Will Domain Names Become Less Relevant?

    April 3, 2007

Currently domain names carry significant weight in Google’s relevancy algorithms if they match the search query, but that is a signal destined to lose value.

As more people get into automated and cheap content to turn park pages into automated low cost community driven sites, search engines are going to learn that it doesn’t make sense to give a matching domain default status in a category. 

Frank Schilling, a well known domainer, recently blogged about how to unseat Google, and is using wiki content to seed community driven sites on generic domains. Two ways Google is fighting off the automated content generation that domainers will explore is through duplicate content detection and minimum PageRank requirements on a per URL basis.

Domain names are trusted because they are an expensive commodity largely controlled by a few people, and most of those people are not developing the names. Once those people start turning parking pages into content sites I think search engines are going to need to look for other relevancy signals. Many VCs and domainers have been looking at automated or low cost development ever since Paul Sloan’s 2005 article Masters of their Domains, but a search engine full of sites like eHow, WeHow, and WikiHow is not a search engine that is useful to searchers.