On September 28, Google launched a new ranking algorithm that dramatically lowered the rank positions for a number of sites taking advantage of the exact match domain bonus.
An exact match domain, also called an EMD, has enjoyed a distinct advantage in Google search results for several years. A domain name is an EMD when it exactly matches a search phrase. That has driven up the cost for EMDs for popular search phrases because owning an EMD pretty much guaranteed the a site would start out on page one or page two in Google for the exact match search within a few days of setting up a web site. Other domain names can take much longer and require lots of work before the site ranks well, but an EMD pretty much started out with good rankings.
The site that you are currently viewing started out as a test of the exact match domain bonus. Within two days after setting it up, it was already in the positions 6 or 7 in Google search results when searching for “Arizona SEO consultant”. The addition of some basic SEO and a few good articles quickly bumped it up into the top 3 positions, where it still remains. In other words, the EMD bonus was a fast-track method for SEO.
The problem that developed with EMDs is one where a lot of site owners built sites with duplicate content, spun content and overall poor quality content and could still take advantage of the EMD bonus. A large percentage of these sites were built by people in other countries who simply used them to obtain advertising commissions. While Google’s Panda updates pretty much knocked these types of sites out of the rankings for most search phrases, many still retained high rank positions for the search phrase that exactly matched their domain. That is no longer the case. There are several very very poor quality web sites that I was watching that formerly ranked in the top 10 in Google, but now they are nowhere to be found.
The bottom line is that if you have an EMD web site and it just lost its former good rank position for an exact match search, look closely at the quality of the content in the site. If you have an EMD web site that still retains its high rankings for the exact match search, it has thus far passed the test with Google.