8 Dec 2012

What Google EMD Did For Branding?

After one of the latest Google algorithm updates, the Exact Match Domain (EMD) update, previous advice on how to choose from available domain names has become less relevant.

As always, it is important to choose available domain names that will rank high, but this change has affected what will now appear at the top of Google searches. While the EMD update has no relation to two of the most significant and recently implemented Google algorithms, Panda and Penguin, like Google Panda, the algorithm focuses on the quality of the site.

The update is designed to reduce low quality exact match domains from appearing in high rankings in search results. Therefore, you can avoid being affected by ensuring high quality in both your choice of domain name and through the content on your site.

A domain name plays a huge role in establishing a brand name and creating successful business via the Internet. A badly chosen domain name can cause a site to fail completely. By using a completely unique name, you will not only bypass the EMD algorithm but will also have an SEO advantage.

Webmasters were previously recommended to use exact match domains as this led to the highest rankings and would often yield a wealth of organic traffic; however, this also meant that exact match domains were very often spam. Most are filled with keyword rich, unreadable content that is monetized with ads and affiliate links; the new update hopes to improve the user experience by eliminating the chance of finding these sites.

With the above in mind, when deciding on available domain names, there are three important factors to take into consideration:
1. You like the name
2. The name is concise and memorable
3. The name is relevant to your business or subject matter
4. It is not a keyword rich, hyphenated name. (If you use more than a single keyword, you will likely to fall to the Google penalty.)

You should also register your domain name for five years or more in order to see the best SEO results. Those registered for only one year are typically considered spam by Google. If you are targeting a global audience, use generic top level domains such as .com, .org., .net or .info. If your business is country specific, it is better to use a country code top level domain such as .ca, .co.uk, .au or .ar.

The algorithm will be run periodically so if you are affected this time, you will have the chance to improve your site and escape the filter. It is not certain how Google determines your site quality through the EMD update but it is likely based around links and social signals. If you do have an EMD site, you can keep it ranked high through good quality content.

Similarly, there is no evidence that all EMD sites will be hit by the algorithm, they are definitely a target, especially those which were obviously purchased or registered purely for a high search engine ranking.

Margot Bushnaq

About the Guest Author:

Guest post contributed by Margot Bushnaq a serial entrepreneur and the founder of BrandBucket, the web generation’s answer to branding agencies that offers do-it-yourself options and advice for choosing a business name.