The URL is dead, long live the URL
ReadWriteWeb has an interesting story (if interesting means, “haven’t I read this before?”) titled “The URL is Dead, Long Live Search.“ As you might guess, it’s about search boxes basically replacing the address bar.
This piece caught my attention:
Of the 10 fastest rising search terms on Google last year, 7 were for searches where adding a “.com” would have brought the user to the correct site. These are called “navigational” searches — searches done when the user already knows exactly where he or she wants to end up — and they make up a surprising large number of total seaches.
I question this logic. Just because the user could have typed “.com” after the search term(s) into the address bar, but didn’t, doesn’t mean the domain / URL wasn’t vitally important. Why? Because one of the most significant factors in search engine rankings is the URL. The reason that “Brandon Tools” returns brandontools.com as the first result is almost entirely the fact that the URL is BrandonTools.com.
As far as I can tell, nothing has changed recently. Domains and content-appropriate URLs have always been vitally important to search engine rankings, which have been vitally important to traffic for about 10 years now, especially if you have a brand or trademark that people already recognize.