New Google Algorithm Update Sends Webmasters in an Uproar

You would think that after the harrowing effects of Panda and Penguin, Google would be letting up on its algorithm updates, even if for a little while.

But, alas, the search engine is relentless in its pursuit of rewarding high-quality results to its searchers and there is no end in sight—even if it means death to millions of sites.

If your site was de-indexed or downgraded this past weekend, it is most likely due to the recent algorithm change. Matt Cutts, head of Google’s webspam team announced the update on his Twitter account on Friday.

First was this one:

Minor weather report: small upcoming Google algo change will reduce low-quality “exact-match” domains in search results.

Then, this one:

New exact-match domain (EMD) algo affects 0.6% of English-US queries to a noticeable degree. Unrelated to Panda/Penguin.

What is the change?

The algorithm change targeted low-quality content as most updates do, but this one was focused on exact-match domains. An exact-match domain is one where a targeted keyword is the entire domain.

Examples:

www.howtotrainyourdog.com
www.getdebtreliefnow.com

Or if you sell red widgets, your exact-match domain would be www.redwidgets.com.

This doesn’t mean every exact-match domain will suffer, nor will you be negatively affected if you have keywords in your domain. Google is more interested in eliminating low-quality sites that were trying to manipulate the rankings by using an exact-match domain.

The problem is that many high-quality exact-match domain sites went down in flames along with the spammy sites. As a result, the web is full of irate webmasters shaking their fists at Google again for taking away their years of hard work.

This backlash is common with new algorithm updates. The initial launch affects more sites than what Google originally targets and many do rebound within a matter of weeks. For example, prominent sites experienced downgrades simply because their main keyword was their domain. Thankfully, some of these sites are starting to slowly see a rebound, so there is hope for these glitches.

Some sites, however, do not rebound, which can be a cause for concern, especially if the webmaster has based his entire income on traffic from organic rankings.

Since the Penguin launch, there have been some updates, but none as large as this one. Cutts said users would see minor algorithm changes throughout the rest of 2012, with the exception of Penguin. And we are still waiting for the next huge Penguin update Matt Cutts recently warned about. Whether or not he is just trying to scare webmasters, if history repeats itself, we may be looking at a doozy.

The exact-match domain update affected 0.6% of English-US queries. While this may seem like a small amount, with the large number of US websites, the number of sites affected could have hit millions.

If your site was downgraded, and it is high-quality, you should rebound soon. We are still waiting to hear more news on the update and as soon as we do, we will bring it to you in real time.

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