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Domains with dashes filtered out of results?

Anyone else notice this?

   
6:22 pm on Dec 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



After researching this Google update every day, wondering what happened to my website for the kw phrase "widget law", I noticed that the new filtered results don't show sites containing dashes in their domains. One of my domains has a dash in it, and I was wondering if that could be why my site disappeared for "widget law"? I can't find any other reason why my site would be gone, while my competitors still remain. Anyone else find similar results?
7:39 pm on Dec 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



For a couple of key phrases I watch, this would seem to be the case. I see on average 1-2 sites with dashes in the domain name on the first 2 pages of SERPs, after page 3 there seem to be more.

Could it be a coincedence?

7:50 pm on Dec 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Ever since the original Florida update, my

keyword-keyword2-keyword3.com

site has been gone, although maintains EXCELLENT rankings in MSN/Ink

8:15 pm on Dec 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jimbeetle is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



No, Google has not filtered domains with dashes out of the results.

Coincidence? Most probably. You can't look at one search and apply that as the cause and effect of everything Google. Do many different searches and see if your hypothesis holds up.

Florida's effects were enough to give everybody agita and more than account for the absence of a specific site in the current SERPs for specific search terms.

8:18 pm on Dec 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Hi,

I don't think it is just those with dashes I think it is also those with one of the terms in the domain name.

So say your domain name is widgetology.com and someone searches for < widget study > then I'm not seeing any domains with the word widget anywhere in the word that forms the domain name even without dashes.

My case may be a special example because my domain name and other similar company ones in the UK includes a word for which the strongest link in the US is a model brand name or trademark. This may be being affected because a US English Ontology is being used.

An Ontology is a special kind of dictionary map that describes the links between words, synonyms of words etc.

At the moment I don't know how widespread this problem of forcing US definitions of English is but hopefully it will be wider than my small niche and a backlash will come in the New Year from users unhappy with results. I'm thinking of starting an email campaign asking everyone I know to email 10 people to tell them and asking them to tell 10 more people in a pyramid selling model at seven levels everyone in the UK with an email address knows about it.

Best wishes

Sid

9:05 pm on Dec 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



people who register keyword1-keyword2-keyword3-... domains a are probably SEOs, so they get kick off.

It is conincidence. Nothing to do with the domain name.

9:14 pm on Dec 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



what about a combination of
1)KW1-KW2... in Domain.
2)KW1-KW2... in anchor text of majorly all incoming Links.
3)KW1-KW2... in title and h1
4)KW1-KW2... having high density in content

Cant this be caught easily... and in 70% cases it would be a black hat SEO for GG.
;-)

9:25 pm on Dec 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I've got a commercial kw1-kw2.com page that's #3 on a search for kw1 kw2. About the same as before Florida-- never dropped. Incoming links anchor text is mostly kw1 kw2, or (business name) kw1 kw2. Kw1 and kw2 are in title, and description, but NOT mentioned in any on-page text. FWIW-
9:28 pm on Dec 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sem4u is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



A LOT of them have been demoted. Try any specific travel query. Many affiliate sites are no longer on the first few pages.
9:39 pm on Dec 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



For my site kw1-kw2.com, only kw1 is part of the kw phrase I am no longer listed for, "kw1 kw3", so why would I be penalized for my domain? Almost all the top domains listed for this kw phrase include the entire phrase "kw1 kw3" in their domains (but no dashes). Just doesn't make sense.
9:39 pm on Dec 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jimbeetle is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



what about a combination of
1)KW1-KW2... in Domain.
2)KW1-KW2... in anchor text of majorly all incoming Links.
3)KW1-KW2... in title and h1
4)KW1-KW2... having high density in content
Cant this be caught easily...

Sure, that's basic keyword density, which Florida and its whatever you want to call it, commercial filter or OOP, supposedly put increased emphasis on.

it would be a black hat SEO

Nope, not black hat, just white hats gone astray.

So, back on topic. As sblake pointed out, there are dashed domains showing up in the SERPs.

A LOT of them have been demoted

So did a whole big bunch of other sights without dashes in the domains. Dashed domains themselves were not filtered out of the SERPs.

9:47 pm on Dec 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I'm a regular reader but rare poster on these forums and have learnt an incredible amount from you all. I am truly grateful for this.

I've been reading through some of the recent posts on using hyphens in domain names. I am about to get another domain to catch the traffic my site is not pulling in.

Now that the issue of hyphens has reared its ugly head once more, the question is this: is kw1kw2.com or kw1-kw2.com better in terms of staying in G?

A search for kw1 kw2 gives the same results as the search results for kw1-kw2, while the results for the search kw1kw2 and kw1_kw2 only return results containing the words in the url string. Logically I would choose kw1-kw2.com but if my site won't stick . . .

If the hyphen is in fact being penalised, it would be better to avoid it. My site has underscores in the urls and ranks very well (#1 - #5) for most of my kw1 kw2 phrases in an uncompetitive search despite low PR. Florida had no effect on any of my pages in the serps.

10:10 pm on Dec 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jimbeetle is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



If the hyphen is in fact being penalised

There is absolutley no evidence that a domain name with a hyphen in it is being penalized, filtered or anything else in and of itself.

Do some more reading about the Florida update, maybe someplace else besides WW. Search Google for:

florida update -site:www.webmasterworld.com

Start at the top and work your way down (Of course, skip over the update of the florida civil war rosters, etc.). There are a few good articles in there, as well as a nifty chart that looks kind of authoritative (Keep in mind that you can make any authoritative when you put it on a chart).

As you read you'll see how the effects of the "commercial filter" can mimic a penalty on dashed domains or other domains with keywords as part of their names. But it isn't the keyowords or dashes in the domain alone that are mucking things up.

That's much, much too simple for Google or any SE. None would use a 1st grade algorithm to deliver supposedly relevant results.

10:37 pm on Dec 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member bigdave is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Cynically, I think it's just because the corporate site doesn't say 'buy here', 'special offer' etc.

I can tell you with absolute certainty that the Florida filter did not only target sites like that. Informational pages got bumped from searches where the filter was set on high too.

I do have my own theories about how the Florida Filter worked, But I quite honestly don't really want to get into that discussion on WW, because as soon as a thread starts getting into that, the S/N ratio drops beyond the level where I am willing to participate.

10:38 pm on Dec 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Well, did anyone look at the site? It's hardly keyword rich. I don't think that is evidence for anything.
10:41 pm on Dec 23, 2003 (gmt 0)



Informational pages got bumped from searches where the filter was set on high too.

I'd love to see an example where one went from top ten to 'top 1000th' - can you provide one?

10:45 pm on Dec 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member bigdave is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



One thing that just occured to me is that H-D, while appearing to be optimized in a few of the basic ways, such as title and anchor text, it is not optimized in many other ways. Why should it be?

They really have no need to worry about their position in the SERPs. If the were removed from Google completely, I doubt that their sales would drop by a single bike. They simply do not care if their site is googlebot friendly.

[edited by: BigDave at 11:00 pm (utc) on Dec. 23, 2003]

11:16 pm on Dec 23, 2003 (gmt 0)



Well, did anyone look at the site? It's hardly keyword rich. I don't think that is evidence for anything.

Quite the contrary, I think it supports several earlier suggestions.

One of which is that if a site doesn't look too commercial, it has a better chance of ranking very highy.

Commercial sites are required to use repetition - even if they're not deliberately stuffing. If you sell 1000 varieties of widgets - it's blo*dy difficult not to mention widgets all over the place!

11:21 pm on Dec 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member rcjordan is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



A quick search in a spammed-out category turns up a 3-hypen site at slot 30 out of over 6 million. There is a noticeable number of multi-hyphen domains missing, but I suspect they were probably just nailed in the sweep.
11:23 pm on Dec 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Dont think the dashes have anything to do with it. Though I HATE keyword-keyword-keyword domains, we watch a few sites that use dashes and they are all un-affected thus far.
11:26 pm on Dec 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator bakedjake is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



I'm with rc on this - I don't have any credible evidence that there is any sort of filter being applied to hyphenated domains. It's probably a coincidence with the sweep.
11:27 pm on Dec 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Based on their on-page factors, H-D doesn't "deserve" to be anywhere, hyphens or no hyphens. Truth be known, their site (unlike their bikes, no doubt) is, technically, pretty gruesome, especially the one that appears at #1.
11:35 pm on Dec 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member bigdave is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Based on their on-page factors, H-D doesn't "deserve" to be anywhere, hyphens or no hyphens. Truth be known, their site (unlike their bikes, no doubt) is, technically, pretty gruesome, especially the one that appears at #1.

Then I guess we have to give google credit for doing something right in this case. H-D is the most relevant site for that search, whether or not it meets the guidelines of the average SEO for a quality site.

12:10 am on Dec 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Most of the k1-k2-k3.com domains had a high keyword density.
I doubt the hyphens themselves had anything to do with the massacre. More likely just fell short to the new tolerance levels because they had aggressive SEO.
12:39 am on Dec 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



No! Dashes are in for my market I see 2 of the top 10 with dashes in there domain.
1:04 am on Dec 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Well, just to throw some more wood into the fire here, my kw1-kw2-kw3 site got sent to oblivion from the number 2 spot it held for nearly a year.

A search for kw1 kw3 brings it back.
A search for kw2 kw3 brings it back.
A search for kw1 kw2 kw3 and 2 more common words brings it back.

kw1 kw2 k3 are in title, anchor text and are high density on index page.
To me this is proof of a filter once you pass a threshold.

I'm not a tech guy here but it would seem to me that the easiest way to implement this filter would be to assign *points* to certain areas of a page like title, h1, domain name etc.
Once your accumulated points exceeds the threshold level then you trigger the filter.

Most likely there is also a point system working in your favor at the same time, like PR.
Then again, PR might be both good and bad depending on whether the linking sites are seen as relevant and sharing a common theme.

2:02 am on Dec 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I know a site with nine hyphenated words in the domain. I searched for all nine words at once. The site came up #5. All results above it and the three directly below it were also hyphenated domains.

Someone please correct me if I'm wrong but it seems safe to make these basic assumptions:

1. Hyphenated domains are not penalized. They can actually help, especially in backlinks.

2. Non-hyphenated brand names look better to humans. Appearances don't mean much, though, if the site is #999 in the SERPs.

I think Harley Davidson was smart to use a hyphenated domain, since it's unlikely that people would search for "hd". Besides, someone beat them to hd.com. :)

2:59 am on Dec 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member caveman is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Nooooooo, they're not being filtered, and GG flat out said so early in the FL threads.

More often than not (though be NO MEANS always), sites with hyphens are also optimized...aggressively so, perhaps. As such, it's not surprising that they might fall in greater numbers since Florida.

Could the hyphenated keywords that appear in domains contribute to an overall score that counts against OOP? Doubtful, very doubtful.

Paranoia runs deep right now, but understandable, I suppose. Wait, what was that sound...? ;-)

3:45 am on Dec 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member bigdave is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



I think Harley Davidson was smart to use a hyphenated domain,

They went with harley-davidson.com because their name is Harley-Davidson, not Harley Davidson. Their actual name includes a hyphen.

3:56 am on Dec 24, 2003 (gmt 0)



I think we can very safely say that domains with dashes are not filtered out. Why would Google even want to do this?
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