Riddle Me This SEO Mystery

One of my posts on the popular (but crappy) email newsletter service Constant Contact used to be ranked #3 when you searched for “Constant Contact”.

Finding the site down today, I was reminded to do a search on the company again to see where my site now ranked. My post has been bumped down to ninth.

That’s fair enough, as timeliness should be an important part of search result ranking. However, in the top eight results, there are separate results for constantcontact.ca, constantcontact.org and addme.roving.com. All of these simply redirect to ConstantContact.com, and have few or no incoming links to them.

I don’t usually see that kind of behaviour in search results. I don’t think it’s particularly kosher that Google ranks redirecting alternative URLs so highly. What gives?


  1. i see you at 6th.

    some of the fact that you’ve gone down may be related to the weak semantic relationship between your site and their subject (i.e., most of the links coming to your domain aren’t related to email marketing, so Google thinks your site isn’t that related to marketing). Monster.com probably ranks above you because it’s at least “work” related, which is more related than “blog”.

    also, right now, exact match domain names are considered pretty important for some reason. so in a lot of cases, any exact match will rise way up in the rankings.

    of course, the other answer, whenever Google is involved, is “who the hell knows.”

  2. You have a good case here on how important it is to have the keywords in the domain name and how strong Google factors this in the algorithm. I have been monitoring examples like these, such as the query “SEO Services BC”, to find out many Search Marketing businesses using this technique to maximize their shelf space in search results. It falls under a grey area, under the white hat / black hat SEO terminology.

    Despite the fact that the quality of the sites you mention is questionable, even with little page rank and duplicate content, I can understand why Google includes them in the search results page. What Constant Contact is doing is considered spamming (the search engine) and Google will ultimately find out about it. They will get caught on the issue of duplicate content. Unfortunately, these issues are not reinforced enough and most of them need to be reported manually. You can report this issue by using this form: http://www.google.com/contact/spamreport.html

    Let me know what happens and keep monitoring this query for your blog post.

  3. I can sympathize, in part, on the need to register various versions of your domain name. I am becoming much more aggressive in registering different permutations of clients names.

    I started registering different spellings and top level domains after finding the .ca version of client’s domain name being forwarded to the sedo domain parking service. (I don’t know how they do it – they didn’t own the name.)

    The big difference is I don’t register the site with Google and use a 301 redirect to forward to the domain to the clients main web site. (No duplicate content penalty.)

    As for registering domains with keywords in the URL. I have taken a defensive position. I own some of them, but I don’t use them. I don’t think it serves any business’s best interest for the client to feel that they were tricked into visiting a site.

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