In late September 2012, Google’s main man when it comes to fighting spam, Matt Cutts, announced that there will soon follow a change in the engine’s search algorithm, which would affect roughly 0.6 per cent of all English-US searches through Google. While Cutts was specific about this change not being related in any way to either Panda or Penguin, this does not mean it is less important or likely to affect web-browsing companies, SEO strategies and the general outlook on online advertising and marketing. How so? For one thing, it is worth noting that Cutts is the same man who openly declared war on irrelevant exact-match-domains several years ago. This announced algorithm change targets that very same glitch in Google’s increasingly powerful matrix. Specifically, the change will do away with websites whose domain names match the search term, but can easily be classified as ‘spammy’.
Of course, numerous voices across the industry, as well as from the ranks of those who are in the business of online marketing, were quick to call out in panic. What about relevant EMDs? Will their search ranking be affected to? Judging from the way this first batch of the EMD update rolled out through the first half of October, the answer is no. Not only did Google leave important domains such as cars.com untouched and where they should belong, but it also continued to allow websites whose domain names contain the term ‘Google’, based on the fact that they do provide information about Google.
You are probably wondering whether or not this latest update will affect you. Of course, there is no singular or simple answer to this question, but a reasonable attempt would involve you objectively assessing the content of your website. Is it relevant, in the sense of being connected to the domain name? If so, you can rest relatively at ease – although you never can really tell what the next update will bring about (or the one after that and after that and so on), Google says it’s specifically trying to protect good quality websites. Also, you might even stand to benefit from this update.
Say, for instance, that you are promoting your brand through a website, as well as an affiliate management system, which is responsible for the dissemination of info and imagery related to your brand across various online media (Social Media platforms, YouTube, etc.). One way in which you stand to benefit from the recent EMD update, as well as from all those that are sure to follow it from now on, is in the scenario in which a competing company and/or brand decides to steal your brand name and target your market niche through Google queries. Of course, there are legal means for you to attack such backhanded attempts at competing, but Google will also help you out, since it will weed out domains whose names match the exact query terms, yet provide no actual relevant content related to that particular search.
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