The Signals You Send

Filed in SEO by Matt McGee on November 22, 2006 0 Comments

Back at SES San Jose in August I must’ve heard the word “signal” more than any other word that week, i.e. – “What signal are you sending to the search engine?” Everything you do, in some way, is a signal to the search engines. I’ve talked about this in terms of what I call LinkRank, which is essentially a function of the profile engines have of you — and that’s based on the signals you send.

With that in mind, I found Matt Cutts’ recent recap of a PubCon “Site Review” session he took part in to be quite interesting. Near the end of the post, he talks about reviewing a Hi-Fi web site, and how the owner actually had several dozen other web sites, and everyone one had a private domain registration. In and of itself, that may not be a problem. But when you combine it with other signals, with your overall profile, it can be a problem. As Matt said:

Having lots of sites isn’t automatically bad, and having PPC sites isn’t automatically bad, and having whois privacy turned on isn’t automatically bad, but once you get several of these factors all together, you’re often talking about a very different type of webmaster than the fellow who just has a single site or so.

You have to consider everything you do in terms of a profile, and think about the signals you’re sending. And Jon Glick talked about this exact same thing in my recent interview:

6) Private/hidden domain registration is a bad SEO tactic.

Fact. This is one more potential “flag” that can earn you points to a spam audit. It works well for spammers who are attempting to keep the engines from finding all their sites in one swoop. Those guys are in the business of disposable domains; if you’re not it’s better to avoid this tactic.

[tags]domains, domain registration, seo[/tags]

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