I will compare some stats from SEO Book vs AaronWall.com, with SeoBook.com numbers first
Time online (months): 26 28
Number of posts: ~1,500 ~650
Yahoo! linkdomain -internal links: 151,000 1,770
Average links / page: 1,000 2.5
Bloglines subscribers: ~700 5
Mainstream news coverage: lots little
Alexa ranking: 9,350 208,964
PageRank: 6 5
Google rank for Aaron: 9 186
Google rank for Wall: 21 655
Page Title: Aaron Wall's SEO Book Terist Nuklear Pengwin (don't ask)
Traffic: 4x x (seo book gets about 4 times as much traffic on average days and upwards of 50 times)
Given the above, which site would you expect to rank better for Aaron Wall?
Now surely covering the topic of SEO and having 1,000 inbound links per post means some (or perhaps most) of my link popularity pointing at this site is shady (or wonky, as Matt would say), but there should be little to no reason why Aaron Wall.com outranks SEO Book for the phrase "Aaron Wall" unless Google is counting the domain name in that. This site has more and better links, more user data, a more relevant page title, more relevant page copy, and even ranks in the top 10 for "Aaron" and #21 for "Wall".
A couple others have confirmed my suspicion that an exact matching domain name can rank a bit better than they otherwise would. Andy Hagans recently posted on the SEO contest, noting 6 of the top 30 results have an exact matching domain name.
Google counting exact matching domains a bit more than you would suspect gives them the ability to allow a site to rank for it's official name while still keeping it sandboxed (untrusted, or whatever term you want to call it) for other phrases until Google learns to trust it.
I don't think my-spammy-mortage-loans.com gets the same love that a mortgageloans.com (or equivalent) domain name would. And there may be some elements that interface with bid price or perceived market value that help determine how well domain.cc, domain.net, domain.com, etc. should rank for "domain" searches, and how quickly they (and their link popularity and usage data) can be trusted.
Anyone done any domain name testing recently?
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