Google Panda: Domain Names Are Now Very Important
Google’s Panda update was a major shake up that resulted in backlinks being greatly devalued in importance and as a result other factors, such as domain names, becoming dramatically more important. Herein why domain names are now very important for SEO and the negative consequences of that will be given.
Why Backlinks Are Not Important
Backlinks used to be a major symbol of the quality of a site. The theory was that quality content would be linked to by other web sites. As a result of this theory, Google would improve the rankings of websites based on how many backlinks and the quality of the sites being backlinked from. What this caused, however, was people to manually build backlinks to their own content and thus give the impression it is popular. Over time this has caused Google to gradually lower the importance of backlinks in sorting search results.
With the Google Penguin and Panda updates, the importance of backlinks has been dramatically decreased. Google even seems to have reflected this change by removing the list of backlinks a site has from webmaster tools.
Domain Names Now More Important
Another sorting factor Google uses is domain names. Basically, the words in the address of a website affect how it is listed in search engines. A website with the domain name www.howtofixcars.com therefore gets a boost for the search phrase “How to fix cars”. While this was basically always the case with searches, the fall in importance of backlinks has lead to domain names being more important than ever in search rankings.
The Negative Result
The negative result of this is that websites with very well chosen domain names have risen sharply in the search engines. Sometimes this has been for the best, but often the sites are very low quality and end up beating much higher quality sites. It is very unfair to be beaten by a website that has just been created and contains spun content either based on your own or taken from sites like Amazon simply because the person bought a $10 domain name.
The Positive Result
There are two positive results of this change bought on by Google Panda. The first is that people no longer really need to spend time creating backlinks, which frees up time for content creation. The second is that some smaller nice sites with fitting domain names have risen to beat larger sites.
For the foreseeable future domain names are going to be a very important factor in search rankings.