2011 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.