Google’s crusade for search engine quality isn’t up yet, it seems.
Below is the recent video from Matt Cutts, head of Google’s webspam team. This YouTube video suggests that the search engine giant may now turn its focus towards keywords in domain names.
The video’s title “How important is it to have keywords in a domain name?” which gives a rather large clue as to what organisations and their SEO agencies need to start thinking about next in order to succeed in the Google search rankings.
Conversely, it also hints at what kinds of SEO practice might work against more unscrupulous companies trying to climb up the ladder.
Cutts says in the video: “We have looked at the rankings and the weights that we give to keyword domains, and some people have complained that we’re giving a little too much weight for keywords in domains.”
We wonder who the people were who were doing the complaining but sadly Cutts doesn’t elaborate further on this! He does continue by saying: “We have been thinking about adjusting that mix a little bit and sort of turning the knob down within the algorithm, 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.”
Hyphenated domains and domains containing a superlative and keyword are both at risk (think “excellent-supplies.com” or “best supplies around.com”).
Beyond that, the lines get a little fuzzy, as many sites such as affiliates have included keywords in their domain. We’re not sure how Google will draw a distinction or if they even will draw a distinction here, so again the best way to get around the new algorithm is to make sure that your SEO strategy stands up on its own without the assistance of domain keywords.
The move comes in the wake of Google’s attack on content farms, which sent shockwaves through the internet community a few weeks ago. The message now seems to be the same as the message then: Google will reward organisations whose SEO strategy is founded on good, original and high-quality content and links along with excellent standards of usability.
Cutts also used the video to talk about the advantages of branding on websites, using Twitter, Facebook and Yahoo as examples of sites that have created great brands without using keywords in their domains. We can deduce that those three sites will survive the new algorithm then!
Google may be setting themselves up for a very hard job, but ultimately they seem very concerned and focused on improving the user experience and ensuring that only high-quality, trusted and value-added sites get prime position in the search rankings. As this is the only way that iThinkMedia work, we are not worried but some of the shadier agencies or individuals should be!