Google Sitelinks Increase the Value of Generic Domains, ... by a Lot

Oct 23rd

Google recently increased their number of sitelinks to 8 and now list them in a 2 column format. To visualize the value of this, consider that I have a decent sized monitor and only 1 listing not controlled by me appears above the fold when searching for SEO Book.
Seo Book Google Sitelinks.

And look at a search for credit cards

Credit Cards Google Sitelinks.

In time I have to expect that for high value keywords (as per AdWords advertiser stats) Google will manually review generic matching names with sitelinks to determine if they are brand oriented or not. If the sites with sitelinks for high value queries are not strong brand oriented sites, is Google going to keep giving this much exposure to whoever owns the exact match domain?

Using Organic Search Profits to Fund Ad Budgets that Lock Out Competing Sites

If the results stay like they are right now, Google is creating a dominate player that will likely overspend on the associated AdWords ads to further block out competition.

Who cares if you lose a few bucks on the ads if it further increases your volume to get you better payouts AND reinforces your default status as THE market leader? Plus, exact match domains consistently get a higher CTR than non-matching domains, so in that regard the domain name not only ensures the sitemap in the search results but also subsidizes the AdWords ad costs.

Domain Names Win Fatter Margins in the Game of Arbitrage

If, after seeing the above images, you still don't appreciate the value of domain names in search marketing, please give Frank Schilling's post on arbitrage titled The House Always Wins a read, then go on a domain buying binge.

Life isn't fair, but that doesn't mean that you should ignore the obvious deals! If you are a diverse publisher and domain names are not part of your SEO strategy, then hopefully you can correct that deficiency before the year is out.

Published: October 23, 2007

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Comments

October 23, 2007 - 6:10am

Funny, I was just blogging about Sitelinks...

Regarding the exact match of the domain, that is true. But then you've got to compete with the other TLDs. creditcards.com or creditcards.ca? Well, they've both got the bolded keywords in the search results... So they should both have the high CTR and lower click cost.

October 23, 2007 - 6:18am

Right, and that is part of the reason I feel many non .com domains are underpriced.

But the big advantages of a .com are that

  • it also likely gets more type in traffic than any other domain in the category, and
  • is probably more likely to receive a greater portion of the possible organic citations possible from people who chose to cite a few websites in that category
Steven Bradley
October 23, 2007 - 6:56am

Aaron do you think it's just the .org and .net (and country specific) TLDs that are under priced? What about extensions like .biz, .info, and other less popular extensions. Think .mobi will gain use for mobile content?

October 23, 2007 - 7:13am

.mobi
I have an iPhone, and thus think .mobi is unneeded. In the US those who NEED to access the web on a mobile device are also the same people who can afford an iPhone and don't need .mobi.

Abroad I don't see .mobi becoming huge either because in some countries even their associated ccTLDs have not gained tons of support.

CCTLD
I think many of the country code domains offer great opportunity for investment, especially if you live in the country and know the local culture.

.biz and .info
I think .biz just feels a bit sleazy and cheap. Getting quality links to a .biz is going to probably be harder than getting similar links to a .net or .org or .com. Google tries to equate "of commercial intent" as being associated with "spam". So .biz is in the hurt locker just based on that.

Some single word and two word .info domains might be worth picking up, but I don't see it as flourishing to the level of .net, .org, or .com.

.com, .net, .org
.com rocks because it is the universal default. some .org domains have a halo effect around them. .net is also good because it is quite widely used.

October 23, 2007 - 1:38pm

I'm waiting to see site links that say:

"Best Deals On Viagra"
"Cheap Viagra: Click Here"
"Rock Hard With Cheap Viagra"

etc.

October 23, 2007 - 9:42pm

hehehe. It would be hard for people to refuse so many good offers.

October 23, 2007 - 2:27pm

I found this post on a blog this morning about the Adwords sitelinks including a link to the FireFox landing page. It also has a link to Gmail.

http://www.startuphustle.com/2007/10/23/google-obviously-doesnt-use-thei...

October 23, 2007 - 4:51pm

What makes the Site links show up. If you type the key words jumbo cd investments into the search box, our site comes up first, but we don't get any sitelinks.

October 23, 2007 - 9:40pm

If Google thinks the query is navigational in nature, has a high probability of being brand related, or if there is one site that has far more signs of relevancy and quality than all others.

They may look at clickthrough rate data, linkage data, domain name, brand related searches, and a variety of other potential quality signals.

October 23, 2007 - 7:18pm

I am looking at the results for one of my generic domain names. The .org is #1 on Google, they get all of the sitelinks, my .com is #2. Domainers can't expect #1 listings to magically appear without doing some serious work on the SEO side.

On the plus side for me, I benefit from all of the traffic that the visitors meaning to go to the .org type in .com instead.

October 23, 2007 - 9:38pm

They can't expect #1 with no work, but they can typically get somewhere in the mix of the top results without as much work as it would take if they had something other than the exact match domain.

Search Google for seo book and look at some of the other exact match domains ranking in Google. Look at the quality of the .name or the .org.uk and see if they are better than the other 169,000 pages that contain the phrase SEO Book.

October 26, 2007 - 12:41am

Aaron, you suggested that Google "may look at clickthrough rate data, linkage data, domain name, brand related searches, and a variety of other potential quality signals."

Our website Voices . com is a great name, very old (1998) and ranks #1 for the ultra generic word "voices", yet we can't seem to achieve sitelink status.

Other than the above suggestions at what Google may consider, is there a specific areas of quality to focus on? Would you say on-site adjustments could have an effect or simply building more links is the ticket?

October 26, 2007 - 12:55am

I would probably consider hiring a public relations firm and building more links.

October 26, 2007 - 2:45am

Excellent. Thanks for the advice.

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