Keywords As Domain Names? We’re Onto You, Says Google

Image by:
Sean MacEntee
By Gordon J. Pruitt

Near the end of 2012, Google announced a small but significant change in their search algorithm. Aimed at improving the quality of search results, the step would reduce the number of domains that feature exact search keywords in the search results.

This is an attempt to stop the cottage industry of developing schemes that capture traffic using keyword and domain name tricks that has sprung up in the shadow of Google. Some say this paranormal activity plagues the Internet. Others say it is good business, plain and simple – they see a legal potential market and turn it into cash one erroneous click at a time.

Whichever side of the fence you are on, it doesn’t matter. It only matters what Google thinks of it. And guess what? Google doesn’t like it. They got letters about it, apparently.

“… Some people have complained that we’re giving a little too much weight for keywords in domains,” said Google’s Matt Cutts in a video interview and reported on by Search Engine Watch. “And so we have been thinking about adjusting that mix a little bit and sort of turning the knob down within the algorithm.”

And turneth that knob they did. Cutts and his buddies back in the lab essentially closed down 0.6% of the opportunities for web entrepreneurs to make money off of search engine manipulation models.

“… So that given two different domains it wouldn’t necessarily help you as much to have a domain with a bunch of keywords in it.”

So, all of those get-rich-quick-using-the-Internet systems available for purchase that feature the keyword-as-the-domain-name strategy will have to do a bit of a rewrite (or just keep selling them to unsuspecting rubes as is).

This newest wrinkle is part of the ongoing, ever-developing saga that is The Latest Thinking On Keywords.

Scared that Google is closing in on your turf? Want to give your site a check-up against future search engine results erosion? Take a look at this Google Blog entry to get into the minds of the Google web scientists. They basically lay it all out for you.