Tips to Recover from Google EMD (Exact Match Domains) Penalty

Google has recently rolled out a new search algorithm where they are going to penalize the low-quality exact match domains (EMD in short). This particular algorithm update which is meant to fight micro niche blogs, is said to be one of the worst update till date.

What are Exact Match Domains?

EMD or exact match domains are nothing but the domain names having exact match keywords.

Ex: “”, “” is a perfect example of exact match domains while “”, “” is considered as partial match domains.

Earlier, these domains used to rank higher in the search engines although with low-quality content considering the exact match keyword is present in the URL. However, with the new EMD algorithm update, all these websites have been penalized and are thrown away from the search index.

Tip: Find out Which Google Algorithm Update Impacted your Blog?

How to Recover from EMD (Exact Match Domain) Penalty?

If you’re planning to go for an exact match domain, they rethink about your plan and go with a partial match domain name. Else-if you’re already having an EMD domain and it was penalized by the algorithm, then you should consider reading the below suggestions to get out of EMD penalty.

Google EMD Penalty Recovering Tips

Read: How Google Determines Duplicate Content from the Original?

Although, it’s a time-consuming process, you should patiently follow these tips if you wanted to bring your site out of the penalty.

  1. Take enough time to re-write the low-quality content on your blog, but this time make sure it meets the quality guidelines. If you’re having trouble rewriting the content, you can hire some freelance writers.
  2. Sometimes, even if your content is genuine, your blog may look less quality because of your duplicate pages indexed in Google. This includes categories, archives and tags. Simply, add noindex to all these categories, tags and archive pages.
  3. Try to participate more on Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and especially Google+ as Google has taken social signals as one of the major SEO factors in 2012. Make sure to increase social visibility of your blog.
  4. Increase authority backlinks by blog commenting and guest posting on authority sites in your niche.
  5. Take some time to rework on your blog’s design. Make sure your blog has a unique theme with user-friendly navigation i.e., the user could be able to find what he required with minimal clicks.
  6. Push your ads below the fold to make your content more visible to the users than the advertisements.
  7. Finally, if you think its a waste of time to work on your penalized domain, then simply buy a partial match domain name and perform a proper 301 redirection from your old blog to the new one. Next, follow the steps from 1 to 5.
  8. Once you finish with all these steps, don’t forget to file a reconsideration request to Google using the webmaster tools.

If you’ve any more ideas and/or suggestions on the latest EMD algo update, please don’t hesitate to comment.

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Last Updated on by Radha Krishna under SEO Category 45 Comments


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45 Comments to “Tips to Recover from Google EMD (Exact Match Domains) Penalty”

  1. zubair arif says:

    Please can you give some time to evaluate this blog because it is affected 29 SEP 2012 and i request to to google for reconsideration site they said no manual action taken to your blog. i lost all my traffic and no keyword found in serps.
    zubair arif recently posted..NFS MOST WANTED 2012 XBOX360 DOWNLOADMy Profile

    • Although your domain name includes the exact match keyword “need for speed”, it contains copied content and hence it is penalized. Try re-writing your articles with quality content.

  2. ravi says:

    hello. can you please tell me that how to redirect old domain to a new domain without losing any traffic???
    ravi recently posted..Khiladi 786 1st trailer ; Akshay Kumar Action performanceMy Profile

    • Simply add the following lines of code in your old domain’s .htaccess file. Do replace “” with your new domain name and all your posts will be redirected to their respective posts in your new domain and note that the URL structure should be same in both your old and new domain.

      Options +FollowSymLinks
      RewriteEngine on
      RewriteRule (.*)$1 [R=301,L]:

  3. Anna says:


    My site got hit by Google EMD update and my traffic reduce to 60%. should i change domain name?

    Anna recently posted..Eharmony Coupon CodesMy Profile

  4. Meenu says:

    Hi,,, My site is affected by EMD update and traffic reduced to 50% ,,some keywords is not coming in 100 whereas some keywords is on same rank as before 29/sep/12 .. So Please Suggest solution what should I do so that my site’s keyword got rank well.

    • Hi meenu, the main criteria followed by Google to penalize EMD websites is the authority of the blog. If the authority of ones blog is less and content quality is poor, then it is penalized. So, the only solution to this problem is to increase authority through guest postings and blog commenting on high authority sites in your niche. I’ll be sharing an article on the same today. Stay tuned..

  5. zubair arif says:

    Radha Krishna i dont need to change my doamin name ? just need for write fresh content thgat its or what

    • If you’ve good command over writing fresh & genuine content, then you can continue without changing your domain name. Try to increase authority to your blog by getting quality backlinks from authority sites either through guest postings or dofollow blog commenting. This will solve the problem but it takes atleast 1-2 months to get your lost traffic back. Meanwhile, you can make use of social networking sites like Facebook, Google+ and Twitter to drive visitors to your site. Do note that Social signals also has positive impact on blogs search rankings.

      Hope you get it. Do Share your experiences with us.

  6. James Dean says:

    i think heavily depending on google for the traffic thats what really kills the newbies, and when you get rid of this google thing, you may get better results.
    James Dean recently posted..Mike Tyson QuotesMy Profile

  7. eswar says:

    My site got hit by Google EMD update and my traffic dropped to 90%. should i change domain name?
    eswar recently posted..2606 Prohibition & Excise Constables Posts in Govt of AP Notification 2012My Profile

    • If you’ve more number of posts, then its better to move on to a new site, else-if your blog is small, then take some time to re-write poor quality content and increase some backlinks through blog commenting and guest postings. That will do fine.

  8. Aditya says:

    Is 301 redirecting a penalized domain name to new domain name a good idea? Have you tested it that it’s not affecting new domain name?
    Aditya recently posted..New Features and Tools in Bing Webmaster ToolMy Profile

    • You can redirect to a new domain only if you find it frustrating or difficult working on the old domain but make sure that the content is not written poorly. Doing so will not affect the new blog.

  9. Janie says:

    Hi Radha:
    I’m looking for some advice. If you have 5 exact match domains but weren’t “yet” targeted or affected by Googles EMD algorithm, can you tell me what the best way to do this would be.

    I have 5 small mini sites (EMD’s) and I want to tie in the 5 mini sites to my bigger site and hopefully boost traffic for all. Can you tell me the best and safest way to do this?

    Love your site. Thanks.

    • Well, with several changes being made to the Google algorithm, it is not advisable to continue with the EMDs, if not yet started. Instead go for partial-match domains. However, if you’re sure you can add high quality content on those blogs, then you can proceed with optimizing those sites. It depends. All the best 🙂

  10. Jarrod says:

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    Jarrod recently posted..JarrodMy Profile

  11. Bozidar says:

    Hi Radha,

    My web site was hardly hit by last EMD (at least I think so, considering other Google Algorithms in this and previous month change).
    What do you think, should I open new site and redirect all posts with same structure to new domain, or to try to go further with this one?

    I was in top 20 for various key words, and my rank is not between 400 and 600 for same words.

    Please advice

    • Well, if you’re sure your content is of good quality, then its better to move the entire site to a new domain using .htaccess and then build some quality backlinks (as your present domain name is an EMD). This time, try to go for partial-match domain name. All the best.

  12. […] of spam links pointed to your site (list of spam site URLs where your site is linked). Also Read: Google EMD Recovery Tips & Google Algo Penalty […]

  13. Brigitte says:

    My site over at got hit. I have only got high quality original content on this site, no adverts and good comments and new articles are posted to twitter and FB. I have also changed the main site keywords. Any more ideas what I can do to get this back up please?
    Brigitte recently posted..Hot Stones MassageMy Profile

  14. Anna says:


    Your Reply didn’t work for me, So just writing new comment. As you suggested to change to domain if its hit by EMD, but changing domain will resolve the issue?

    Also I just found that earlier many of my post were on first page and now many are still there but that’s keyword changed, So for example.

    Earlier “eharmony promotional code”, I was on first page but now its change and for “eharmony promotional code 2012” I’m on first page.

    Same “Airtran Coupon Code” now changed to “Airtran coupon code 2012”, So does this because of my “” which contains 2012 keyword in its.

    Looks like after changing domain i may get some good result, Please help me and give your valuable suggestion.

    Anna recently posted..Zenni Optical Coupon CodesMy Profile

    • Hi, redirecting the blog itself doesn’t solve the issues, but you should also make sure to build quality backlinks to your new domain and the best way is by guest blogging on popular authority sites in your niche and blog commenting/forum posting. By both ways, you can get authority backlinks which will help your new blog to get indexed.

      NOTE: YOu can also do the same for your old blog and make it recover from the penalty but the content in it should be unique. Remember it will take some time for Google to re-index your entire site. Keep an eye on the Crawl status in webmaster tools.

  15. Anna says:

    Thanks for your nice tip. I have one spare domain and I will redirect my current one to that and then build quality links as suggested by you. Do after doing all these thing? do have to submit any application to Google? or It will automatically identify that?

    Anna recently posted..GrubHub Coupon CodesMy Profile

  16. Matt Hayden says:

    It seems that Google is decisively cracking down on all the aspects of its algorithms that can be taken advantage of for easy traffic. Really, the only option is just to keep adding really good unique content to your site and not obsess too much about SEO aspects.

  17. Ashley Hajra says:


    Our site got hit by the EMD update on the 29th. It has 220 pages all with unique content, all the pages were and still are indexed as per Google Webmasters. Over the last 3 weeks we have added at least 25% extra content (original) on the pages, got some authority links and some authority blog comment links, but still the ranks are not back. What we have observed over last 2 weeks is a great increase in the number of Googlebot spider visits to the site, but very weirdly, when we look at Google Webmasters, the crawl rate and data download shows very minimal. Also, very interestingly, the “external links” and the “internal links” numbers in Google Webmasters are not changing at all. We are not sure what all these mean because it seems that Google Webmaster Tools is not recording anything about the site other than the traffic stats. Do you have a pointer, or any advice?

    Redirecting to another site is an option. But if we have to do that as the last option, how long do you think it will take to get ranks on the new site? We will prefer not doing it though…just trying to find a solution with our existing site.

    Pls advise.

  18. Neeraj says:

    Can regular blog posting and commenting recover my blog form EMD. Plz tell me any effective tip that will recover my traffic within one month or two.
    Neeraj recently posted..C++ program to find whether a number is an Armstrong number or notMy Profile

  19. Adrian M. says:

    I have two EMD websites that were hit hard by Google’s algorithm change. From position 1 they are now somewhere on 300+ position. I have tried everything I could to fix the problem but nothing works:
    – I compared my websites with the ones that are now on first positions with a program named IBP 11 and I changed keywords concentration, alt tags, etc.
    – I removed the backlinks that were looking like spam.
    – I replaced parts of the text with something fresh.
    – I tried even to build new backlinks.

    I saw your idea with the reconsideration request to Google. It’s good but I think that no manual action had actually been taken.

    • In the first case, what type of content is your website having? spinned content or unique? Try to get few social votes (especially Google+) and monitor the changes. It worked for me..

  20. […] If you’re a regular reader of 9to5Blogger, you might’ve noticed the improvement in page rank and monthly traffic. I mainly follow two link building techniques to get quality backlinks to my blog. This includes guest posting and do-follow blog commenting. One can get quality dofollow backlinks through these techniques and get rid of Google Algo Penalties. […]

  21. Good post and you have mentioned useful points to overcome website from EMD update. I will keep in mind.

  22. Heya are using WordPress for your blog platform? I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and set up my own. Do you need any html coding knowledge to make your own blog? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  23. Philippe says:

    I have kept updating my blog with new great post everyday. But still to this day, I get 0 traffic from google. I think google doesn’t like me …. question, my site is, does it matter if I talk about other home improvement subjects, or should I only talk about drywall because it says drywall in the domain title ?
    Thank You Much

    • Hi Philippe, there is no thumb rule that the content should always represent/relate to the domain name. You can cover any topics you like but all those should be written unique.

  24. What I don’t get is how Google rates “low quality” exact domains. For example, our online GPS store is a small company but we were on page 1. After the updates we slowly moved down until we stopped at page 70 where we are now. We include fresh relevant, unique content, post on Google + and other social sites, and overall our design is okay. Totally think the update was just to hurt the small businesses like us…
    GPS Tracker Shop recently posted..Top 5 Problems With Data LoggersMy Profile

  25. […] Recommended: Know the Basic SEO Tips & How to Recover from Google EMD Penalty […]

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