Tag Archives: search engine optimisation

Domain Name Keywords Do Not Increase Search Ranking: John Mueller

Do you need to include keywords in your domain name? The answer is no. That’s according to Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller who addressed the issue in a recent Google Webmasters where Mueller was specifically asked “Does a .jobs domain help rank for ‘jobs’?” Mueller says it’s more important to build up a website with quality content than focus on a domain name with a keyword.

Continue reading Domain Name Keywords Do Not Increase Search Ranking: John Mueller

US Case Study Finds New gTLDs Can Benefit When It Comes To Search Rankings

Moving to a new gTLD can have a significant benefit when it comes to search engine rankings, a study conducted on behalf of Search Engine Land has found.In their study Globe Runner, a Search Engine Optimisation firm, observed “Jacksonville.ATTORNEY, a domain registered by Eric Block, a personal injury attorney in Jacksonville, FL. Eric’s migration from EricBlockLaw.com in March of 2015 was a great opportunity to observe domain metrics before and after the switch. What Globe Runner discovered is that moving to a new TLD very likely contributed to Eric’s site appearing at the top of many search results.”The report went on to say “this result is big news for SEO, particularly in the highly competitive and expensive world of online marketing for the legal industry. For lawyers, the cost of promoting their web presence is rising rapidly, with 78 of Google’s 100 most expensive keywords related to legal services. Searches for lawyers can be highly segmented by specialty and geographic location, yet many firms still spend hundreds of dollars per click in paid SEM campaigns.”The report outlines an example of costs for various search terms, which totalled 540 searches per month totalling $91,279.87, yet these “PPC campaigns yielding middling returns.” So rather than spend money on PPC, they “switched to a new domain, listed the domain with legal referral services and relaunched the site with a new design and content strategy.”Following the change “within months, Jacksonville.ATTORNEY was sitting at or near the top of organic search results for some highly competitive keywords, ranking as high as the first overall match for terms like ‘Jacksonville attorney’ and ‘Jacksonville attorneys.’ This was a welcome change from EricBlockLaw.com, which often ranked several pages down, if they ranked at all.””Since the switch, Globe Runner estimated that the site generates the organic equivalent of $6,400 per month in 333 Google keyword phrases. Many of these searches don’t even include ‘Jacksonville’ as a term, as Google’s results can already account for the location of the user performing the search.”The report is available from the Globe Runner site for free from:
https://cdn5.globerunner.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Jacksonville-Attorney-FINAL.pdfThe Search Engine Land article is available from:

Daily Wrap: New gTLDs and SEO Benefits, .SWISS Update And ICANN Blog Public Comments

CARS AUTO gTLD logoWhether new gTLDs provide a benefit when it comes to Search Engine Optimisation has been a subject of debate. “Many in the SEO community debunk the myths that the new domain extensions will have any impact on SEO status, others have proven otherwise.”

Jennifer Wolfe is something of an expert on such issues and spoke to Daniel Negari, the CEO of .XYZ. Negari of course has a vested interest as his company not only operates .xyz but also other gTLDs such as .cars, which will have a registration fee of around $2,500 to $3,000.

The article gives a case study for a boutique supercar manufacturer in Southern California that following its transition to a .cars domain now ranks number one organically in Google and Bing search results, which means they don’t have to buy ads for that premium placement.

“It is paramount for us to ensure a clean and secure namespace in .CARS,” Negari told Wolfe. “We are implementing security scans and monitoring to prevent cybersquatting, phishing, or other malicious activities by bad actors. By doing this we provide a clear signal to internet users and to Google’s search algorithm to trust the .CARS top level domain. This aligns perfectly with all companies within the automotive industry to further their digital marketing efforts.”Dot SWISS logo

The Sunrise phase for .swiss domains ended on 9 November and over 8,000 applications for the gTLD were received [German]. All applications will now be checked for eligibility over the next three weeks with the first decisions on successful applications to be made in December.

The second phase for applications, General Availability, will begin on 11 January 2016. Applications may relate to any type of name, in so far as it originates from a public or private entity which has a base and an actual administrative site in Switzerland. The name which is applied for must have a link with the applicant.

ICANN opened their blog to public comments on Friday. And it was immediately subject to posts from Graham Schreiber, who Domain Incite reports unsuccessfully sued them back in 2012 and has not stopped his tirade against them in social media ever since.

Highly relevant domain names worth “thousands of keywords” in Google search: study

Sydney gTLD plain logoA comprehensive study of the top 30 Google search results across 10,000 keywords has found the importance of keywords in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is decreasing, while short and highly relevant domain names have the equivalent worth of “thousands of keywords in the rankings”.

The study by Searchmetrics – one of the world’s leading SEO companies – suggests highly relevant content, social media signals and good domain names are among the most important factors in attaining a high ranking in Google search results.

The researchers say domain names are an important factor in search results and the study suggests domains with high SEO visibility also obtain higher rankings.

“The correlation between the URLs and Searchmetrics SEO Visibility Score of the entire domain is high. This means that success in search and content is also a domain based factor. The majority of analyzed URLs are part of successful domains that generally gain high rankings with large numbers of landing pages.”

Searchmetrics also found the highest ranking domain names are shorter, with the first search result position reserved for the shortest domain names, often where homepages rank most often.

While Google has stated it does not use social signals (such as the number of tweets or Facebook likes) as a direct ranking factor, the results of the study indicate the highest ranked domain names have more social cues than those sites further down the ranks.

The researchers suggest that social signals definitely play a role in direct traffic, brand awareness, and the overall online performance of a domain name. They say that good content performs better on social networks – and search engines want to recognise and display good, relevant and up-to-date content.

These findings bode well for the introduction of new Top-Level Domains like .melbourne, .sydney and .nyc, where registrants have the opportunity to register shorter, more relevant domain names with greater availability of the most popular terms.

Although there was no direct mention of new Top-Level Domains in the study, Searchmetrics has previously examined the impact of new domains using real world data on .berlin domain names.

Searchmetrics found .berlin domains consistently performed better than the same domains under the German .de Top-Level Domain or the ubiquitous .com, when searching for local content in Berlin. In fact in 42 percent of search queries, .berlin domain names were found to achieve a higher ranking.

Importantly, Searchmetrics found that on average .berlin domain names achieved a local ranking advantage of 1.18 positions higher.

This result, combined with the advantages delivered by relevant content, strong social media signals and good domain names, means a new Top-Level Domain name under the likes of .melbourne, .sydney and .nyc could be a powerful tool for achieving a higher search ranking.

This article was sourced with permission from the iconic.sydney website from here: iconic.sydney/media-release/highly-relevant-domain-names-worth-thousands-of-keywords-in-google-search-study/

Google targets multiple domain names in next search algorithm update

Sydney gTLD plain logoGoogle announced this week it will soon implement a change to its search algorithm to penalise websites that use ‘doorway pages’ and multiple domain names to increase their rank in search results.

In summary, this means businesses that use keywords to rank similar content on multiple domain names or pages under one domain will be penalised.

This is a major update from Google and will have huge implications for domain name and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategies.

Savvy businesses needn’t fear, however. If you are using new Top-Level Domains like .melbourne and .sydney, there are some simple steps you can take to ensure your website has the best possible chance to rank highly in search results.

What’s changing?

Google described the new changes as an attempt to penalise sites that “try to maximize their ‘search footprint’ without adding clear, unique value”.

Sites utilising this technique are often referred to as ‘doorway pages’, which Google classify negatively based on their impact on end users:

They are bad for users because they can lead to multiple similar pages in user search results, where each result ends up taking the user to essentially the same destination. They can also lead users to intermediate pages that are not as useful as the final destination.

What doorway pages look like

SEO expert Jim Stewart, speaking in a video blog about this latest Google update demonstrates how doorway pages are often used by businesses.

Using the example of ‘Freddy’s Skip Bin Hire’, Mr Stewart explains that the company has built several web pages under various suburb names and essentially replicated the content on each, replacing the location name. This has led them to create almost identical sites such as ‘Skip Bin Hire Waverley’ and ‘Skip Bin Hire Earlwood’.

Using this technique to essentially ‘trick’ Google into ranking your site is the type of strategy that will be targeted by this update, as Mr Stewart explains.

“If your site has created pages purely to rank for a particular key phrase… the chances are you could be smashed by this update.”

Will .sydney and .melbourne domains be penalised?

There is an extensive list of factors that impact a website’s SEO ranking. As Mr Stewart explained in an interview with AusRegistry last year, domain names are one of “over 200 signals” that determine your rank in search results, but by no means the deciding factor.

“There’s a lot of misinformation about the importance of domain names in search. There’s no doubt that if you can get a domain name with a good key word in it, you’ve got a good chance of ranking better than someone that doesn’t, but it’s only one signal.”

A major factor that can and does heavily influence search ranking is content. Using local domains such as .melbourne and .sydney solely to rank for your business in Melbourne and Sydney is not enough – local domains offer an opportunity to create valuable, localised content targeted to a particular geographic audience.

As Mr Stewart describes, “Google wants to makes sure it only displays results that are going to be relevant to the search done by the user.”

Meaningful content, he explains is the best way to ensure Google takes notice of your site.

“This obviously gives your site more content that Google can rank, but Google can also see that your site is active and updated frequently. In terms of ranking, Google sees sites like these as ‘worthy’ of sending its users to.”

Can you still register multiple domain names?

This latest change for Google could mean a real shake-up of search rankings for those trying to ‘beat the system’ and use doorway pages to boost their traffic.

The key factor now will be value to the user – if you can offer meaningful and relevant content across each of your domain names, there should be nothing to fear from this update. Local domain names can still provide a dedicated portal for content that is targeted to a local audience and therefore “worthy” of Google’s attention.


5 steps to avoid being penalised by Google’s search update

  1. Use your .melbourne and .sydney domain names to offer localised content and valuable information for those in Melbourne and Sydney.
  2. Find and update pages on your website with duplicated content – or prepare to see their search rankings suffer.
  3. Build a content strategy that will ensure your sites remain up to date and are frequently being populated with current, relevant information.
  4. As Jim Stewart suggests; “look at what the number one result is doing, and do it better”. Consider what value your competitors are offering and up the ante.
  5. Don’t be afraid of registering multiple domain names. Holding a portfolio of domains is not a search sin – just be sure you are using them to add value, rather than trying to trick Google.

For more detail on how you can use .melbourne and .sydney domains to add value to local customers, read ‘How to use a local domain for your brand’.

This article was sourced with permission from ARI Registry Services. The article originally appeared at iconic.sydney/media-release/google-targets-multiple-domain-names-in-next-search-algorithm-update/


Domain Pulse 2015: New gTLDs Can Be Beneficial in Search, But Content Remains the Key

At the Domain Pulse conference in Berlin last month, Martin Scholz gave a presentation on how new gTLDs can be advantageous for business.Scholz, from Searchmetrics who specialise in SEO content marketing analysis, explained how there can be advantages for registrants using new gTLDs. While using a good .com or ccTLD domain is likely to be the best option for a brand owner to get a high search ranking, not everyone is able to get one.So a small business might find that they can get a more targeted .london or .berlin domain that will be advantageous. Searchmetrics, Scholz said, had found there are advantages with a .berlin domain for local Berlin businesses. They found .berlin domains rank higher than .de domains in local search results for searches relating to the German capital.The example Scholz gave was that if a business has well a performing domain, like visitberlin.de, the example he used, then there is not really a need to move the domain to a gTLD. But not everyone has a well-performing domain so for some it may be on their list to work on their domain anyway. And if so, they can think about getting a ‘better’ domain that is more suited for their business – if it’s located in Berlin, it may – but it doesn’t have to – be an option to choose a .berlin domain.User behaviour will also play a part. On a simplified level one could say: the more internet users click on a link, the higher a website ranks. Of course, there are other metrics like bounce rate and time-on-site that have a huge influence. So generally, if internet users start thinking, as in the example used by Scholz, that a .berlin domain is more relevant for them than a .de domain and they click on it more often, and they stay on the website and interact with the content, then this will affect the ranking by search engines such as Google and Bing.But Scholz concluded, the main focus of webmasters should not be the kind of TLD they use, but rather have relevant content for their users.More information on happenings at Domain Pulse are in the DENIC new release below:Organizer DENIC welcomes Peter Schaar, MP Christian Flisek and experts of the industry to topical Internet policy debates
Is there any way in the age of web 2.0 to avoid digital disgrace and to safely protect one’s reputation? Have large commercial online services like Google and Facebook become so powerful that regulation is necessary and useful? Is it possible? How can users gain control of their online communication infrastructure? Which opportunities offer new approaches like transparent algorithms, open standards or interoperability? Must governments step in and protect the general public against the monopolists in the net? What measures could be applied and how realistic is their enforceability? Did the launch of new Internet address endings, like .hamburg, .bio or .bmw, actually initiate a “revolution” of the web as promised by their operators? Did they meet the users’ expectations?Under the motto “Net-in-motion”, the twelfth specialist conference Domain pulse, which was held in Berlin on 26 and 27 February, provided interesting statements, forecasts and answers to these and other highly topical issues. More than 350 visitors listened to the lectures and international-expert panel discussions that have made the largest annual congress about topics and trends of the Internet domain sector an established meeting of the industry in the German-speaking territory. The two-day event is staged annually in turns by the registries managing the country code Top Level domains of Austria (nic.at), of Switzerland and Liechtenstein (SWITCH), and by DENIC, the operator of the German country code TLD .de, who is hosting this year’s conference.Control loss and control attempts in the digital ageAt the start of the conference on 26 February, keynote speaker Prof. Dr. Bernhard Pörksen from Tübingen University, one of the most renowned communication experts internationally, explained the basic principles of reputation management. With numerous witty case examples, he vividly demonstrated how the reputation of private individuals, companies or political entities can be “steered” in no time today. He strongly recommends everybody – individuals as well as companies or institutions – to have a media strategy for the digital age. “Today’s interactive media provide unprecedented possibilities for scandalization. Somebody feeling like taking umbrage already is sufficient – the only other thing this person needs is an audience,” warned Pörksen, and closed with some action recommendations for all of us.Digital heavyweights and society: Regulation or laissez-faire?A hot verbal battle on the topic “Digital heavyweights and society: Regulation or laissez-faire?” fought Peter Schaar, former Federal German Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, and Thomas Knüwer, founder of the digital consultancy kpunktnull, and made their statements how to deal with the extensive power of today’s international Internet enterprises like Google and Facebook, whose monopolist status creates totality instead of plurality. The experts agreed that the lock-in effects resulting from the non-interoperability of the social networks, strengthened the position of the monopolists even further. They did not agree, however, how to assess this phenomenon.Knüwer considers the current discussion that generally suspects all Internet companies of hoarding data for unlawful purposes as exaggerated. From the users’ point of view, so his opinion, a multitude of social networks is not useful because they do not allow cross-network communication. For him, the Big Brother question must rather be asked in relation with public institutions, who attempt to legitimate blanket data retention with their crime prevention or short pre-crime approach.Peter Schaar, in contrast, sees an urgent need for government regulation, given the oppressive dominance of the Internet monopolists, who acquire competitors on a large scale and extract user data from various services to combine and personalize them in detail. In his opinion, the legislator has to ensure user autonomy for certain services by making algorithms more transparent and standards more open. Moreover, the current competition and cartel law must be enhanced. A new definition of monopoles taking into consideration both the user’s side as well as the impacts of search machines and social networks on the advertising market is overdue.Criticized in the discussion also was the rather unsatisfactory approach from the political side in Germany. Different from other countries like the USA, there were hardly any politicians in Germany with a clear opinion on Internet matters. Neither was there a real discussion about the digital society we would like to have in the future. Apparently, German politicians were unable to properly handle the topic and competence-building measures, also for creating greater awareness of the wider public, the order of the day, so the opinion of the panelist.
Internet Governance: The cards are being reshuffled – Pitfalls and desiresAlso the second day of the Domain pulse was dedicated to Internet policy. One of the central topics was the general climate in the context of Internet Governance: What is left of the NETmundial conference of 2014 in Brazil, in which (multi-)stakeholders from all fields including politics, economy, technical community and civil society have been involved? Which issues should be followed up? What about the NETmundial Initiative (NMI), which is strongly driven by the World Economic Forum? Is it a useful follow-up platform of the NETmundial? Does it compete with the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), as some rumours say? And what about the IGF? Is the extension of the mandate by the UNO safely wrapped up? How stable is the institution? What will a multistakeholder organization without the be like “shadow of the state”? A situation awaiting us when the transition of the stewardship function of basicInternet resources currently held by the USA, the so-called IANA transition, takes place as planned in September 2015. Do we need a controlling entity outside of ICANN? Can we learn from the principle of the separation of power in modern democracies and transfer it to the IANA succession?In a high-caliber panel discussion, Professor Wolfgang Kleinwächter, member of the ICANN Board, Thomas Schneider, Chair of ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), Christoph Steck, Director Public Policy for Telefónica as a representative of the private sector at the NETmundial Initiative, Thomas Rickert of the Association of the German Internet Economy, eco, and DENIC-CEO Jörg Schweiger tried to assign protagonists, roles, affiliations and connections.The tenor of the forum: By the NETmundial conference, the various stakeholder groups had proven that consensus could be achieved through the multistakeholder approach at eye level to adopt a joint declaration. It must be clear, however, that the declaration merely was an agreement on common basic values providing a solid foundation for solutions that should be developed jointly on an international level.It was emphasized that the NETmundial Initiative expressly characterized itself as not being a parallel organization of the economy that wanted to exploit the – compared to intergovernmental agreements non-binding – multistakeholder approach for its own benefit. NMI at present rather should be considered a beta version. In an open consultation process, it wanted to obtain the opinions of the various communities and saw itself as a binding element between the different initiatives. Given the fact that the UN mandate of the Internet Governance Forum currently did not provide any decision-making power, the questions and problems related to the future management of the Internet resources and their services and applications identified at the IGF had to be addressed and promoted at other levels with a focus on implementation.Digital agendas for Germany and Europe – a critical assessment of the status quoIn the next discussion round “The Old World’s answer to the New World’s IT challenge: Digital agendas for Germany and Europe – a critical assessment of the status quo”, German and European Internet politicians met with Volker Tripp from Digitale Gesellschaft e.V., an advocate of civil society who represents their criticisms. On the panel were Christian Flisek, spokesman for the SPD parliamentary group in the NSA Committee of Inquiry and member of the Committee of the German Bundestag on the Digital Agenda, as well as Sabine Verheyen, Member of the European Parliament for the German party CDU and deputy member of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection.Flisek defended the Digital Agenda of the German Government. Even though much attacked by the general public, he called it a successful step in the right direction; for the first time the focus was on cross-sectional topics. Also the distribution of responsibility across three ministries (BMI, BMWi and BMVI) was valued positively by him. Despite all criticism, it created a stimulating competition for reasonable results. From the point of view of the Committee of Inquiry, however, a strong need for improvement was identified with regard to fundamental right protection by use of technology. He requested a permanent monitoring to be institutionally established, which should include a reformation of the existing parliamentary control entities.Sabine Verheyen pointed out that the European approach to the digital internal market was directed first of all to economic cooperation, which was due to the transfer of competences to the European Union. National sovereignty for issues relevant to the society as a whole made it difficult to address such topics in the European context. The aim behind all the efforts was to pool the interests of the member states and enhance harmonization. Tripp complained that up to the present positive incentives had come only from the legal side, and stated the ECJ ruling about the right to be forgotten as an example.Flisek criticized that the Code Law often tried to assume the role of a quasi-substitute lawmaker with the aim to more or less level out the interests of platforms against democratically legitimized rules. The complete existing legislation being territorially restricted, companies operating in the global context consistently faced jurisdiction conflicts, he pointed out. Thus, internationally agreed rules for the use of the Internet were urgently required. However, this must not mean giving up national regulatory competence. Moreover, European standards should be raised at least to the transatlantic context.Volker Tripp advocated more self-confidence in supporting the European fundamental right position. He criticized the decisions of the German government, which, he said, often seemed to be based on fear and diffuse anxieties. He is missing a culture of options and possibilities. In his opinion, the WLAN duty of care, generally denounced as the gateway for anonymous Internet crime, should be abolished; one year later, a survey should investigate if and to what extent the related concerns had been justified.Generally, the question arose, so Sabine Verheyen, which solution was better, regulation or negotiation, and mentioned the example of the transfer of air passenger data, a topic of highly controversial public debate. However, one had to be aware that finding consensus was very difficult and one could not pretend the German understanding of fundamental rights to be the non plus ultra.Tripp countered that everybody could make the rules of a service provider the decisive criterion for their choice. The rules of a sovereign state, in contrast, had to be observed, if you liked them or not. So there really should be made a distinction between companies and governments collecting data.All panelists agreed that German governmental authorities should strongly increase their presence on the international stage of Internet policy.Other topics on the congress agenda included the new Internet address endings launched one year ago, their establishment in the market and to what degree have they met expectations – in particular with regard to search engine relevance. Further discussed were the security of telematic systems, mobile end devices and critical infrastructures as well as the types of disputes between domain holders and brand owners arriving from brand and copyright violations.Domain pulse on the InternetYou will find the complete program of the specialist congress and all information about the protagonists involved on the event website www.domainpulse.de. About one week after the event, we will also make available live recordings as a retrospective of the event. The next Domain pulse will be held in Lausanne in Switzerland on 1 and 2 February 2016.

Keyword Domains Again Prominent Part Of Good SEO: AusRegistry Report

Following changes to Google’s search algorithms reducing the importance of domain names in search engine optimisation (SEO) ranking, recent data indicates that exact match and keyword domains have once again become a prominent part of good SEO practice.This, according to a report released this week by the .au registry AusRegistry, caused many to re-evaluate their domain name portfolios and SEO strategies.The report, Behind the Dot: State of the .au Domain, is the second in a quarterly series from AusRegistry, providing detailed analysis and commentary on the .au namespace and issues affecting the domain industry.On local news, the .au ccTLD is now approaching three million domains, with growth rates in 2014 stabilising. The report found that during 2014, four quarters of consecutive six percent growth were achieved, indicating that the .au growth rate has stabilised and that this is a mature namespace consistent with other ccTLDs such as .uk, .de, .ca and .nz.Australians seem to like their ccTLD. With eligibility restrictions that mean an Australian presence is required, it has the second highest number of domains registered per 1,000 people in the ten Asia Pacific countries .au was compared to in the report, slightly behind .nz which has no eligibility restrictions.In addition, .au is consistently placing in the top 10 of all 283 country codes, with over 2.9 million domains registered as of 31 December, 2014. According to the latest Domain Name Industry Brief from Verisign for the quarter ending 30 September 2014, .au ranked ninth in total registrations behind .tk (Tokelau), .de (Germany), .cn (China), .uk (United Kingdom), .ru (Russian Federation), .nl (Netherlands), .eu (European Union) and .br (Brazil) and is ahead of .fr (France).There is also a report on a survey of business use of .au. The 2014 .au Survey reported that 76 percent of the survey respondents who hold domain names hold .au domains.Among survey respondents, most domains are obtained for business use (over 60%) and over 20 percent of domain name holders owned a domain names portfolio.The .au ccTLD has also entered a more secure phase. From 1 February 2015, DNSSEC became operational in .au – allowing end users to make use of DNSSEC and sign their domains.The full report as well as the business survey report can be downloaded from: