For many years it was possible to find domains that were an exact match of the phrase you’ve searched for. Google’s search engine gives importance to domain and page names, so as a result, for many years if you were searching for an expression in the form of your expression here it was very likely that at least one of the results would be

Many SEOs (and spammers) took advantage of this fact and purchased domains consisting of key phrases by the dozens and hundreds, while for the most part each of these domains had very thin content, and their entire purpose was to rank for the specific keyword or phrase that consisted of their names.

With the release of the EMD update Google announced of a change in the way that it deals with exact match domains (EMDs) in order to address this phenomenon. The aim of this update is not to make exact match domains disappear completely from search results, but rather eliminating poor quality content EMDs that existed for the sole purpose of ranking for a specific phrase.

The update led to a large scale reduction in the presence of exact match domains. According to Mozcast’s data, the presence of EMDs in search results was reduced by over 10% as a result of this update. This change has impacted a total of 0.6% of English queries according to official reports.

If you’ve been affected by this update:

  1. This updates purpose is to harm EMDs with problematic content. Google stated that the information the update uses will refresh periodically, similarly to Panda and Penguin updates.
  2. To cope with this update your website content must be revised to improve its quality. After improving the website’s content, all that remains to be done is to patiently wait for the next data refresh (the exact time remains unknown – Google does not publish their refresh date schedule for this update) until the penalty is removed.

Google’s official announcement on the update:

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