Mar 31

Branding vs. Keyword Rich Domain Names – Which Does Google Prefer?

When it comes to picking a domain name most webmasters are in a dilemma of whether to choose a keyword rich domain name that will get better rankings on Google or a branded domain name that is more likely to get more visitors to the site and be easier to remember.

In recent times Google has been putting more emphasis on brand names over keyword rich domains which has led to the widespread presence of various branded online business at top positions on the search result pages even if they did not meet all the SEO guidelines. Though Google has always denied such favoritism, their criteria to assess the relevancy of any site are constantly changing to keep away spammers, gamers, and black-hated sites and Google is now adopting more novel signals to help them improve their page ranking system.

A recent video by Google’s Matt Cutts explains the situation further. Matt emphasizes that Google is ready to experiment mixing up the old and new signals in their algorithm and see its impact on the evaluation of a website.

Google has been looking at using more robust signals like link authority, page rank, and keyword-rich domains over the traditional signals like on-page optimization, link anchor text, domain names, meta-tags and meta-description. However, we can’t forget about parameters like branding, social networking, reviews, and personalization – they seem to be getting more attention from Google in analyzing the credibility of a site. Continue reading

Mar 22

Has SEO Peaked?

Richard J. Tofel at Nieman Lab posted an interesting article, saying that, “someday, the sun will set on SEO,” and that “the business of news will be better for it.”

Will the sun set on SEO? 

To sum up a lengthy post (at least my interpretation of it), the point Tofel makes is that publishers are abusing search to get views (nothing new there), and the news industry is suffering for it, but with Google taking stronger action, SEO tactics might fall by the wayside.

He does make some interesting points. For example, “The Huffington Post/AOL deal may mark something of a watershed in this progression,” he writes. “Much of the $300-million-plus in value HuffPo has built has been in playing very smartly by the SEO rules of the first decade of this century. But if it is true that most entrepreneurs sell out near the top, and it is, then perhaps we have just been sent a signal by one of its masters that the dark arts of SEO have peaked and that the century’s second decade will see them fade, perhaps into near nothingness by the third decade. In other words, it seems increasingly likely that, when the history of this era is written, SEO will turn out to have been a transitional phenomenon.”

He also refers to Google’s recent crackdown (Panda update) on low quality content as a “small step in an inevitable direction, with the direction being the sunset of SEO.” Continue reading