content, or SEO efforts.

But that’s no longer the case. What was previously a cheap and quick way to attract more organic traffic is now just a basic domain name that conveys what you have to offer. The EMDs’ free ride has ended with the Exact Match Domain upgrade. When Google ranks websites in its SERPs, it considers more than simply the domain name. Google’s crawlers now assess a site’s quality based on its domain name and if it matches query keywords entered by Google users.

Algorithm Winners & Losers 

So, let’s take a short look at a few things a top loser did to see if we can figure out whether the site broke any rules. is one example of this. This site appears to be professional at first glance, including logos from renowned insurance companies. The keyword words [business liability insurance] and [liability insurance] are prominently displayed on the homepage. It’s possible that it’s not overdone.

When you go through those articles, you’ll notice that they’re all spun material, aimed at every available area with the term [Business Liability Insurance]. If you merely look at the on-page criteria of overdoing the commercial term, it’s not unexpected that this site sank.



One of the most significant variables for a common natural link profile is domain popularity growth (i.e., the rise of new connecting root domains every month). Because more and more web admins tend to connect to a higher quality site, a healthy website expands organically over time. The winners consistently develop their connecting domains twice as fast as the losers. Over the previous two years, losers have developed an average of 1239 new linking domains (51 per month), whereas winners have built an average of 3193 new linking domains (51 per month) (133 per month).

Algorithm Solution: Ways to implement or take to cope with Google algorithm guidelines

To be clear, simply because your site has an EMD doesn’t mean you’ll drop in the rankings. You have nothing to tensed about if you construct high-quality websites and use decent SEO practices. The most critical strategy to ensure that your EMD site achieves greater results is to do what you should have done from the beginning: conduct effective SEO.

Improve Your Content

Creating a site with poor content is one of the most well-known blunders made by EMDs in the past. Builders were told they didn’t need to put much work into their content since the site would rank well regardless of the domain name. That is no longer the case. You must generate excellent content that both delights your readers and is recognized by Google, which will reward you with higher results.

Build Links

Building internal and external connections is a highly effective technique to demonstrate your site’s authority. However, these connections must be relevant, and if external, they must come from reputable and legitimate websites.

Review Google’s Quality Guidelines

Google does not provide you with a to-do list outlining how to rank at the top of their search engine results pages (SERPs). They do, however, provide a rather comprehensive set of instructions that outline what you should include and exclude from your site to appeal to their crawlers.

Spend some time thinking about what Google’s webmasters are looking for. If you can construct your site with these criteria in mind, you will save a lot of time and frustration. Don’t worry if your site already has an EMD and you’re only attempting to reorganize to restore your rating. The mission of Google is to create an outstanding user experience. Even if you’re first doing this, various options are available to you. Regaining momentum after a downrank may appear impossible, but Google provides all the information you need to succeed.

Real-Time Implementation Example

Exact match domains, in my opinion, are preferred by Google as long as they are not spammy.

A notable example of this is the domain
It’s an exact match domain since the domain’s name exactly matches the phrase [hotels], and it continues to dominate the search engine results pages for hotel searches year after year.
For people looking for hotels, this domain name is a fantastic indicator of user intent.
It’s currently almost 27 years old and costs around $11 million to buy.

According to Ahrefs, the domain has over 61 million links from 127,000 sites.

Ahrefs results for

The company also has the correct approach in place by ensuring that they are first from a brand standpoint, with paid search listings appearing first and organic results ranking first in the SERPs.

They can’t rank for local listings because they don’t own the hotels, thus they can’t.

SERP results for "hotels."

Getting an exact match domain can benefit your brand by satisfying user intent and letting people know what your site is about before they visit it.

Let’s imagine I wanted to rank for [pet food] and I owned the domain petfood. express, which is an exact match query.

This site has a good quantity of backlinks, domain authority, and organic traffic, according to Ahrefs.

Ahrefs results for

Because they have so much end-user data and know what consumers want, Google understands the intent behind terms.

Petfood. express is a strong domain that demonstrates that having an exact match domain can still function if properly optimized.

Keyword rank checker results for "pet food express."

In the United States, the site ranks for thousands of keywords, including the number two spot for pet food.

Final End Result

Even if there is a mix of branded and unbranded anchor text, anchor text optimization is still vital. However, because it is your brand, getting an exact match domain and high-quality connections from various referring domains will feel more genuine. You should not punished as long as you follow SEO-recommended practices. Investing time, effort, and money on your EMD may provide you with a competitive edge by allowing you to create a brand (not simply a domain name) that will carry numerous memories that you can use afterwards.

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