Microsoft’s New Study Shows Domain Name Bias

  • December 13, 2011
  • Marketing
  • Comments Off on Microsoft’s New Study Shows Domain Name Bias

Microsoft’s New Study Shows Domain Name Bias

Microsoft has just released a white paper titled, ‘Domain Bias in Web Search.’ Microsoft with this paper was set out to investigate the question… Do domain names matter? Microsoft found out that domain names do in fact matter greatly because users are more likely to believe the content is related to their search if company has a relevant domain name.

Here is a link to the 10 page PDF study that proves there is a domain name bias. If you are in the business of selling a domain name or want to buy one I’d recommend the study.

SEO marketers have suspected there is a domain bias for years, but this study proves it. The study observed actual users in real time.

“We begin by studying the difference between domains that a search engine surfaces and that users click. Surprisingly, we find that despite changes in the overall distribution of surfaced domains, there has not been a comparable shift in the distribution of clicked domains.”

“We find that domains can actually flip a user’s preference about 25% of the time.””

“What is surprising is that users click on results from rep-utable domains even when more relevant search results are available.”

“Our experiments are geared towards proving that domains can so drastically influence perceived relevance that users will favor some domains, regardless of content. Viewing content on the Internet as products, domains have emerged as brands. And users have developed such fierce brand loyalty that their clicks are tainted by domains.”

“Our experiments also reveal that search results concentrate over time on fewer domains with increasingly larger share of results pointing to the top domains.”

“This trend is accompanied by an increase in click-through rates (even after factoring out query distribution changes) and is in contrast to the growing size of the web content and the number of registered domains.”

What this study means to you! Rank doesn’t matter as much as having a quality, trusted domain name. If you already have a good domain name this is great for you, but it’s hard these days to find an inexpensive top level domain name.

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