Keywords in domains getting less value in Google #Algorithm

domain name2011 has been a busy year for Google. Faced with increasing criticism about the quality of its search results and the tactics publishers use in attempts to influence them, the world’s most prominent and widely-used search engine has taken aggressive steps to crack down on paid links and content farms.

But Google’s tweaks may go well beyond moves to reign in black and gray hat SEO tactics. In fact, it may be looking at core components of its algorithm altogether.

Case in point: according to Google’s Matt Cutts, Google is reconsidering the weight given to keyword domain names. As detailed by Aaron Wall at SEO Book, Cutts stated in a recent video posted to YouTube:

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 and 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.

Having a keyword rich domain name, of course, is a strategy that many have employed in a quest to reach the top of the SERPs. While keyword domain stuffing (a la the-most-popular-ebooks.com) has always been of highly questionable value, the notion that exact match domains assist developed sites is not new.

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Cookie bombs and fortune tellers

predictive modelThe heart and soul of marketing is targeting strategy, and when it comes to digital advertising, that strategy is increasingly data-driven and algorithm-based. Compared with traditional media, digital advertising has the advantages of targeting/personalization, precise performance metrics, and much greater flexibility in terms of reach and cost. These differences also spark two dramatically different views of advertising strategies like two dueling gunfighters in the Wild West.

In the east corner is the shotgun approach: let’s take advantage of the Web’s abundance of low-cost ad impressions and canvas the Web until we land on enough interested users to cover the cost. This is also known as cookie bombing.

In the west corner is the modern day sharpshooter: if the average response rate is around one basis point, only highly-targeted, well-placed ad messages can get the job done effectively. It’s a targeted approach with a well-researched plan (by strategically analyzing data to effectively drive performance), and no collateral damage.

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