It won’t come as a surprise to many that Exact Match Domains, urls which are near identical to common search terms, have seen their effectiveness deteriorate with a recent update from Google. Practically overnight, Exact Match Domains (EMD) were downgraded in Google’s search results page, although there have been certain exceptions.
This move was seen as being long time coming, as Google attempts to crack down on ‘short cuts’ used by overzealous webmasters, such as using EMDs. Before this update, using an EMD was seen as a reliable means to generate a page one result with little effort otherwise spent. With their on-going attempt to provide more meaningful search results for users, its hardly surprising that Google would remove the inherent advantage that there EMDs enjoyed. It is however worth noting that not all Exact Match Domains have been effected, as EMD sites which would enjoy a high rank regardless of their URL seem to be largely unaffected.
If you have found that your site has been effected by this change, all hope isn’t lost. A well-thought out SEO campaign, featuring inbound links from credible sources works better then ever, although this can admittedly be a rather time consuming process. Another option worth considering, in addition to the previous one, is to re-brand your site to something that doesn’t seem so shallow and superficial. While consumers back in early days of the web, in attempt to get a plumber in Leeds for example, may have typed in “www.leedsplumber.co.uk”, web users nowadays are much better informed, realising that the best solution isn’t always the most obvious.
Its not clear how sweeping these changes are yet, or how far they will go, but a wise webmaster should be prepared for such changes and shouldn’t have to rely upon quick fix solutions. Search Engine Optimisation is a long, and often tiring, process, and if it isn’t then you’re probably doing something wrong!