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Google Panda 20 Update & Exact Match Domains: is your Website in Trouble?

This year has been almost like no other when it comes to how hard Google has cracked down on those who have made a living by ‘gaming’ their algorithm. Their latest algo update (Panda 3.92 and Panda 20) runs tandem with a ranking technique that revolves around “Exact Match / Keyword Match Domains”. If you’re a business that uses an EMD, or are thinking about registering one as the foundation of your SEO efforts, you may be asking for trouble. It’s been a long time coming, and in this video from Google over 1 year ago, Matt Cutts discussed how they were in the process of ‘dialing down’ the weight of EMD’S. In Adsters latest video blog, Dave explores how Google’s Latest update may affect your Small Business (with a little help from a surprise guest).

Video Transcription –

Oh, hi there, Dave Forster with Adster Creative. Actually, you caught me in the middle of registering a SWEET new domain name. So, we’re at… best plastic surgeon in Calgary, Alberta, Canada dot com. Number one in Google, here I come!

[Alternate universe Dave walks in]

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa… Dave? What’re you doing buddy? Didn’t you hear? Keyword match domains are bad for your business. Bye Dave.”

[Alternate universe Dave backs out of the room; a ‘rewind’ noise is heard]

Whoa. That was a close one. Thanks Dave!

All right, well, okay, so we’re talking about keyword match, or exact match, domain names.

First off, what is an exact match domain name? Simply put, a keyword or exact match domain name is a domain name that usually contains a very competitive keyword in the domain name itself. So, of course, high quality plastic surgeon in Calgary dot info, would be an example of an exact match domain. Or, high quality plumbing and heating in Lethbridge dot C A, would be an exact match domain name.

For the longest time, the reason that people registered exact match domain names was because Google seemed to really unfairly reward exact match domain names with really good rankings in their search results. There was really no rhyme or reason to why they rewarded these exact match domains so well.

However, as we shoot this video, Google has rolled out yet another wave of smashing penalties that have gone around and really targeted these exact match domain names. As you can see, illustrated here by this “Domain of Mass Destruction” that is heading towards your business, getting ready to wipe it out.

So, a lot of businesses are very concerned – maybe they have an exact match domain name, and they’re worried that, “oh, am I going to get gonged here? Am I going to get kicked out of Google?”

Well, the answer is, maybe.

So, we’ve actually put together a three question test that you can use to determine whether or not you are at risk with your exact match domain name. The first question is your intent. Are you an actual legitimate business operates in Alberta? Do you have a phone number, and an address, and a place of business? If you are an actual, legitimate, real business in Alberta, chances are, you probably don’t have anything to worry about. And the other part of this is, if your business name happens to be Grand Prairie Plumbing and Heating, then it would make sense to probably have “Grand Prairie Plumbing and Heating” in your domain name.

The second part of the test is your SEO Ethics. Now, the hallmark of the exact match domain generally went along with those same keywords showing up in the website’s meta title, in the website’s meta description, and probably a whole bunch of links all over the internet with the exact match anchor text that lines up with your exact match domain. This was a, or IS a very clear signal to Google that you are up to no good, and that your intention is to gain their algorithm. So, if you are doing proper, best practices SEO, you have nothing to worry about with your exact match domain name.

And third, of course, once again, is content. If your website is providing valuable content, and is making the internet a better place, then you have nothing to worry about.

So, that is a video on keyword match, exact match domains, and if you have any questions about domain names, or even exact match domain names, our door is always open. We’ll see you back here soon.