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Searching for own domain-name.tld

10+ Year Member

Msg#: 4554963 posted 11:51 pm on Mar 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

Let's say my domain is widgetsarefun.tld and there is another massive brand site that's widgets.tld.

What does it mean if I search for my domain: widgetsarefun.tld in google, and my domain comes in 1st, but then, almost all the other results are showing the big brand site "widgets.tld"?

For example, my domain comes up 1st, but then I browse to page 3, and all the rest of the results are actually showing "widgets.tld" in page 1, 2, and 3, and not results from my site. Further out in pages 4, 5 and beyond, I see some more results from my domain.

Is this just big brand completely overpowering a little guy like me or is it something else? Like some sort of penalty? After each successive update our site gets almost no traffic from Google any more. This is a panda 1 site. =(

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 1:26 am (utc) on Mar 15, 2013]
[edit reason] changed .com to .tld [/edit]


Robert Charlton

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Msg#: 4554963 posted 1:45 am on Mar 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

peego - I've had to change your .com examples to .tld, because the dot coms are actually owned. We generally use example.com for this reason... it can never be owned... but in the case doing so would make it hard to answer your question.

To clarify several points about your question... the example you used in the thread title is hyphenated. The example you use in your post is not. Is your domain hyphenated? I ask because that would change how I'd answer your question.

Also, using example.com... what is the syntax of your search?... Eg, is this a site search, as in...


or is this a plain vanilla search for the domain name?...


It's normal that if you search just for the plain vanilla [example.com] on Google, you'll get your domain listed first, either with site links or several pages, then followed... not by other results from your domain... but from other pages on other domains which mention your domain. They might be review or rating sites, whois sites, blogs, etc.

For that kind of plain vanilla search, to not see your domain mentioned on other pages would be highly unusual.

Rather than fish around with all other possibilities, it would be helpful to have an examplified syntax of how you searched. I'm guessing that a plain vanilla search for a hyphenated domain containining "widgets" might also produce the widget.tld results you're describing.

You mention "domain:" in your post, suggesting maybe that's what you used, but there is no domain: operator in Google.


10+ Year Member

Msg#: 4554963 posted 2:00 am on Mar 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

Hi Robert, sorry for my confusing post. I'll try to clarify.

I did a plain vanilla search of our domain name with nothing else.

So in this case, I just typed:


We do show up 1st in the results, and then the next 20 results shows results from the big brand site:


There are no hyphens in the domain name. After page 2, on page 3 and deeper, we then see a few more results from our domain.

The thing is, you mentioned that the other results (not from my domain) will show because they might mention our domain, but in the results (all showing from the brand site) non of the results mention our domain at all. instead, you know how google bolds the searched keywords? In this case, they bold all the text showing the big brand site's name.

So all the text of widgets.tld are bolded, almost as if google is assuming that's what we searched for, instead of widgetsarefun.tld. Then on deeper pages (3+) it shows results that contain our domain name mixed with other results showing a bit more variety.


10+ Year Member

Msg#: 4554963 posted 2:06 am on Mar 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'm just wondering is this because that's such a strong brand that Google is sort of assuming that the searcher (me in this case) is searching for that big brand name instead of my actual domain name. Because after about 3 pages into the results, then I see all the results actually contain our domain name - unlike the results in 1st 2 pages which shows only the big brand name results that contain no mention of us.

Strangely, if I do a search without the ending .tld, so I just search:


then all the results seem quite normal, where all the results contain our domain name, and I don't see any results from the big brand name site.


Msg#: 4554963 posted 2:22 am on Mar 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

How old is your site?

Robert Charlton

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Msg#: 4554963 posted 2:29 am on Mar 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

One interpretation is that it might be a glitch in the updating of multiple databases.

Another is that widgetsarefun.tld has such weak backlinks, or is so infrequently searched, or both... that Google might assume it's simply not of interest and might even be a kind of typo in relation to this particular query.

What you describe reminds me of the very agressive spelling correction we had around the launch of the MayDay algorithm... where if a phrase spelling was statistically weak enough (ie, infrequently occurring or infrequently searched, or both) in comparison to a frequently-used word combination, Google would identify it as a probable typo.

What you're seeing might be a similar example of how Google is treating searches that are statistically overwhelmed by something similar... using a different serp ordering for disambiguation (instead of a "did you mean" flag). See my comments in several posts on this thread...

A Red "Did you mean: ____" Shows in Google Drop Down Suggestion
Jul 28, 2010
http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4178034.htm [webmasterworld.com]

This could well be an analogous situation. How long has this been happening?

PS: To expand on Sand's question, which I see as I'm posting, I'm thinking this might relate either to the age of the site, or perhaps to the particular type of indexing that Google might be rolling out with the Everflux Panda style of updates. (I have no precise thoughts about what this might be, but, if this is a recent observation, then something in my gut says there's a relationship).


10+ Year Member

Msg#: 4554963 posted 2:49 am on Mar 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

our site is actually really old, about 12 years now, and wmt shows we have 60k links. So I don't think it's because of weak backlinks. I did maybe a handful of link exchanges wayyyy back in early 2000's but did nothing of that sort since. We WERE a fairly big site until panda 1, but not any more. I really don't know what to make of it.

I believe it must've been this way for many months now. I can't remember. I don't spent a whole lot of time on monitoring my site, or on seo, so I don't really know for sure.


10+ Year Member

Msg#: 4554963 posted 2:58 am on Mar 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

btw, our traffic had dropped basically with each panda, but recently, it took 3 big hits, each time around 30-50% drop. 1st was around early Dec (I think around dec 3rd or 4th? 2012), the 2nd hit was around maybe in feb? (i can't remember), and then another one seems like today. I don't know if this is just form regular updates or if its related to the domain thing mentioned.

Robert Charlton

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Msg#: 4554963 posted 3:15 am on Mar 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

I was too quick to specify backlinks. Yes, Panda 1 would have more to do with it, and that would be about content.

I'm wishing you had a more precise handle on when this particular search result started popping up. As it is, I'd relate it to what was discussed in this thread...

Host Crowding vs Brand Authority
http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4464096.htm [webmasterworld.com]

Over time, I've seen this "brand authority" effect shift more toward long tail and infrequently-searched queries. As I've mentioned elsewhere, it appears that as Google is getting enough data on the early pages to make granular choices for common queries, it's making adjustments. I'm seeing same-domain results now more for deeper pages in the serps and for uncommon queries.

This I take to be Google's linear ordering in multiple results pages of how it's regarding the likelihood that a searcher who is searching for your domain would be satisfied with your domain as opposed to the big brand site "widgets.tld". It's a statistical choice... similar to Universal results, eg... where Google needs to bring into one sequence different types of results.

PS: I should probably add that in terms of display choices as we're discussing here, weak linking and Panda are likely to be statistically equivalent. They are results that Google simply feels aren't as likely to provide searcher satisfaction.

What are you doing to fix your site?

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