Google’s Matt Cutts took to his Google+ page on Friday to address an issue in the company’s search algorithm, which mistakenly classified some domains as “parked” when they were not. A parked domain is a URL that may have been purchased for future development or to engage in cybersquatting, but either way lacks useful information. Cutts said through his Google+ account that the issues reported were due to an error that has since been resolved.
Domain parking is increasingly common as more consumers and businesses look to buy URLs before they begin development on their website. In the past, Google has explained its interpretation of “parked domains” saying:
“Parked domains are placeholder sites that are seldom useful and often filled with ads. They typically don’t have valuable content for our users, so in most cases we prefer not to show them.”
Google does not include parked domains in its search rankings, so the recent misclassification of sites as parked removed many websites from SERPs altogether.
Since Cutts’ made comments at SXSW regarding a potential algorithm change to focus on punishing sites that focus more on search engine optimization than providing quality content to users, marketers have been waiting for the update. The error led some to believe the adjustment had come, but Cutts insists this was just an oversight. He said, “I apologize for this; it looks like the issue is fixed now.”
Following Cutts’ initial comments, Brafton reported that companies looking to adjust their websites to avoid issues related to over-optimization penalties can focus on the creation of original content as an organic way to drive search visibility. Ninety-two percent of marketers say content creation is effective for SEO.