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  1. #1
    Join Date
    January 17th, 2005
    One of the fellows of the discussion boards wrote an article as follows:

    Domains and URLs:
    Search Engine Ranking
    By James D. Brausch

    Recently we performed large statistical analysis of the top ranking sites and studied the domain names and URLs to see if we could find any correlation. Over 20,000 listings were examined for 110 separate factors and the results tabulated and statistically analyzed.

    This article discusses the three attributes of domains and URLs that were found most often among the top ranked sites.

    Does having the keyword (ie: search term) in the domain name
    affect ranking?

    Yes:- This was the factor that was found most consistently among the top ranking sites. Since this single factor was found so consistently among the top ranking sites, we strongly recommend that you choose a domain name which contains your major keyword. Our own domain doesn't follow this rule, but you can bet that we are considering moving to a domain which does include our keywords now that we have reviewed the findings of this study.

    Does having a URL shorter than average affect ranking?

    We found consistently that shorter URLs ranked better. This is an interesting factor since you can largely control the length of your URLs without moving to a new domain. Were you already considering a restructure/redesign of your current site? Consider using short directory names and filenames.

    Your domain name is also a factor in the length of your URL. At one time, many search engine optimization experts were recommending purchasing very long domain names with lots of keywords separated by dashes. The results of this study indicate that would be bad advice. Instead, focus on short domain names which contain your main keyword and short URLs.

    Does having a "/" at the end of your URL affect ranking?

    This is one of the most interesting findings. We actually began by studying lots of page types (.html, .htm, .asp, .shtml, .sht, etc.). Our data kept showing that we were missing a large percentage of the top ranking pages by just looking at those file types. We were puzzled at first. Everyone knows that .html is the most common ending to URLs; right? Wrong!

    Actually, we found that most top ranking pages end with a reference to a directory, not an actual .html file. For instance, we found the following: - This was the structure we found most often among the top ranked sites. - This structure was more likely to be found among the lower ranked sites.

    We think this is a key find. If you are considering a restructure of your site, you might want to consider renaming test.html to index.html and placing it in a subdirectory called "test".


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    Let's talk about some of the factors that were found among the lower ranking sites in higher frequency than in higher ranking sites... In other words; the "bad" factors.

    Does having a ".net" domain affect ranking?

    We expected many top-level domains to possibly rank lower than the standard ".com" domains. What we found surprised us. Many domain endings that we expected would rank lower seemed instead to be more-or-less equally distributed among the high and low ranking sites.

    We never expected the ".net" domains to be ranked lower, but that is what the data suggests. In fact it is a very strong correlation. We used to think that a ".net" domain was almost as good as a ".com" domain. We will now avoid them.

    Does having a ".sht" URL affect ranking?

    This is an interesting find. We used to have many sites with this extension. Everyone is familiar with ".html" files; right? You may have also seen ".shtml" files. The ".shtml" extension is often used to denote a file that should have Server Side Includes (known as SSI) processed prior to serving the page. It used to be common to use the ".sht" extension interchangably with the ".shtml" extension in much the same way as ".htm" is used interchangably with ".html"

    Warning! In our 20,000+ survey of sites listed by the top search engine, we found zero sites with a ".sht" extension. This seems to show that the top search engine does not list ".sht" files at all!

    Does having a ".html" URL affect ranking?

    This is really just the opposite finding as one of the findings among sites that rank higher. Since URLs ending in a "/" are found so often among the top ranking sites, it turns out that URLs ending in the standard ".html" are among the lower ranking.

    In fact, this file extension seemed to be even more associated with lower ranking sites than ".shtml", ".htm" and ".asp". Prior to this report, we considered the ".html" at the end of a URL to be the most common and desirable. THis study has changed our mind about this as well.


    This article covers most of the interesting findings that are found among sites that rank very well and sites that tend to rank poorly. Other surprising results in the study include a number of factors that are found equally distributed among high ranking and low ranking sites. The implication would be that these factors have no significant impact on ranking. However, many of these factors are among the factors that are often discussed by SEO experts as having very significant ranking impacts. Perhaps those will be the topic of a future article.

    About The Author
    James D. Brausch, is the Vice President of Marketing for Target Blaster, Inc., an Internet Marketing firm specializing in targeted traffic.



    This is a copywritten work by James Brausch of Target Blaster, Inc.

    Appologies that the link back to his site was not included by the original poster.


    [ 06-10-2002: Message edited by: Haiko ]

  2. #2
    Join Date
    January 17th, 2005
    Just a note on this...

    each search engine ranks sites differently, google could care less what your domain name is but yahoo does look for keywords in the domain name so would work better for yahoo than

    The best advice is to look at the search engine you are optimizing for and see what your competion is doing there. If you want a top 10 listing with say then do the same things that the others in the top 10 are doing... but maybe a bit better.

  3. #3
    Full Member
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Interesting article..

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Actually, we found that most top ranking pages end with a reference to a directory, not an actual .html file. For instance, we found the following: - This was the structure we found most often among the top ranked sites. - This structure was more likely to be found among the lower ranked sites.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Not to sure about the above point however as there can be a wide variety of factors effecting this.. In a typical site structure, a directory /here/ will usually be a main page on the site, whilst here.html will be a sub-page off of a directories main page.. such as /here/here.html.. Main pages always have more inbound links and are included amongst most of the sites navigational structure.. sub-pages are commonly only linked to within the directory itself.. As such, main pages regardless of extension will usually receive a higher ranking than a sub.. It would be interesting to review this though and see whether the search engines have actually applied a plus for directory navigation, or whether it is just the site navigation which causes this.


  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    January 17th, 2005
    1) Brausch seems to be confusing "correlation" with "cause-and-effect."

    2) I am skeptical of any "researcher" who makes recommendations based on unproven trivialities without mentioning the most important factor of all -- the content on the page.

    {Edited to reduce crabbiness!}

    [ 06-11-2002: Message edited by: ]

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador webmarm's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    What Elisabeth said.

    This is a prime example of "prediction is good science" misconception of the scientific method.

    One could just as easily conclude that those who know what they're doing in the "20,000+ sites listed by the top search engine" have tended to buy .com domain names and use .htm extensions.

    Any newbies taking this thread too seriously, I have plenty of top 5 (and yes, that does include #1 last time I checked) placements for a .net site with .shtm page extensions all over the place. Of course, I did learn the lesson the hard way that indeed googler does like keywordnamedirectory/ a bit more than keywordname.htm in a generic directory. And that includes more links to the keyword.htm and better keword density. Oops, trial and error at its best, both rank togther in their search term [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img] .

    Do I get the award for wild guessing?

    Or do I need to couch my terms in a pseudo research paper with pseudo scientific terms and show off my great abilities in calculus? [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

  6. #6
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Ditto to Elisabeth and Webmistress.

    WM, I'd give you the award but for some people even ironclad proof wouldn't be enough! Although experience is better than "wild guessing" so you would actually get a better award.

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    January 17th, 2005
    [SARCASM] What no control group? [/SARCASM]<IMG src=> <IMG src=> [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]


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