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On the morning of September 29th, screams (and then a great deal of whining) could be heard across the Earth as SEOs and affiliate marketers woke up to find that their traffic had been wiped clean. For some, the next few days would rock them to the core; marketers of every niche were coming to terms with dramatic losses in revenue as Google launched possibly the most SEO-significant update of 2012.
It was about 10 years ago that we all realised exact match domains (EMD) were overpowered. I could wake up one day, purchase a domain in a niche I knew nothing about, write 2 pages of content in a niche I knew nothing about, pay for a few links and be sitting on a couple of hundred quid a month. This seems totally fair right? Why would I ever think about doing anything else?
SEOs had hit a comfort zone. Affiliate marketers deemed their EMDs untouchable and did very little to improve the site’s content or user experience. Even after Matt Cutts posted a video explicitly saying that they were beginning to ‘turn the knob down’ on keyword rich domains affiliate marketers didn’t bat an eyelid.
Google’s EMD update did exactly that, except the knob got ripped right off the wall and sent any hint of an EMD packing. This hypersensitive update resulted in a ton of collateral damage which I’ll come on to – but this was arguably a giant step towards improving search.
The reactions from webmasters looked a little something like this:
This is just pure criminal. There is nothing about this that could be considered legit. MATT CUTTS and his criminal team of imbeciles should be in prison for the economic damage they’re doing! Now Google has showed its monopoly again…… I am not able to understand…. why Google repeat this again and again… Guys google is company of crooks matt cutt is head of these crooks.
Before I start, let me be clear; a close friend and myself have worked on a couple of sites separately for several months solid – the time and energy spent on their content and link building has been exhausting and we both got hit for six when this update was released. I understand that there are tons of people out there in a similar position who have been unfairly treated by this update.
As an SEO, I rely heavily on Google for traffic, if Google decided for whatever reason that my website was rubbish then me and my earnings are gone whether I liked it or not. Fortunately for the people I know and myself, we chopped up our portfolios to split our risk as much as possible. There’s so much that can be done and it doesn’t just apply to this update but anything that is out of our control.
Those are the foundations of a portfolio with split risk. Then on top of that you have your organic marketing – keep it as clean and as white hat as possible for the most part. Sure if you’re after quick wins then go nuts on all those grey areas but keep your long term strategies away from all the crap.
Other forms of risk management also come with understanding Google and seeing what direction it’s going to take. A perfect example right now is Google’s Authorship that was introduced a year ago – so many SEOs are ignoring this and will continue to ignore it until it actually comes into effect. Stop putting your strategy at risk, adopt every new development and its mother!
As part of an inbound marketing company I can tell you that bricks and mortar businesses have held their rank impeccably well – almost certainly to do with the positive brand signals being sent to Google.
So here’s what I have to say to those who are complaining:
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