Yahoo Looooves Keywords in Domain Names

Filed in Yahoo by Matt McGee on May 25, 2008 18 Comments

Yahoo logoFor the past month or so, some folks on WebmasterWorld have been discussing recent changes in Yahoo’s SERPs. Some of the more recent comments suggest that Yahoo is looking heavily at keywords in domain names.

I agree 1,000%.

As I type this, I’m looking at a site that is currently at #10 on Yahoo for [cityname real estate]. No state modifier or anything, just the city name. This is a competitive term, although not as bad as Seattle Real Estate or Las Vegas Real Estate. Here’s what you need to know about the site ranking at #10:

  • It has no age authority. The site was launched two months ago.
  • It has low inbound link quantity. Yahoo Site Explorer shows the entire site has 35 IBL’s from only three domains.
  • It has low inbound link quality. Those 35 links are all from low authority pages. If you want to use Google PR as a measure of authority, there’s one link from a PR=3 page, one from a PR=2 page, and the others are no PR or PR=1.
  • It has no boost from clickthru data. Get this: Yahoo has not sent one visitor to this high-ranking site. So, it’s not like click-thru data in the SERPs is boosting the site.

This is a new site, with few links, no authority links, and very little traffic. In two months, the site has less than 100 visits. So why does it rank in the Top 10 for a competitive term like [cityname real estate]?

I can only assume it’s because the domain is [cityname real estate] There are simply no other prime factors I can come up with when I see the Yahoo SERPs.

The site, for what it’s worth, doesn’t show up in the Top 50 on Google for the same [cityname real estate] query. And on MSN, another algo which we all believe to rely heavily on keywords-in-domain-names, the site currently ranks #13.

What do YOU see in the Yahoo SERPs lately?

Comments (18)

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  1. Ben says:

    In our main niche we aren’t seeing this, still trying to figure out the key as some of the main searches look hand edited but a lot of the niches still aren’t showing domains with the keywords really.

  2. Burgo says:

    I dunno… I’ve been seeing this in Yahoo for far more than a few months; at least, in the travel vertical, it seems to have been that way for at least a year, if not more.

  3. SEO Pune says:

    Stuff like this has been happening with Yahoo for the past few months.

  4. Care to post the domain in question Matt?

  5. Ramona says:

    Try geo-trageting.

  6. I believe that google has been paying more attention to URL names since the last PR update. I got 1 site on 9th position and after update it stands still on 1st just because of keywords.

  7. rishil says:

    Matt – good call – I have seen this quite alot recently in the UK in the travel sectors as well. Some sites are utter rubbish and still at the top.

  8. Marc says:

    I would have to agree, and have a bit of evidence to prove it. check out the domain on my name

  9. Fat Lester says:

    Thanks for sharing this development. I own some keyword domains in various extensions. Most are currently parked, but in light of this, I may have to fast-track the development on some of them.

  10. Nothing new here. I do not take Yahoo that serious and this is a good example why.

  11. Would you mind posting the URL?

  12. Matt McGee says:

    I’d rather not post the URL, John. Sorry about that….

  13. Matt if you cannot share the url, I can only perceive your article as a speculation.

  14. Come on John, we work in an industry where information is private, on most message boards we refer to widgets when talking about even the areas we work in. Be nice.

  15. I thought google was more of a fan of phrases being in the domain name. A couple of years I bought a few domains for the key phrases I wanted for my main domain. That worked for a while but I don’t think google likes them so much any more.

  16. Dom says:

    These things change all the time, everyone tries to workout why one site is ranking and another isn’t,

    But having keyword in the domain name is one of the basic rules in SEO

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