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Are keyword rich domains a problem?
ulstrup

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7579 posted 12:07 am on Dec 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

For searches related to high competition keywords (medical, real estate, gambling, travel, etc.) I've found a rise in numbers of keyword stuffed domains over the last 3 month, domains like www.keyword1-keyword2-keyword3.com. These sites are usually affiliate or promotional sites, which is OK as long as they deliver, but how long will Google and other engines allow domains like that?

Do you think the SE's, will start looking at these kinds of domains as spam?

 

pageoneresults

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7579 posted 12:40 am on Dec 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

Do you think the SE's, will start looking at these kinds of domains as spam?

I'd be more concerned with the visitors first and then the SE's second. I've seen some really abusive URL's and if I were doing a manual review of a site, some of them would have gotten a big fat F just because of the URL abuse.

There have been many topics on this here at WebmasterWorld and throughout the SEO community. I think what you are seeing is a new rush of so called SEO's trying to get in on a ripe market who are utilizing old school tricks. Many of the tricks are frowned upon and unfavorable in a long term solution.

I'm not too certain that keyword hyphenated domains are going to be suitable in tomorrow's Internet promotion strategies. Plus, they stick out like a sore thumb in the SERP's. Anybody in the know will typically bypass those long spammy URL's. I've seen some really, really, really, long abused URL's out there. Stuff like this...

keyword.keyword1-keyword2-keyword3-keyword4.com/keyword1-keyword2-keyword3-keyword4/keyword1.htm

Come on, who do you think you're fooling? ;)

P.S. Not you ulstrup, that was a general statement for those who like to use those long spammy URL's.

heini

WebmasterWorld Senior Member heini us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7579 posted 12:48 am on Dec 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

Why do you even think that's spam? It's the job of any SE to deliver relevant results. If any SE puts great emphasis on keywords in domain names and sees this being exploited then they need to tune their algo. That's all.

I can publish websites in whatever fashion I like. And I wouldn't appreciate anybody calling me a spammer just because an SE is not able or willing to adjust their ranking mechanism.

One thing to keep in mind though: If any SE starts to hand out penalties, than this is not only an infantile concept in itself, that SE will also miss out on lots of relevant listings.

The job of Search engines is to index the web, to reflect what's there. It's not the job of search engines to build and shape the web. SEs are nothing but players in this field with their own commercial interests. Without the content provided by web publishers SEs are nothing.
SEs do not define what's legitimate or not on the web. They only define what suits their interests.

ulstrup

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7579 posted 12:58 am on Dec 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

Well you've made an example most users would respond negative to:
keyword.keyword1-keyword2-keyword3-keyword4.com/keyword1-keyword2-keyword3-keyword4/keyword1.htm
, but kw1-kw2-kw3.com would not stick out that much (unless you look for it)... a catchy title and description and you would probably get a lot of clicks from Google serps. I don't have domains like these and hope they will disappear. Do you think Google (and other SE's) can and will do something about it?
TWhalen

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7579 posted 1:09 am on Dec 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

Actually, I disagree.
I don't believe that "most" users respond negatively to those long domains at all.

My experience has shown me that "most" users pay no attention to the URL whatsoever, and click on SERPs based solely on Title and Description.

Anyone else share this same opinion?

I don't particularly like those long domains either, but I do know they work like a charm almost every time. A domain like that coupled with a well-written title and description usually mean great traffic, and great conversion rates (traffic to sales).

ulstrup

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7579 posted 1:13 am on Dec 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

Heini

I still think it's like old days AV meta keyword stuffing, now it's just another parameter, thats why I can imagine SE's will start considering it spam.

Like pageoneresults says:
tricks... unfavorable in a long term solution

Agree Heini:
It's the job of any SE to deliver relevant results
Yes, my point is that keyword stuffed domains will be looked at like a spam technique sooner or later.

petertdavis

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7579 posted 1:14 am on Dec 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

I draw the line at one hyphen. Any more than that and you may as well hang a sign saying "kick me I'm a spammer" around your neck (figuratively, of course).

heini

WebmasterWorld Senior Member heini us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7579 posted 1:15 am on Dec 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

>great conversion rates
Agreed. If, and only if the user gets what he was looking for. Which in turn means that listing was rightfully up there in the serp. So under what definition would that listing be spam?

pageoneresults

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7579 posted 1:17 am on Dec 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

Let me defend myself here, before it goes too far. I am referring to those that are clearly abusive as shown in the example I provided. Two and three word domains are acceptable in most instances. I just think there is a threshold you can pass when they start to fall in the gray area spam arena.

I've been letting most of my two and three word hyphenated domains expire, it's just not worth it and I'd prefer to use the non-hypenated versions for promotional purposes, much easier for the user to remember.

SlyGuy

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7579 posted 1:31 am on Dec 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

TWhalen,

I pay attention to the URL and the title. When looking through the SERPs, I find myself glancing down to the URL field before clicking through. I feel more comfortable clicking through on a company name domain or keyword1-keyword-2.com domain, as opposed to a keyword.keyword1-keyword2-keyword3-keyword4.com/keyword1-keyword2-keyword3-keyword4/keyword1.htm URL. A better sense of professionalism in the first two?

Perhaps it's just me.

Would be interesting to see what others think.

Cheers,

Chad

ulstrup

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7579 posted 1:32 am on Dec 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

A redefinition of the question is in place I think.

Is keyword stuffed domains getting status of "spam techniqe" in the eyes of Google?

Will Google (and others) recognize these domains as "doorway domains"?

The very competitive keyword areas are competitive because they are profitable, 1000 domains is peanuts compared...

TWhalen:
great traffic, and great conversion rates
does that work long term too?

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 7579 posted 1:37 am on Dec 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

Why do you even think that's spam? It's the job of any SE to deliver relevant results. If any SE puts great emphasis on keywords in domain names and sees this being exploited then they need to tune their algo.

You're right, and they probably will, if (as is likely) a significant number of such domains turn out to be less relevant than the domain names would suggest.

I can publish websites in whatever fashion I like. And I wouldn't appreciate anybody calling me a spammer just because an SE is not able or willing to adjust their ranking mechanism.

Yes, and search engines can rank results in whatever fashion they like. They don't have to call you a spammer or anything else. They can just decide that, if you're using a domain name like keyword1-keyword2-keyword3-keyword4-keyword5.htm, it's likely that your content is less valuable than the content of a site that doesn't play obvious SEO games.

Mind you, that doesn't mean they will single you out for punishment: It's more likely that they'll just give less weight to domain names in general or ignore more than one or two keywords in a domain name.

ulstrup

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7579 posted 1:52 am on Dec 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

Mind you, that doesn't mean they will single you out for punishment: It's more likely that they'll just give less weight to domain names in general or ignore more than one or two keywords in a domain name.

Thats where I was heading, when the serps get flooded with kw1,...kw8.com domains, the SE's can choose between ignoring and punishment but the result for the siteowner will be the same: no visitors from SE's

Visit Thailand

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7579 posted 2:43 am on Dec 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

Surely what is being discussed here about hyphens also applies to .tv .uv .lv .any extension as well.

Spam (as is being discussed here) is surely content that tries to appear as one thing when really is another.

I have never noticed long hyphenated domains but I think 2 hyphens for me would be just about acceptable and anything over looks fishy. But if it gives me what I needs I do not care if the url is a mile long!

Having said that I would only probably visit once because there is no way I would remember the url - Imagine how would they do their ad campaigns?! All you would remember from a radio commercial would be the word hyphen!

TWhalen

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7579 posted 2:57 am on Dec 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

It has worked for me long term, but I too must clarify:

My own feeling is that any more than one hyphen is pushing it a little too far. I have developed several domains that utilize two hyphens, but I've never done any more than that. I wouldn't feel right about it for my clients. (for fear that it might one day be considered spam by abuse...)

Agreed SlyGuy - I steer away from clicking on long hyphenated domains too. But then again, as SEO's you and I are more educated at "search marketing tactics" than the average web searcher, and look over our SERP's more closely before clicking.

As long as it's not overdone (more than one or two hyphens) I think it can be a great help.

oilman

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7579 posted 3:16 am on Dec 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

First off - what's wrong with the url being 3 or 10 keywords long? If it's relevant to what the surfer is searching for then leave it alone. It's not spam nor is it devious - it's right out there for all the world to see (including Google). At the drop of hat google could filter it all out if they want but it's hardly worth the effort IMHO.

That said it's not worth it anymore anyhow - the emphasis on the domain name is so small lately that you might as well just grab a handful of scrabble tiles and randomly put them together and register what you come up with. If you get the links and the content you're gonna rank as well or better than the keyword stuffed domains.

Visit Thailand

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7579 posted 3:35 am on Dec 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

Agreed oilman, but there is something very strange if a url has over two or three hyphens in it. What sort of brand recognition are they trying to produce.

The internet is not an in today and out tomorrow, it should be regarded as a long term investment and with any business model that should require some form of branding.

As I say just imagine how any of their ads would look!

rogerd

WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7579 posted 3:59 am on Dec 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

I've gotten a string of link requests lately from a variety of keyword stuffed domains. My immediate assumption was "spam", and I haven't been disappointed. In each case, there was little or no content, but rather a plethora of affiliate links and/or ads. Quite frankly, I have NEVER visited a keyword1-keyword2-keyword3-keyword4 domain and found a large amount of original, valuable content, a great discussion forum, or anything other than some keyword-loaded pages hoping to attract unsuspecting robots.

Now, I have visited only a tiny sampling of the total number of keyword-stuffed domains. But if my experience is true almost all the time, it seems likely that SEs could, in fact, use a keyword-stuffed, hyphenated domain as one indicator of a potential garbage site.

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 7579 posted 4:17 am on Dec 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

oilman wrote:

First off - what's wrong with the url being 3 or 10 keywords long? If it's relevant to what the surfer is searching for then leave it alone.

Yes, but that's likely to be a big "if." (See rogerd's reply). Take a pure and simple hotel booking site that wants to sell Shelbyville hotels. If it calls itself "shelbyville-hotels-motels-accommodations.com," that isn't deceptive. But if it calls itself "shelbyville-hotels-motels-accommodations-tourist-information-office-city-travel-guide.com," that is deceptive.

If I were running a search engine, I'd have seen enough spam to either (1) give very little weight to domain names or (2) flag any double-, triple-, quadruple-, or quintuple-hyphenated domain's pages for closer analysis.

jimh009

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7579 posted 8:19 am on Dec 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

Here's a question I've been pondering that hopefully some of you can help me with. What's the difference between a keyword stuffed domain (www.kw1-kw2-kw2.com) and file names with keywords in them (www.domainname.com/kw1_kw2/kw1_kw2_kw3.htm)

Reason I ask is that my domain name has no keywords in it - it was chosen for simplicity so users could remember it and because it fit in with my sites theme (12 characters in total). However, I have like 1500 files. So I named the files after what the page was about so I could remember which one was which. Would google consider a file that goes something like this spam? word1_word2_word3.htm

Note the underscores, too. Is there a difference between using underscores vs. using hyhens? I've used underscores in all my file names. Is this good or bad?

Thanks.

Jim

starec

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7579 posted 8:33 am on Dec 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

hang a sign saying "kick me I'm a spammer"

actually, kick-me-Im-a-spammer would get you better ranking;)

Anyway, I have a strong suspicion most of these domain names exist not because they help users, but because they help to rank higher.

Heini is very right, SEs need to adjust the algo so that the url plays a much lesser role. After all, users don't care about urls but about the content. To keep up the relevancy, SEs should do the same.

turk182

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7579 posted 8:52 am on Dec 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

ulstrup

[quote]Do you think the SE's, will start looking at these kinds of domains as spam?[quote]

In our sector (camaras digitales -digital cameras-) the use of keywords in domains, at present isn't spam, but an easy, cheap and fast way to "increase" your rankings among listings. I found it to unbalanced, because sites with PR of 4 - and worse content but not spam - surpass sites with PR of 6, that have good content.

I think the guys at Google should check their algo.

Marcia

WebmasterWorld Senior Member marcia us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7579 posted 9:51 am on Dec 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

Thank you, THANK YOU, jimh009!

Reason I ask is that my domain name has no keywords in it - it was chosen for simplicity so users could remember it and because it fit in with my sites theme(12 characters in total).

There couldn't be a better reason to choose a domain name, for someone who's in it for the long haul, who wants to build branding, name recognition and eventually rely on return traffic and repeat customers to a great extent. In other words - to build a substantial business.

There are so many issues that get so tiresome with the same old arguments over and over. But how many of us forget that everyone is coming from a different perspective? The creator of a huge content-driven site that then derives some affiliate income through its traffic is not the same as the small manufacturer with a small product line of consumer goods. Neither is either like the product-driven site that's affiliate-based and relies on consumer demand which may be temporal.

Like houses, sites can be built on a foundation of sand or of stone. When the winds of algorithms change, the ones built on sand will crumble. The ones who built them full well know it - or should know it - that that's the game they're in.

The sites built on a rock-solid foundation with company development, branding and longevity in mind will weather the storms, and end up standing in the long run.

BUT - and it's a big BUT - people really should stop judging everything from the limited view of their own narrow perspective. No one's way is necssarily *the* right way - different strokes for different folks; there's room for everyone, with over 3 billion pages indexed.

If people don't like the rules they shouldn't play. The professionals know it and understand it - and accept it. The amateurs whine, but they've got a lot to learn. The level of whining is what separates the men from the boys.

>>However, I have like 1500 files. So I named the files after what the page was about so I could remember which one was which. Would google consider a file that goes something like this spam? word1_word2_word3.htm

Google has some wonderful, terribly clever people working for them, a lot of whom have PhD's. They have cute graphics for holidays, they love their mothers, and they KNOW how to run a search engine. I personally don't believe that Google is half as concerned with people such as yourself naming pages according to what they're about as are the army of incessant whiners, who are generally rank amateurs who'd have a hard time with a listing if it were posted onto their refrigerator with a magnet, who think every site that's whupping them in the rankings is SPAM.

jackofalltrades



 
Msg#: 7579 posted 10:14 am on Dec 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

nice post marica! :)

Personally I believe if the SEs were to give less weight to keyword1-keyword2 domains then the quality of the results would be reduced.

Most people out here are churning out quite a few sites - just because keyword1-keyword2 domains are used, does that mean the content is of a lower value?

Also, there is no reason why a multiple keyword name cant be used as a brand name. Its descriptive of the service that is offered.

Ideally, google will most likely remove all importance of the domain name (if they havent already done). This keeps it fair.

The reason we are seeing lots of keyword1-keyword2 domains high in the listings, is because SEOs are buying these domains and churning out sites in order to make a quick buck or send traffic to another site. All the brand name domains are competing on different terms.

So are they spam?

No more than adding keywords into your content in order to optimise for a certain phrase.

JOAT ;)

Liane

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7579 posted 10:45 am on Dec 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hooray Marcia and Joat!

I am in the beginning stages of expanding my business. I thought long and hard about what I would call these two new companies prior to registering them as separate business entities. In other words, they are registered under my umbrella company for trade licence purposes, but listed as DBA (doing business as) companies.

I read almost every discussion about hyphenated domains prior to registering my new urls which are each hyphenated. One has 2 keywords and the other two have three keywords. These are legitimate company names.

Now here's the crux of the matter. I chose my new company names exactly the same way I chose my old ones. I have been in marketing and sales for 27 years. The first thing I learned about marketing is location, location, location. The second thing I learned is "identify, quantify, qualify".

If you are selling vacation rental properties in a specific region, then name your company in such a mannner that the consumer can easily identify what it is you sell!

Let's say you have villas for rent on the Colorado river.

Bad Company Name: Jerry's Slice of Heaven

Good Company name: Colorado Villa Rentals

I see absolutely nothing wrong with a domain name like www.colorado-villa-rentals.com

By the same token, there is nothing wrong with extentions such as www.colorado-villa-rentals.com/villa_photos.html, etc.

In fact, when I first started my web site, prior to hyphenated domains becoming available, I remember being annoyed that my company name (which I used for my url) was jammed together!

In fact, I think hyphenated domains serve the SE's purpose far better than the old www.mycompanynamesucks.com urls. It has to help them "identify, quantify and qualify" much more easily. In addition, your URL is your "location".

Jerry's slice of heaven ... bad location. Colorado villa rentals ... good location!

Just my humble opinion.

[edited by: Liane at 11:33 am (utc) on Dec. 10, 2002]

creative craig

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7579 posted 10:55 am on Dec 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

I am at the begining of the web design SEO ladder. I always thought it was what the end user wanted.. quality content and information... and of course at the cheapest price ;) not what the search engine wanted.

A search engine cant dictate what a surfer will visit, if they start doing that and results take a turn for the worse then the surfer will just tap in another web address of a search engine that will give them results that they are looking for

With out the hyphenated keyword domains I also think that the resluts would take turn for the worse.. of course IMHO

Craig

[edited by: creative_craig at 11:50 am (utc) on Dec. 10, 2002]

Henley

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7579 posted 11:17 am on Dec 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

Liane,
What you say just about sums it up!
Henley

Napoleon



 
Msg#: 7579 posted 11:45 am on Dec 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

At last a sort of majority concensus on this.

I have always used hyphonated domain names and always will, for the simple reason that my customers live in the real world. They are not paranoid about Google and ranking.

In the real world www.my-own-little-company-in-preston.com is a hell of a lot more memorable than www.myownlittlecompanyinpreston.com

I can advertise the former through traditional means... posters, side of vans, whatever... knowing it will stick. It isn't an SEO trick or spam in any way... it is a means of communicating the contents of the site in the real world.

If Google ever had a problem with such names it would surely be getting out of kilter with reality, and on the slippery slide.

Visit Thailand

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7579 posted 12:04 pm on Dec 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

What about the new ones?

I mean I just received an email from a new site that is called

widgetswidgets-co.com!

I have seen this before where you take a top (yet generic) name and add a hypthen then either ltd, co, or .com!

What do you guys think of that!

ulstrup

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 7579 posted 12:09 pm on Dec 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

I think there is a difference between domains where keywords are descriptive of the services offered by the website/company, and overdoing it.

1. hotel-rooms-salem.com is fine, it's descriptive and easy to remember, can be branded and is targeted on the service offered.

2. hotel-rooms-hotel-rooms-hotel-rooms-hotel-rooms-hotel-rooms-hotel-rooms.com is overdoing. It does not say anything hotel-rooms.com doesn't say, you can't remember it, very hard to brand.

The quantity of number 2 domains could flood the serps, and thus give users a bad experience.

This, ofcourse, is based on the assumption that number 2 domains don't have the same kind of quality information as do number 1 domains. This is often, but not allways, the case IMHO

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