25th June Google Update

So another June 25th, another Google update. Last year on the same day Google released Panda Update 3.8 this year they’ve released an update that some are speculating targets how partial match domains appear in the serps after recent updates left many results with PMDs ranking suspiciously highly.

We know they’ve been rolling out some updates courtesy of Matt Cutts comments on Twitter, and it fits in the time frame he outlined.

Early consensus is this is about a spam algorithm change the reason for this is both evidence on the ground, in that some of the spammier serp results have seemingly been cleaned up and also because the above tweet by Matt Cutts was in response to a tweet about a spammy insurance websites getting to position one for certain search phrase.

On the 26th June Mozcast reported very high “temperatures” (MozCast seeks to express the changes in Google in the style of a weather report), it’s not ended with the 25th June as the 27th represented an even more turbulent day in terms of how “hot” the Google changes were according to Mozcast.

On Sunday it appeared that things where calming down a bit although often Google does have a day or two off to see what the impact of their changes are, plus Cutts did say the roll out of the new changes would go on until 5th July, so we may witness some more interesting changes in the SERPs yet!

On the Moz blog, the Mozcast was reported as follows in the different categories – interesting because of the above mentioned reply to a tweet about spam in a specific sector. The categories are ordered by the largest percentage change over the 7-day average. The temperature for June 25th along with the 7-day average for each category is shown in parentheses (taken from Moz blog):

  • 68.5% (125°/74°) – Home & Garden
  • 58.2% (119°/75°) – Computers & Consumer Electronics
  • 58.1% (114°/72°) – Occasions & Gifts
  • 57.8% (121°/77°) – Apparel
  • 54.8% (107°/69°) – Real Estate
  • 54.1% (107°/69°) – Jobs & Education
  • 50.6% (112°/74°) – Internet & Telecom
  • 49.4% (112°/75°) – Hobbies & Leisure
  • 49.4% (102°/68°) – Health
  • 44.9% (105°/73°) – Finance
  • 44.5% (116°/80°) – Beauty & Personal Care
  • 43.0% (116°/81°) – Vehicles
  • 39.7% (104°/74°) – Family & Community
  • 38.0% (109°/79°) – Sports & Fitness
  • 37.3% (89°/65°) – Retailers & General Merchandise
  • 34.7% (101°/75°) – Food & Groceries
  • 32.4% (107°/81°) – Arts & Entertainment
  • 25.9% (92°/73°) – Travel & Tourism
  • 25.6% (93°/74°) – Law & Government
  • 25.5% (92°/73°) – Dining & Nightlife

Having reviewed the Payday Loans SERPs it’s pretty clear there has been some improvement in the rankings, although it’s possible Google has been a bit heavy handed, now it’s largely made up of news websites – which are all valid but not exactly what people will be searching for when looking for a payday loan.

In the ticket market, which is one I know relatively well, it doesn’t appear there has been a decline in partial match domains – this may be because of brand equity of some of the ticket agencies, however on the other hand some of the partial match domains you’d expect to have less brand equity are still ranking highly against the bigger brands.

It’s all going to be fairly anecdotal for a while until we all get a feel for where things are up to, although Mozcast data clearly demonstrates there has been a rapid decline in partial match domains over the last year or so, with the update over the last week being the biggest dip so far.

Partial match domains are only the tip of the iceberg though, I believe this is the first stage in the process of cleaning up domain spam, they tried to do something with exact match domains a while ago, but it didn’t get a full on rollout. I see this as the forerunner to exact match domain update, and probably the forerunner to an eventual anchor text update which will see not only exact match domains with limited brand equity drop out of the rankings, but also see the power of the anchor text of a link being diminished.

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