Effect Of Google Update

Google EMD UpdateI’m going to keep this short and straight to the point.

How We’re Doing

So if you haven’t heard about it yet, Google released an update that targeted EMDs. As many of our readers know, we’ve been going for this type of domain as part of our main strategy. Basically 70-80% of our sites have been hit and we’ve taken a significant decrease in adsense income. We are still sorting through everything at the moment, but there doesn’t seem to be much of a distinction from sites that did get hit versus sites that didn’t. It’s almost as if Google fired a shot gun blast and just happened to miss some sites here and there.

To top it off, the authority sites that we were building were hit as well. What’s interesting was that these authority sites had no backlinks being built to them and they were NOT EMD.

Predicting The Update

So why didn’t we see this coming? Well, to us it still doesn’t make much sense. Many of the sites we built ranked because there weren’t any other sites covering the information. When we check Google for some of those keywords now, lower quality information shows up. It seems that the favor is going towards the bigger and older sites even if they are not addressing the keyword that is being searched. Is this the case for every EMD out there? No. And that’s where it seems Google bit the bullet. They probably knew that they would open gaps in their search engine, but followed through anyway knowing that they would cut out the extremely spammy sites that don’t provide any sort of quality. I’m assuming that their hope is that these bigger sites will pick up the slack and patch these new holes.

Anyway, what’s done is done. Though we are still sifting through the debris, the future of our method for building niche sites looks grim.  Until we know more about the entire situation we are discontinuing the building of our sites.  If anything changes, we’ll provide more updates.

For more information on how others are doing you can check out The Adsense Flippers Post and the Post From NichePursuits.com

How Are You Earning Online?

What we’re going to be focusing on now is still to be decided, we’ll likely be testing completely different methods of internet marketing – we are the “WSOtesters”, are we not? so it’s probably about time we start testing other WSOs. So my question that goes out to you guys is this… Have you already been making money online? If so, what area are you making money in? If you have a great method, email us and we may test it out and feature it in a post!

All the best!
Josh @ WSOtesters.com

"Start Making Money"
Learn How We Do It! Get An Inside Look And Never Miss A Beat.

  1. SyedSyed10-03-2012

    I agree, google is taking the piss now. Let’s say your business is about big yellow pillows and your website is bigyellowpillows.com, now that isn’t even ranking for the keyword. How is it fair for users when they search for that business it won’t come up in the serp. I think they lost the plot and are aiming at IM’s regardless who they take out.

    • TanTan10-04-2012

      Yes, you are right. Is just does not make sense when you sell shirts, but domain name is about shoes, right? I think Google is crazy!

  2. Guys, I am so sorry that most of your portfolio were hit by this update. However , this is not the end to niche Sites and I still seeing a lot of mns ranking in serp . Sites with more content are ranking better now, I think your methods can be tweaked to produce great results.

    all the best

    • Jamies foxsonJamies foxson10-03-2012

      spot on dori, as always.

      To just give up is at best not so good.

      Your backlinking strategy as other have clearly stated in the past is a big issue with your sites.

      You’ll see spencers view is close to penquin/panda/emd and thats what we feared would take your business down.

  3. TeddyTeddy10-03-2012

    Sorry guys for taking the hit….don’t stop building niche sights! You guys were so successful before. Just take on day at a time and who know we will find something.

  4. JoeJoe10-03-2012

    I think EMD or micro niche sights are not DEAD! Its how you use your onpage seo and backlinking. I only had 10 sights out of 80 tanked and many of the ones that didnt tank are EMDs.

  5. paulpaul10-03-2012

    yeah not too happy myself, ive seen a few sites drop in rankings altho im starting out it isnt affecting my income and ive not lost too much money, however i have recently invested a fair chunk of my spare cash by paying outsourcers to do my keyword research, article writing and have bought a fair few EMD last week before the update so all in all not too happy with the fact that ive spent the last 6 weeks building and focusing on my core business based on your adsense book. ill stick to my strategy of building sites and see how we go

  6. JCJC10-03-2012

    Thanks for the update, I was wondering if you guys took a hit. I’m sorry to hear that you did.

    I had a few MN sites that got hit. I’m going to focus on building quality authority sites. It seems that the constant I keep hearing is “quality”. Although I did hear about some people’s authority sites getting hit, its a lot less people than the people talking about their MN sites getting hit.

    I hope you guys continue to evolve and keep this blog going. It really is motivation for me and you provide very useful information!

  7. Steve WymanSteve Wyman10-03-2012

    I agree with Dori and others here

    Your completely wrong to try to call the end of NicheSites and authority niche sites and unduely frighten people.

    Your entitled to give up and change your business model of course. Building nichesites is and remains a case of continued improvement and tweaks not some fixed plan with old style links and hope.

    I would say all developers of niche sites have taken a hit some at 100% others 5%. To lead we simply need to evaluate and establish what the algo is doing. There are clear indications of some sites coming back already.

    What publishers of information need to make clear is this is a “game” we’re playing with Google, its been asked to clean up the serps by USERS vocal ones that don’t like crappy sites in search (who does i dont). There is a reason for their actions.

    And they are using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Collateral damage is just one of those things. Panda certainly achieve its objectives so you can hardly blame them.

    My only complaint to Matt Cutts is that I want clear rules and guidelines.

    “write for user and not search engines”
    “Quality content”

    Are meaningless, without parameters. Its like saying make the car go faster to pass the quality test. the first question would be “how fast” etc

    If you take this view you stop building websites altogether and thats not correct. I thought you guys were in this for 5 years.

    By reading Adsenseflippers and nichepursuits there are some emerging trends in what happened. I think well have a handle on this update in 2-3 weeks.

    The big issue for me is ranking a page without backlinks and without extensive on page seo was easy with EMD boost. Does the decline of EMD boost mean a return to very diverse backlinking? maybe including almost no exact anchor text.. Hum… time will tell

  8. AukeAuke10-03-2012

    It’s funny, weird actually. I started to make a EMD MN site with only one 1000 word article a week ago and it ranked to the first page already. I’ve also read that a 10 year old EMD domain with over 5k articles got hit.
    Hopefully there won’t be a second wave of the ‘Google Hammer’ and even better if they’d reverse the penalties..

    Goodluck to you all out there!

  9. TanTan10-04-2012

    I will change my strategy to not too depend on Google traffic and move to target affiliate programs/networks or event sell own product instead. By the way, I just don’t understand how to define low quality? I have some websites with a lot of good quality (at least in my eye) also being hit in this update.

  10. Daryl ManderDaryl Mander10-04-2012

    Hi guys,

    Interesting to hear you guys moving away from niche sites. I’ve decided at least for the next month or so to soldier on with niche sites, seeing as I have already invested in the domains and content. But, with you guys, spencer haws and mike from Maine all talking about moving away from niche sites, maybe the time has come to consider the same move myself soon!


  11. Nest28Nest2810-04-2012

    I’m sorry to hear that your sites got hit. We spoke a few week ago on the Warrior Forum and I asked you why was your site called WSOtesters but you don’t test WSOs, you replied saying you had originally planned to test WSOs and show people which ones are worth buying and which ones weren’t. I would recommend going back to your original idea, you already had a good follow who trust you, so sign up to http://www.warriorplus.com/ which is a affiliate site for all WSO, and start testing them out, you can earn affiliate commissions on the products they actually work, sometimes the commissions are 100%.

    Anyways good luck Mosa, your smart guy, I’m sure you will bounce back from this in no time.

  12. kerikeri10-04-2012

    Sorry about the loss of some of your adsense earnings. I lost most of mine which was a bit over a 1000 for the last year or so:( I been building more content to the sights that kept its rankings and using less on page optimization. Also, I have been adding better link diversity, less anchor text for the main keyword. I don’t think you guys should give up on niche sights. I think testing wso isn’t the way to go in my opinion…they are all rehashed and many newbies are starting to figure that out. Good luck and GO BING!!!!

  13. WittyTWittyT10-04-2012

    Damn, I was hoping you would have been spared. From what I’ve been reading, it seems like almost everyone has lost about two thirds of their sites with this update.
    I’m sure we can all bounce back though. I’m testing a few new techniques at the moment and I hope you will too (don’t give up!)

  14. PatPat10-04-2012

    Hey guys,

    Check out this post by Alex Becker over on source wave. I think it does a pretty good job of explaining what’s going on, and it might even give you some insight into how you can recover your niche sites. I definitely wouldn’t give up on them since you’ve put so much work into building them up. Here’s the link to the article:


    – Pat

  15. JoshJosh10-04-2012

    I just wanted to clear up that we haven’t completely given up on niche sites as many of you are suggesting. We’re just pausing everything until we learn more. We want to take a heavy look at how our sites react as time goes by. In the mean time we’re focusing on diversifying.

  16. Steve wymanSteve wyman10-04-2012


    So it turns out that there is a panda update rolling out over the top of the EMD it may not be finished yet which could explain a whole lot.


    “Google began rolling out a new update of Panda on Thursday, 9/27. This is actually a Panda algorithm update, not just a data update. A lot of the most-visible differences went live Thursday 9/27, but the full rollout is baking into our index and that process will continue for another 3-4 days or so. This update affects about 2.4% of English queries to a degree that a regular user might notice, with a smaller impact in other languages (0.5% in French and Spanish, for example).”

    actually a panda slo update not just a refresh!! 2.4% yikes thats high

    there we go multiple “filters” at the same time and the panda rolled out over 4 days..

    I hope that kinda confirms the idea of better “quality” content will address issues and the EMD filter is less that might have otherwise have been the case.

    Josh I think that if you read your article from an outsider’s perspective it can read as if your “stopping building site” with no view of starting again and moving on to new pastures . which is fine IMHO. its your business after all…

  17. TerenceTerence10-04-2012

    I honestly think that there is a list of tweaks that Google has to make to the algo every 4-6 months that will drastically change up the results. They will have new serps every couple of months and I really don’t expect there to be anyone staying in the serps for more than 6 months to a year, UNLESS your site is special and authoritative enough to survive each change.

    I don’t think they are even “updates”, they just change the strength of factors on the SERPS to cause the sites to cycle around. If they do this for a few years they are bound to kill off the internet marketers and spammers who cannot survive in that kind of climate. They are gonna change the SERPs constantly until the culture of internet marketing has changed and I bet that will be for the next 3 years or more.

    They will only stop once people have stopped spamming and started creating unique and useful things. Which is what I’m trying to do now a days.

  18. Josh & Trevor

    Sorry to hear about your sites, all of mine tanked as well! I only had 25 which were built over the last two months but I already had 9 that were on page 1, oh well off to the drawing board to figure a new plan of attack.


  19. KentKent10-05-2012

    Sorry to see your sites tanked. I love to check out how you guys come along and evolve. Some of my EMD did pretty well in Sept. They all got hit too.

    I guess I’d focus on quality authority sites from now on.

  20. Alexander Bastian SmithAlexander Bastian Smith10-05-2012

    built my sites according to your method and they all tanked 🙁 they even had 5 pages + of content and decent stuff as well (I wrote it all, spending hours on each article). Annoying as they only just started ranking – have lost hundreds so far. Back to the drawing board, won’t give up!

  21. Nathaniel HunterNathaniel Hunter10-05-2012

    Sounds like you guys learned a hard lesson in diversification. I haven’t been impacted by this update but I build branded sites, not EMD sites. I do have a few EMD’s that I’ve used to test and they actually increased ranking but I’m not going to claim to know why. I wrote the articles so I know they were quality with no spelling or grammar issues. I’m diversified by having adsense sites, product sales commission sites (avantlink), e-commerce drop ship sites (from 1 product to 8000+ products), Kindle books (that I write and don’t outsource) and an offline marketing business where I use my gained knowledge to help other local businesses (very lucrative). There’s lots you can do to diversify your empire.

    I’d love to see you guys pick one of your sites that tanked and put your all into it as a test to see if you can bring it back from the grave. It might help you and others get a handle on what happened.

    Get up, dust yourselves off and get to it! You guys already know how to treat IM like a real business so I know your next endeavor will be even more successful.


    • JohnnoJohnno10-07-2012

      I am doing just that.

      I have an EMD money site that got hit by Panda (position 7 to 120), then further slammed by the EMD update (120 to 230).

      I am going to see if I can pull it out of the hole. I have signed up for Matt LaClear’s (Warrior Forum) Holistic link building service.

      Matt seems to know what he’s doing. Personally I think that this is a better use of my time than doing my own link building.

  22. Terence WatsonTerence Watson10-05-2012

    Guys this is “their” I method at all. They are just using the most common straight forward emd method which is being promoted by tons of other people. I started three low competition niche sites last august and after this last updated their sitting in much higher positions. One of my sites is #1 as well, it used to be #5. Not gonna tell the secret sauce because I know someone will eventually anyway, which will ruin it for me and everyone else who found it.

    • tommy jonestommy jones10-05-2012

      What an idiot. A real fool.

      I bet he doesnot come back here to comment further.

      Whay say stupid things like that with out proof and with out a link to your blog or membership site where people can see what your doing.

      As this was a panda attack and not just an emd issue your sites are ranking for all the normal reasons.

      Their is no magic you fool. its all in the oublic domain. you have no trick. just words.

      There are millions upon millions of sites at #1 in google!! so what.

  23. pogospringpogospring10-07-2012

    I’ve got to say that I am slightly disillusioned with Google at the moment. I’m going to try and improve my EMDs that survived as best I can and then look for an alternative that doesn’t rely on Adsense and SERP manipulation – which if we’re honest with ourselves was what an EMD site was all about.

  24. AndrewAndrew10-07-2012

    I suggest you give back the money to the people the week you sold the websites when the EMD update hit. Don’t be an A**

    • JoshJosh10-09-2012

      Hey Andrew, I agree, and it’s something that we’ve already done.

  25. AukeAuke10-08-2012

    The sites got hit are completely random.. Created 3 sites after the EMD update and they’re all ranked on the first page (# 5) following the exact tutorials on this site. Didn’t even backlink them yet – they all got only 1 article of 1000 words with 3% keyword density..

    So I don’t know whether to continue or start trying out other strategy’s.
    Hope more information will come out soon. Once again: best of luck to all of you 🙂

  26. Charlie FornessCharlie Forness10-08-2012

    I had six Adsense MNS that I set up about six weeks ago. All EMD’s. Four got blasted into oblivion with this update, and two are in the top 20 still. I’m still trying to figure out why two are okay and four are not, and whether it’s even worth the effort to try to bring the other four back. I think that Nathaniel has it right, above, that diversifying the empire is best.

  27. DaveDave10-09-2012

    If you ask me this update has everything to do with Google want to make money with PPC, if you nuke 50% of the emd’s and your serps show ads for the keyphrase searched for, you will get more change people will click the ads and Google makes more money…. it is all about the shareholders, Google doesn’t give a shit about the searcher and about the webmaster, the proof is right here in this update

  28. pogospringpogospring10-09-2012

    I understand why G ran this update and to be honest with you I have to say that I agree with it. It’s just a pain that it had to effect my sites too 🙂

    So my question is are you guys going to go back to your initial vision of “Real Tests, Real Results” and test other WSOs, will you try to find another single method that works or will you try and resuscitate your EMDs?

  29. BluebellBluebell10-10-2012

    I have 15 sites, generating $200 per month. 13 sites have been decimated, dropped from rising 15-8 rank to 500+.
    BUT the 2 remaining are both sites I wrote my own content for. ……..and Adsense revenue has increased. CTR up 2-3% to 4 %, and cpc up from .2 to .4, so over all increase. The sites dropped fortunately were not my top 2…..grace of god etc etc.

    My thoughts……I had not got round to ANY back linking for any sites…..

    My sites which have held were written by a UK, literate, interested party ( one is EMD with 1 1000 word article, the other EMD #1 Google, with 10 pages, but only really page one pulling)

    Both sites are low competition, keyword density less than 2%. All less than 6 months old. My old…..7 year old domain (200 pages) has been killed…so it’s not age.

    I wish Google would use a factor of bounce rate and time on site within it’s algorithm…..surely that is the main driver for user experience. Back linking/ social noise and anchor text isn’t, as it is manipulated by ‘spammers’.

    Google has so much info in analytics data it can see which sites are delivering good content!!!! …and yes my sites are not works of lifelong passion, but they are better than some so called generic “authority sites”, and Google punters vote by reading it, ie low bounce, high time on site.

  30. Danny NguyenDanny Nguyen10-13-2012

    SORRY to hear you two got hit BAD. I also got hit Badly with my new ten sites for testing purposes as followed your strategies without any backlinking yet. i am uncertainty whether should i continue write more content for these EMD micro sites or should i Stop and abandoned all of them and start a new big authority site.

  31. aazeakaazeak10-14-2012

    we built 5 niche site out of which only 1 reached the first spot in 3 months other 4 were fails lol , But this one site was making 150$ from last two months 😛 after this new update, we are still on the first page but to 4th position. It is still goods then how most of the people have suffered. It was good that we had already started to work on a authority site from last month. Now this Authority site is going good reaching 100 UV every day. we would work on it and make it even better

  32. Alexander Bastian SmithAlexander Bastian Smith10-25-2012

    Guys, how’s it going? Any of your sites recover? Mine never did!

  33. JCJC11-16-2012


    Are you guys still around??? No updates in a while… I miss reading about your progress and success. Hopefully those last Google updates didn’t scare you away from IM.

    Hope to hear from you guys soon!

  34. Alexander Bastian SmithAlexander Bastian Smith11-17-2012

    Same, a bit disappointed that they’ve left the site completely. I’d been following their methods and my sites tanked. Was hoping they’d come back with an update and maybe some tips… seems a bit weird to completely disappear without at least ‘closing’ the website.

  35. BluebellBluebell12-09-2012

    Come on chaps…we all believed in you and we want to share what we’ve been doing with you….if you have time to change your splash screen you have time to post a little crumb of progress.
    Problem shared and all that. Or have you gone back to 9 to 5 paid employment….if so put the site up for sale and let us carry on where you left off. There is life post Panda!

  36. mattmatt12-31-2012

    You guys still alive?

  37. Alexander Bastian SmithAlexander Bastian Smith01-02-2013

    They’re still alive but have basically given up on the site – “Trevor” is back doing whatever he was doing prior to this. I heard this from MikeFromMaine.com. What pisses me off is that we’ve all bought products through their affiliate links (and thus paying for their income) and once they had a setback they just left without explanation. I think the decent thing to do would be to tell us what might be possible (pointing us to other good resources for example) or at least apologise for how things went down. After all, this was not “free” info as they created it to drive their business and affiliate income. So they owe us something, at least a final post. They should also remove tutorials that no longer work and the affiliate links on those pages. I’m just really disappointed in these guys, having followed them and their template.

  38. JCJC01-09-2013

    This site used to be motivation for me. I used to come here several times per day to read about all of the great progress, but now the site sits here dead and lifeless. Now, I’m still motivated by this site but in a very different way…

    Since their sites got slapped hard by Google, they basically gave up (as far as we know). Instead of developing new methods and learning new tricks, they gave up. They turned their backs on all of the loyal followers that were here everyday like I was. So now I’m motivated by this site to never give up.

    Internet marketing is a cold beast, one day you’re on top of the world but the next you can be laying in your own grave. Not everyone is cut out for the ups and downs and this site is a prime example of that.

    It’s sad but true. I wish everyone here the best in their endeavors, including Josh and Trevor. Never give up!

  39. BluebellBluebell01-10-2013

    I want to endorse the previous comment. I too started around the same time (last may 2012), and followed josh & trev’s method. I got hammered by google, but I have dusted off, revamped, renewed; and I’m back to $600 per mth from adsense/amazon from EMDs with NO back linking, but ‘shit hot’ original, relevant content, and a hard look at cpc * emd search volume.
    I am sure WSO had the same issue, but talk to us, together we can create a strategy which works. We gave our stories, perhaps we share in this forum without j & t……….here’s mine.
    Long tail pro is great for me, I’m using is it to make ok sites great, and using it and niche fm for original keyword research.
    If sites aren’t indexed within 1 month I’m leaving it until 3 mths.
    All my content I write myself…all my none earning / bashed sites were iwrite etc content.
    What are you DOING to get to you goals?
    Mine are $5000 per month….in 10 mths im 10% there with a wonderful learning curve and great forums to follow.

  40. Alexander Bastian SmithAlexander Bastian Smith01-11-2013

    Hey guys! Fantastic. Maybe we should create a private Mastermind group or something and help each other out? My email is alexander dot bastian dot smith @ gmail.com if you’re interested in getting in touch about Adsense sites, share tips, etc.

    I’m building now as well and generating income, though not as much as you Bluebell – I also got hit by the EMD update and haven’t really recovered yet.

    My problem with the fact that they disappeared is that we’ve bought through their affiliate links, giving them an income AND we followed their advice. Then they just quit on us without even giving an explanation. I doubt that they can’t read this?! I’ll just be sure that if I ever see them online again I’ll call them out on this. I think once you sell and generate income (yes, the info was free, but they made money off us through selling as affiliates) then you owe your customers and followers some sort of explanation. They have a bunch of Adsense sites out there – you’re telling me they havent managed to learn anything in the aftermath? I just have a huge problem with this ethically, especially after spending literally hundreds of $$ on hosting, software and services through their affiliate links as I trusted these guys.

  41. SebastianSebastian02-04-2013

    Hi guys,

    What’s going on? No more updates? 🙁

  42. JCJC02-06-2013

    So…. Looks like they’re coming back! I’m glad to see you guys didn’t give up on internet marketing!
    I look forward to reading about all of your experiences during the last few months.

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