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Increased relevance of keywords in the domain name and h1 tags

 4:10 pm on May 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

My established site has just been overtaken in the rankings by a very small site with no content and I'm trying to work out what's changed in this update to allow it to be listed higher.

My site:

Domain = www.keyword1keyword2.com

Title = keyword1 keyword2 and four other words

Homepage text = includes keyword1 and keyword2 once in about 100 words of text

Pages = 77 recognised by Google each linking back to the homepage with anchor text 'keyword1 keyword2'

Incoming links = about 13 show up in Google, all with 'keyword1 keyword2' as the anchor text, including 2 dmoz listings both propagated to the Google Directory

PR = 4/7 in the Google Directory, PR5 on the toolbar

The other site:

Domain = www.keyword1-keyword2.com

Title = keyword1 keyword2 and five other words

Homepage text = includes 'keyword1 keyword2' in H1 tags in the no frames content, about 20 other words of text in the viewable content

Pages = 1 - this is a single whole-page frame showing another site in the frame content

Incoming links = 3 show up in Google, two with 'keyword1 keyword2 as the anchor text, none from sites with PR>4, no dmoz listing.

PR = 1 or 2

Before the update, my site was listed first for the search keyword1 keyword2. Now my site is listed third behind this very amateur doorway page.

The only explanation I can come up with is that Google has tweaked up its weighting on keywords in the domain name and/or H1 tags in the no frames content. I can't see any other factor where my site doesn't outperform the amateur site by some distance.



 4:15 pm on May 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

do you use <h1> with keyword 1keyword2?

His domain is slightly in advantage because the '-' between the keywords in his domein count's as a space, so that makes it a perfect match.

[edited by: ikbenhet1 at 4:22 pm (utc) on May 28, 2003]


 4:22 pm on May 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

No. The other site only does so in the noframes content as its framed content is a different domain (providing two of the three backlinks shown by Google).

SEO practioner

 4:27 pm on May 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

ikbenhet1 is right John_Caius


 4:30 pm on May 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

I noticed on some searches that the domain name seemed to be pulling up bad sites. Could be not relevant, afteral it seems incredulous that the google PhD's would come up with that. Would be step backwards & another tool handed to spammers by google.


 4:33 pm on May 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

Can u add a h1? and maybe style it with css so the text becomes readable?

if you check out: [webmasterworld.com...]
You will see that <H1> is #3 in the list of variables which are important to ranking good in google.

I don't know why the other site would rank above you with less links, but my guess is add h1 tag, and you will outrank him. He is not here because fresbot i assume?


 4:35 pm on May 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

Precisely - that's what I'm trying to point out! :) However, that domain keyword factor is overcoming a large number of other factors where my site (a serious informational and commercial venture) ranks better. I'm trying to do the ethical SEO thing and don't want to be forced down the road of risking my ranking with dodgy techniques.

The two domains have been in the SERPs for about eight months and my site has always ranked at the top for the phrase until now. Being able to analyse two fairly simple sites in a pretty complete manner enables us to see a specific algorithm tweak for a change, rather than the usual multifactorial guesswork that goes on in highly competitive keyword environments where large sites with high numbers of incoming links compete with one another.

Emphasising keywords in the domain name will only propagate the drive to buy keyword-stuffed domains to win the SERP battle. I recently received a link request from a site that was www.keyword1-keyword2-keyword3-keyword4-keyword5-keyword6-keyword7-keyword8-keyword9.com. I decided to give that one a miss...

Yes, I can add H1 CSSed to the site and that's in the new structure to be unveiled in three weeks. But I shouldn't need to (I'd naively hoped)...

SEO practioner

 4:51 pm on May 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

www.keyword1-keyword2-keyword3-keyword4-keyword5-keyword6-keyword7-keyword8-keyword9.com'".... wow


 5:50 pm on May 28, 2003 (gmt 0)


Do you think these guys take themselves seriously?
I don't remember seeing a domain with more than 4 keywords in it.....


 9:00 pm on May 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

What this thread suggests above all (to me) is that anyone out there not paying attention to SEO is at a *clear* disadvantage.

We're in a world where the difference between hyphenated URL's and use of an H1 tag *even if there is no reason to have an H1 tag* can lead to a better ranking in the most important SE in the world.

Any system in the world needs rules to function, and SE's are no different.

But to all those who like to say: "Just build a good site and stop worrying about SEO or the details of Google's algo..." - well, perhaps you should bookmark this page!


 9:48 pm on May 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

Wooahh - slow down everyone

Incoming links?
Incoming anchor text?

Both of these are a little out of control in the last update.

We cannot draw conclusions yet - wait for the next update.

In the meantime - build content and links - far better use of our time than worrying about the algo (for now, at least)


 10:04 pm on May 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

I agree - too early to try and find out why ranked lower.

My site was ranked 2nd, and pr6 for "keyword keyword", now 6th and pr5 behind a number of pr4's. It even has linked /index.php (Pr4) rather than straight url. Whereas on other keywords it has linked the main url. All rather a shambles. I can't find any inbound or internal link that has /index.php on it[now found and removed]. I have more rather than less inbound links since last month so PR should be up....

However, google searches continue to climb on other keywords :)

[edited by: t2dman at 12:13 am (utc) on May 29, 2003]


 10:44 pm on May 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

4eyes - what John_Caius refers to is a phenomenon that has been in place since long before Dominic, wouldn't you say?

I would ;-)


 1:24 am on May 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

My established site has just been overtaken

I took this to mean the effect was observed in the last update.

I just wanted to stress that there a whole load of variables that changed, not just the algo. Biggest of these for some of my sites was the loss of some links which had only been acquired at the previous update.

Until we see a follow up update that looks stable I am not going to even try to figure out algo changes - too many variables changing at once.


 2:25 am on May 29, 2003 (gmt 0)


Forget trying to test your ranking right now. You can't believe anything is logical right now.

Do a search at google for:
search engines

Then do a search for:
search engine

Then do the same search at any other search engine. So where do Google themselves rank? Do you think the number 1 position deserves it? How accurate is the 'I'm feeling lucky?" result? How do you beat a PR 11 page?

Then chill out - its roadworks - its under construction - it isn't 'currently conforming to the published specification'.

Stop torturing yourself - wait until the roadworks are completed. You'll save yourself some grief IMHO.



 9:11 am on May 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thanks for all the helpful insight. Hopefully things will get back to normal in a few weeks.

It was a bit awkward when one of my clients recommended my simple optimisation advice to someone else, saying "hey, look at what he's done for my site!" Unfortunately when he did the Google search, the Dominic data had just propagated through and his site had dropped from #1 to #9 in a not very competitive keyword search. Ah well...


 9:16 am on May 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

John_Caius, I tend to agree that things are a little difficult to predict and explain now, but any chance you could StickyMail your particulars so I can look at it? I am looking for examples of this sort of thing. Thanks.


 9:32 am on May 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thanks a lot, that hyphenated one was a real piece of work. I think their link to Google in the middle of that giant graphic is the deciding factor.

Actually I don't think you're getting beat, I think it's the same thing a lot of people are seeing where their index page disappears for a while. Those two sites above you are just beating your interior pages, your main page doesn't show at all, at least in my results. So I think it'll fix itself, I had the same thing a while ago, Google said it wasn't a penalty, then it came back.

There's no way those sites will beat your main page when it's back, or I'll eat my dirty mesh & foam baseball cap.

Also, I know you're working on it anyway, but there's no reason your big "Welcome to..." couldn't be an <H1> instead of <p>.


 9:44 am on May 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

One more thing-- I think even your interior pages would beat those sites above you right now if you had link text other than "click here" or "enter", and if your interior titles started with the site name followed by what the particular page content is.


 11:36 am on May 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

"In the meantime - build content and links - far better use of our time than worrying about the algo (for now, at least)"

I'd like to believe that, I really would. But here I stare at the phenomenon of a page of mine about a person that drops from #1 to #22, and another page about a person that drops from #2 to #25. These are not at all competitive people/words and my pages are ones of less than ten on the Internet that offers actual content on these people. Other pages would simply have something like Amazon links. I have authority linking leading to each of these pages, but pow, they are flushed down the dominic.

Why would I get more links to pages like these from quality sites, say like dmoz? If anything, it is hurting me.

In contrast I have a page about a person that has three links from my own site. Of course it ranks, #1 for that person.

Why? Because it is *new*. That is the only thing this page has over the others.

I fully intend to go through all the pages on my site and change a few words, just to make them "newer".

At the same time I look at the serps of my #1 keyword. Five of the top 15 results are variations on the keyword (different TLD's, etc). Four of these don't have a thimbleful of content between them (one is the uk.co domain I have nightmares about).

Make quality content? Get quality links?
Been there, done that... and it leads to being penalized these days.

Things to do:
buy many keyword and hyphen domains in as many TLD's as I can
link them all together
join a freeforall link exchange
stuff pages with hyperlinked keywords with no coherent text
sign guestbooks with exact anchor text

Straightforward good webmastering is punished. Sensible seo seems nuetral. Goofball seo rules the roost.

Okay, so I'm not going to do the goofball stuff that Google is rewarding. But it sure seems like a bad idea right now to get good links and add good quality. It actually appears to be best to sit on your hands.

(Want to hurt your competition? Get them some links from Universities, professional associations, governement agencies, dmoz and yahoo. That will kill them.)


 11:43 am on May 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

The important point here is that, although we can sift out some of the algo changes employed in Update Dominic and how to counter them, it should be ultimately irrelevant as our fingers are crossed that we'll get back to some semblance of normality in the next few weeks or so. :) :) :)

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