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Since The Penguin Update How Have Exact Match Domains Been Effected


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#1 maninthemiddle

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Posted 26 July 2012 - 12:18 PM

Some of you may have heard that a new open source Android based console called OUYA blew up on kickstarter. On the day it happened I picked up the dot com for ouya console with no hyphens. I thought I'd got a gem but then I read that penguin has really turned done the weighting on that factor. I imagine/hope it's probably more complicated than that but the question is what are my chances getting noticed writing good articles with all the big news outlets covering the story?

#2 Michael Martinez

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 12:37 AM

There has never been any proven weighting on exact-match domains as a ranking factor. SEOs talk about it all the time, Google hems and haws and says, "We're looking into that". Usually when the SEO community has pinned down an actual ranking factor the engineers either say, "We actually refer to that by [SOME WEIRD ENGINEERY NAME]" or they clam up and say nothing. When they respond in vague ways that means something else is going on.

That preamble is required because you have to do a sanity check on EMD-based SEO regardless of what you believe. There are always things that LOOK like ranking factors but which in fact are simple correlations (meaning, two things are happening at the same time pretty much in sync with each other but neither directly affects the other's performance).

Historically, the perceived rise and fall of exact match domains corresponds to the amount of manipuative links that get past the algorithm's filters. That is, it has always been easier to get helpful links to an exact match domain because many people simply link to a Website with the domain name. Of course, those types of links only help with 1 or a very small set of "head" terms -- thus limiting the value of the links. If you're only tracking the keyword for which the domain is named you'll be dazzled and impressed and imagine all sorts of magic power is at your finger tips but meanwhile you're ignoring thousands of potential queries that are available.

Now, since Penguin a lot of exact-match anchor text has gone away. Hence, many people have lost their beloved 1-keyword rankings.

Meanwhile, back in the SERPs, I have seen numerous reports across multiple Web forums that exact match domains are actually doing just fine when they publish Real Content and don't depend on links. As people turn to improving the quality and quantity of their content and actually try to make Websites that other people might want to visit, they are slowing realizing that content really does have powerful value.

Besides which, in a SERP environment where spammy links are less helpful, the natural algorithmic processes are better able to assert themselves and work the way the engineers intended.
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