Keyword Domain Names–Doomed?

End of the Road for Keyword-Rich Domain Names?

It’s no secret that a great way to get high position in Google search results for some given term is to have that term as part of your domain name.  In fact, that’s been a pretty sure shot to a #1 Google ranking, especially for a whole phrase that may be part of your domain name.  Now we have an indication that these halcyon days for what are called “keyword rich domain names” may be ending!

Matt Cutts

Matt is the leading spokesman for Google’s search term on search engine optimization issues.  He often explains Google’s changing to how they rank search engine results, and he gives previews of things to come.  I don’t usually quote him, but the use of keywords in domain names is so widespread that I thought you’d want to see this, from the horse’s mouth, so to speak:

“Now if you are still on the fence, let me just give you a bit of color. that we have looked at the rankings and the weights that we give to keyword domains, & some people have complained that we are giving a little too much weight for keywords in domains. So we have been thinking about at adjusting that mix a bit and sort of turning the knob down within the algorithm, so that given 2 different domains it wouldn’t necessarily help you as much to have a domain name with a bunch of keywords in it.” – Matt Cutts
Since this statement, a number of people have reported experiments that show decreased ranking for keyword-rich domain names.  Not dramatic changes, but changes such as from the top to the middle of page 1 of search results.

What This Means

One of he big shortcuts to getting search results position–keyword-rich domain names–is going away!  Google is pointing the way to increased ranking–good quality content that’s focused on a narrow topical area.  They are getting better and better at identifying the sites that are actually useful for their customers–searchers.

The Bottom Line

Base your search engine strategy on high quality incoming links and lots of high quality content.  Don’t plan on getting high search engine position from keyword-rich domain names.