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Bing: domains just not that relevant to SEO

Kevin Murphy, January 20, 2014, 12:14:53 (UTC), Domain Tech

Anyone who thinks that having a exact-match keyword domain automatically promotes their web site to the top of search results is in for a rude awakening, according to a top guy at Bing.

In a blog post, Bing senior product manager Duane Forrester tried to debunk the “myth… That merely having a popular keyword in the domain will help that site, regardless of content, rank on the high volume keyword”.

Forrester wrote:

Ranking today is a result of so many signals fed into the system the words used in a domain send less and less information into the stack as a percentage of overall decision making signals.

There are no shortcuts. Even the new generic top level domains (gTLDs) coming out near the end of February will be treated in this manner. Domain spamming isn’t new, so sites that provide value, are relevant and that people like will rank as usual. They won’t rank “just because” they have certain words in them, and thinking that keyword stuffing a domain (think: cars.cars) will give you an edge is dangerous.

Forrester’s post is not a condemnation of keyword domains, however. He does not deny that the domain is one factor Bing takes into account in rankings, albeit one of very many.

Rather, it seems he’s trying to point out that it’s possible to get decent search traffic even when your domain has nothing to do with your content (he gives satire site The Onion as an example).

His overall message is that creating good content is the way to get good SEO, something that will come as absolutely no surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention to the pronouncements of search engine companies for the last several years.

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Comments (4)

  1. I have never made a link between a domain and a Google or Search ranking. I give it zero weight in the scheme of things.

    Any free search traffic is just a bonus. A domain’s value is for consumers to know who you are, remember you and your location, it is easy to advertise on all the mediums and easy to tell others about.

    The key is to be a “Destination of Relevance” not a Keyword with a bag of smoke behind it.

  2. Robin says:

    Listening to search engine people would make you think that search is the only way to drive traffic to a site. Building a business on a search strategy is the ultimate short sighted approach especially when you have no control over the whims of the search companies. Build something that people want and the search engines will come to you.

  3. Blippitt says:

    @Robin, You make an excellent point. In our infancy, we relied heavily on search traffic. Since that time, we’ve learned to stop trying to keep up with algorithm changes and the whims of search engines. Building up a loyal social following is a much better way to build a sustainable, long-term business.

  4. Good promo for a Bing product manager (Matt C style). The message is not new.

    If you jump back to the 90’s before Google (BG) – it was all about domains.

    Sure they are a factor, especially when advertising in Adwords etc… they help increase click through. They are not “the be all and end all of existence”.

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