Major domain news is making the href="http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/110316-150000">rounds through SEO and internet marketing communities today. Google’s latest “content farm” update targeted low-quality content and keyword domain names may be next on the agenda for changes to Google’s search results.

According to Aaron Wall of href="http://www.seobook.com/googles-matt-cutts-talks-down-keyword-domain-names">SEOBook, brand names have been given a boost to ensure doorway pages remain indexed. It has also recently come to light that href="http://www.dotsauce.com/2010/12/03/google-bing-confirm-social-media-impacts-search-rankings/">Social Media directly effects search rankings.

The benefits of using generic domains like RealEstate.com or keyword rich domains such as DomainNameNews.com have been well-known for many years. It’s currently seen as easy by many industry professionals to get a top ranking for desired keywords if your domain name is an exact match of the keyword phrase.

In his latest video update, Google’s head of web spam Matt Cutts hints at the possibility of yet another algorithm change. Google may be reconsidering the weight it provides to keywords in domain names.

title="YouTube video player" width="600" height="368" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/rAWFv43qubI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>

…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. – Matt Cutts

Impact on Domain Name Value

Depending on how severely Google “dials back” the value of keyword domain names, we may see a negative effect on keyword domain values. However, quality domain names are increasingly in-demand and good keywords have inherent value beyond an SEO boost.

As quality domains become scarce and appealing new domain extensions are made available, there will always be opportunity for premium quality, short keyword domains. Domain investor Elliot Silver recently chimed in on this discussion with a great point, href="http://www.elliotsblog.com/exact-match-domains-can-be-brands-2692">exact match domains can be brands too.

I suspect that those targeting long-tail keywords with href="http://www.dotsauce.com/2010/10/04/google-55-of-search-queries-are-3-words-70-have-no-exact-match/">three-word domains and hyphenated domains may find the SEO advantages diminished. Domains with similar content using a brandable domain will have a fair shot at ranking for targeted keywords.

How To Avoid Losing Search Ranking for Keyword Domains

The major advice we keep hearing from Google during updates is to ensure quality content. This image shows a prime example of the kind of flawed search results this algorithm will be targeting.

style="text-align: center;"> class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-6577" style="border: 1px solid black;" title="Odd Keyword Domain Result" src="http://www.dotsauce.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/expired-domains-com.png" alt="" width="564" height="153" />

The domain name “ExpiredDomains.com” simply has a login form and no content, and no keywords in the title. Amazingly, this site ranks well for the term “expired domains.”

If you have developed mini-sites or are using a domain parking service for keyword domains, there may be some trouble on the horizon. I highly recommend beginning development on your best domains using a content management system such as WordPress. Quality content should be the top priority for a competitive website. href="http://www.dotsauce.com/category/blogging/">Blogging is becoming increasingly important to remain visible online.

Relevant and unique content offers the best experience for your visitors and that is ultimately what Google will continually attempt to deliver.

href="http://www.dotsauce.com/2011/03/17/google-may-adjust-keyword-domain-rankings-how-to-avoid-getting-dropped/">Google May Adjust Keyword Domain Rankings: How To Avoid Getting Dropped href="http://www.dotsauce.com">DotSauce Magazine