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search engine optimization

My Experiment in Recovering from Google EMD Update

11th October 2012

I finally embark on a journey of recovering from the latest and most controversial Google algorithm update, infamously known as the EMD update. I use my 2nd best site as a test case – for some reasons.

My 2nd best site was hit hard by Google EMD update after surviving Google Panda and Penguin update. The main reason? I’m almost sure that it’s due to the domain name I use raised a red flag, making Google bots think that my domain name (and site name) is the same as the keyword I want to rank on Google search result pages. In fact, I am targeting a different set of keywords. But hey, instead of whining about the injustice, let’s try to find a way to get things back to where they belong, yes?

Okay – my main reason in using my 2nd best site for the experiment – instead of one of my other sites that was also hit by EMD update – is to see how big is the impact of doing so.

So, how to recover from EMD update? Well, I put my site at risk by embarking in a journey that, technically, would end up well – let’s see…

Step-by-step guide

What I’m trying to do is to redirect everything from my EMD update-hit site to a new location with non-EMD domain name; so, yes – no more keywords on the new domain name. Please be warned, there are more things to do when you redirect everything to a new location, especially if your branding is strong.

So, here’s what I do:

1. Migrate your site to a new location, with carefully chosen non-EMD domain name.

2. Do permanent redirection or 301 redirect. There are several methods, but my favorite is 301 redirection via .htaccess. Just open your .htaccess on the old location and edit with the following:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !$ [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$$1 [L,R=301]

Or course, you need to replace newlocation with your actual new domain name.

3. Let everyone knows about your new location. By “everyone” I really mean it – this is actually a challenging feat of migrating to a new location. If your site is an established business with regular followers and clients, you need to let them know about your decision in moving to a new location with a different domain name. There will be some misunderstandings, but it’s a normal part of the transition – just bear it and carry on.

You also need to let Google and other search engines know about your change of address. They will know eventually, but to speed things up and make the transition smoother, you need to let search engine bots know about your decision. I suggest you to use the Change of Address feature for the best result.

4. Monitor, wait and keep on building your site. This is may be the hardest part of the whole migration thing – you need to wait and see whether your redirection and site building activities will positively impact your site.

Also be warned about the aftermath, one of them is the fact that there will be a loss in PageRank due to 301 redirection. A loss of traffic is not an issue, as long as you can redirect each and every page of your old site to the new location.


I’m not that sure whether what I’m doing can make a real difference. There are some works to do, but I hope everything won’t end up in vain.

Regarding the possibility of the 301 redirect to cause some loss of PageRank, I think it doesn’t really matter; it’s all about priority. Traffic and ranking are, to me, more important than PageRank. Having a PR 0 is just fine, as long as I get plenty of highly-targeted traffic.

Have you successfully moved your site to a new location, under a different domain name? Please share your tips below…

Ivan Widjaya
Recovering from the EMD update
Image by SD Kirk

Ivan Widjaya is the owner of, as well as the founder of several online businesses:, and He runs his business from anywhere, anytime he wants.

Cute business woman

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