Google Downgrades Dot-Coms Value

Google is quicker when finding companies

Robin Cannon in Search Engine Journal asks the somewhat puzzling question, ‘Is Google Trumping The URL?‘ Apparently more and more people use Google to find websites than type in the URL in the address bar of their browser. As he says:

When there?s a simple box to fill in with your search term, and you know exactly what you?re looking, why bother to use the address bar? If statistics on popular searches are anything to go by, it looks like many people aren?t bothering with that inconvenient ?www? and ?.com? and are just going straight through Google.

Hitwise UK just published its most searched for brands 2007 statistics, and the fastest rising US search terms are widely available. Both suggest that Google users know exactly where they want to browse to, and just use the search box to give them the link to click.

It’s certainly an intriguing finding. It brings with it a very important downgrading of the value of a dot-com domain name. If anyone is typing in a website URL in the browser address bar, then they may well guess that it’s a dot-com domain. So they type say ‘’, hit the [Enter] key and will be shown the website. If they are somewhat computer savvy, then they need only type cnn and hit [Control][Enter] and the same website opens up. That works for almost any browser, be it Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, Safari or even exotic ones like Flock.

Using the Google search box instead of the address bar opens up a whole new world. Typing in only the domain name without the dot-com may or may not bring you to the dot-com website. It all depends what Google feels is the most relevant result for the word you have typed in. If you can get your dot-net, dot-org or dot-ca website to be #1 in Google, then you’ll win the searcher’s click. Dot-com domains are no longer invincible on the web. As so often happens, the Internet with Google’s help is levelling the playing field

SWOT That Company Name
I?m Feeling Lucky, Google

23 thoughts on “Google Downgrades Dot-Coms Value”

  1. i am in this odd habit also of using the google box in the g toolbar for some sites i visit on a regular basis. not sure why i do it but most of them i guess have longer urls or have multiple pieces that i consider a bit goofy like city, county, or state sites. i never have tried to remember the order of them, take my local library url for example:

  2. Thats a good point that you have made. The ongoing popularity of Google may sometimes mislead the visitors to the actual source and this is exactly thats been happening. I prefer the visitors knowing where they need to go & use that URL directly instead of a Google Search. This just eliminates the risk of them going to a wrong site.

  3. It’s true democracy here so people will decide where their mouse should go and apparently they’re ‘voting’ for Google by a large majority. You may wish otherwise, but it’s probably wise to go with this flow.

  4. Completely agree with you. Search Engine playing such a huge role. I hope in near future there is a replacement for Search Engine itself. This will save the real ones from pretending ones.

  5. Something like verified results will bring more genuineness to Web. Google at the moment riding on the quantity of people, not the quality. They can’t do anything about it either. they are just a “search engine”.

    As for as levelling of TLD’s is concerned, it depends on people’s wish. I don’t think Google has played any part here. They are just cashing & continue to cash on because of the people’s support that is behind.

    What Google is right now is just a fluke more than anything else.

  6. Certainly Google is trying to trump the URL. Wouldn’t any search engine want that? The more important questions are “Can they succeed?” and “Is that what the general Internet entrepreneur would want?”

    To answer the first question: I don’t think that anyone could succeed at this because it would put all the power of the Internet in one company’s hands and take it away from you and I (the general and most populous part of the Internet).

    Try to imagine what would happen to Google if they went to an all paid search version. It would leave out a vast majority of Internet users and open them up to failure because competitors would fill that void. Google would lose credibility, their most valuable asset.

    As far as would we want that? Absolutely not! Why would we want Google to have the right to choose who goes to the top when someone is looking for our company.

    This article brings up the dangers of anyone having too much control of our addresses on the Internet. I may be wrong but the tone of your article suggests that you would advocate this. I think that would be a mistake.

  7. People that own domain names that are a perfect match to the search term should always get the advantage! Google is not leveling the playing field, they are leveling the businesses that were smart enough to grab these quality domain names years ago and have built their business up through the years depending on common search sense to allow their businesses to continue! Google is now destroying many livelihoods while leveling the playing field! Back to basics common sense works best and it does not destroy hard working online businesses!

  8. @aircleaner barry: the search engines can use the domain name as an indicator with a bit of a favorable bump to rankings, but the truth is, a domain name does not mean the site is relevant. a domain name should never get an automatic advantage. don’t worry though, your big advantage comes in click-through rates.

  9. I feel that if the websites content does indeed match the domain name and it’s a direct match to the search term, that website should have an advantage over other sites! Both the website business owner and the searchers will benefit with such a direct match!

  10. if the content on two sites would match exactly in quality, relevance, and the rest of an engine’s factors, sure i could give the nod to the domain. but in reality the content, blah, blah, blah…will never be equal so the domain name will rarely be enough to put you over the top.

  11. .. and of course Google puts a lot of faith in back-links to the web page. It’s not just the content. That’s a big part of the explanation as to why non-dot-com websites can take over the #1 slot based on both content and back-links.

  12. Right now I think that google is favoring the sites with the most links and the most content. I still feel that the domain name should be more important then the amount of content a website has in it. I can see that some websites with tons of content are getting ahead of others even though much of the content does not match the search term which is not fair to other smaller websites with higher quality content. I do feel that links are always a good thing providing that the links really do match the content of both websites.

  13. It seem to me that generic keywords are very powerful when developed into large authorative sites and that is unlikely to change, linguistics is our culture.
    Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s Webspam team specializing in search engine optimization issued statements last week reinforces the strength of the keywords in SEO ranking

    “Domain names are the primary way of mapping where domains are on the web and Matt expects that to continue. Domain names are important and inseparable going forward”
    “Owning a keyword match domain name is going to carry some weight in Google for the foreseeable future. It is something they want to reward. “

  14. Thanks for adding that, Jon. I see John Andrews blogged about that session and has this on what Matt Cutts said.

    Matt says early literature shows G didn?t care about what TLD was using.. just # links and how reputable those links were. He says except for some corner cases, it doesn?t matter, and he says most people will never fit those corner cases.

    Since this post is really about TLDs (dot-com for example), I think this confirms the view I was expressing.

  15. Hi Barry

    Ref Matt says early literature : It would seem that Matt Cutts was talking about very early literature, I have been researching the long term value in marketing & SEO terms for childrens generic keyword domains for a client in the UK who imports childrens products

    My own assessment and others I have gleaned from SEO forums is that in IMO from a marketing point of view you will get a boost in the search engines due to keyword in domain, keyword in url, keyword in backlink, if one owned the domain / / ChildrensGames / Toys the generics are very powerful when developed into large authorative sites (good content/always reflect the business)

    “The keyword in backlink still is golden, if I launch or, been a half decent SEO I should be able to get top 3 of those terms, BUT and this is a big but, if your in a highly competitive term area and you are good you can actually bind your brand to a search term which is golden as well”

    “Definitely. Having a generic domain helps with link building tremendously. For example, if you owned the domain ?, it is likely that when people link back to you from their sites that they will use the anchor text ?office furniture?. The fact that this is likely one of the main keywords you will be targeting in the search engines, combined with the fact that it is used extensively in anchor text to your site and it matches the domain location exactly adds up to a pretty strong piece of SEO”

    “content is king…but only if users can find it. Generic keywords ensure this without high long term marketing costs”

    “Owning a keyword match domain name is going to carry some weight in Google for the foreseeable future. It is something they want to reward. ” (which is at odds with the earlier comment)

    I tested out by registering a local small UK city generic small three page site of 97,000 listed under plumber exeter, it has been listed on page one for five months to date and that is up against some large backlink national building brand sites (IMO interesting to register local search generics with the long term view) Voice command or text it would seem that our common language will evolve at the same rate as national curriculum

  16. I have no quarrel with what you’re saying, Jon. However I’m only homing in on the LTD here. In other words, if you work at it, you can make sure that comes up as #1 for appropriate terms and beats out Of course it’s nice to have the dot-com version as well, but it’s less important than getting that #1 position.

  17. hmmm, this seem entirely upside down: I don’t know too many people (really anyone) who know the IPv4 address to Google. They are directed to Google through a DNS; I would be much happier having smarter DNS’s than having a company like Google sitting as the Godfather of all access (or more, an elite of a couple of companies that make deals with governments, and other large powerful entities to determine what information the “commoner” should have access to). The strength of the internet is in it’s plurality; Tools like Google are the biggest threat yet to this strength.

  18. We’ll probably need to agree to differ on this one, Kevin. I believe here Google is acting to level the playing field. They’re trying to deliver what the searcher is looking for. IP addresses and DNS’s are all part of the plumbing. If Google can attempt to read my mind and get straight to where I want to go, then I’m happy.

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