How to Recover from Google EMD Update

How to Recover from Google EMD Update

Google continues to tumble webmaster world upside down with 2 newest updates – the Google Panda updates (now called Panda 20) and EMD (exact match domain) update. The Panda update was as expected – but the EMD update, in my opinion, sucks.

Google Panda update 20 – kick-started in September 27th, 2012, is a major update, affecting 2.4% of English search queries, and minimal on queries in other languages. My site is doing well, after I have done some adjustments that gear toward improving the quality of my sites’ content.

HOWEVER, the EMD update – launched a bit earlier than Panda update 20 – is controversial – at best.

The impact of EMD update

Okay – I understand what is the exact match domain (EMD) update is trying to do: Google bots scan the web to determine whether certain domain names are exactly the same as the main keyword they are targeting. So, if your main targeted keyword is “teeth whitening”, then your will be penalized – which it did (even though it’s an authority site!) – this article shows you some devastating impact of the EMD update.

Although as I write this article the changes are still in progress, I’m sure that – more or less – the impact would be the same – websites with exact match domain names will suffer the consequences: Losing ranks – and eventually, losing revenues.

Not only website owners, other online business owners will suffer the consequences too…

Domain name business is struggling

Domain name investors are investing in brandable, short, valuable domain names. But not only that, many invest in exact match keyword domain names, which are attracting appeal, as Google was normally take into account the value of EMD in ranking the site on search engine result pages.

Not anymore.

Websites with EMD will suffer – regardless they are authorities or not!

Websites with EMD are hit hard – and that includes a couple of my active websites. Let’s say my sites hit by the EMD update is called Site A and Site B.

Site A has a 3-word domain name. I actually target the site to rank for main keywords that are DIFFERENT from the domain name. I chose the domain name as it looks and sounds professional. I got hit because – I am using the domain name on online publications – because, well, it’s the name of my website! Google bots wrongly think I target the same keyword!

Site B is a similar case. But this time, Google bot has got me: I am, indeed using the almost-exact domain name with the main keyword I am targeting.

Okay – I understand that is Google’s. Meaning, the company can do whatever they want to make any changes to make search better. However, I – and many others- don’t see where the “better” part is.

All I can see is now lower quality sites with partial or non-exact domain names rank higher on SERPs than the authority sites but with exact domain name.

Using the “teeth whitening” case above – – Authority site with 228 pages of content that previously ranked #4 on the SERP – now ranks below (a thin niche site) and

Not. Fair. At. All.

Websites that got hit with EMD update lose ranking, traffic and earning – dead. Websites with lower quality content but not having EMD ranks better – is that Google really want with the EMD update? Lower quality sites rank higher on SERPs? What gives?

What to do?

I am personally unsure. I’m not an SEO expert, although I know a thing or two about SEO. However, you basically need to choose one of two options:

  1. Just accept the fact that you were penalized, and move on – continue to grow your business, focusing on acquiring traffic from non-Google source… OR
  2. … do what MMOHut has done in its effort to combat Google Panda/Penguin updates…

MMOHut case study is an authority in massively multiplayer online game (MMO) site. It was getting more than 200K search engine traffic a month. The Panda update has “successfully” take MMOHut off the SERPs. So wrong.

Did you know what MMOhut team was doing? They registered another domain name, called – and redirect everything to the new, non penalized, domain name EXCEPT the homepage.

The result: In no time, they are getting their traffic back – now at over 250K of organic traffic/month.

So, you might want to do it – you have nothing to lose; you have lost plenty of traffic, anyway. I will personally try to do so for my EMD update penalized websites. I will keep you posted on how it goes. Visit BacklinksVault’s post regarding the MMOhut case study.

Please note, the MMOhut case is all about recovering from Panda/Penguin slap. Recovering the EMD update might only require you to redirect everything from your old site to a new site with non-EMD domain name using one of various methods of redirection – my favorite is using permanent redirection or 301 redirect.

Okay, guys – good luck in getting back on track! Never give up, as the online business world still offer creative, resilient webpreneur aplenty!

Ivan Widjaya
Online business warrior


  1. Good post Asep! I had a few EMDs killed by this. I am gonna move on and put the content on a different website. I could keep adding content these but I figure it will be plagued by this EMD problem all the time. What a strange update in many ways.


  2. Chris,

    Yeah – it’s controversial, really. And experts mentioned that the EMD update is not a one-off: It will be like Panda and penguin – so there will be data refreshes and EMD algo updates – yikes! That’s why I bailed out early.

    Good luck in fighting back EMD slaps!

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