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Host Crowding

Tanya Goodin
Tanya Goodin
CEO
10 December 2007

What is it?

We always love new terms and we thought you may not have heard of ‘Host Crowding’ which was recently featured in a post by Google’s Matt Cutts. And this is actually nothing to do with Christmas parties when over enthusiastic party giver has had too many glasses of wine!

What host crowding actually relates to the use of sub domains where Google may choose to show many results from each hostname/subdomain enabling sites to dominate rankings from one main domain.

For example type in ‘Google’ and you get results from the following:

1) www.google.com
(2) video.google.com
(3) maps.google.com
(4) groups.google.com
(5) news.google.com
(6) www.google.org
(7) images.google.com
(8) earth.google.com
(9) code.google.com
(10) directory.google.com

Which is all fair enough and Google has said that the changes are not across the board on searches like the one above and those such as ‘IBM’.

The problem was in long tail/niche searches where it is possible for one site to dominate with many different subdomains.  For example on this made up domain targeting blue widgets:

widget.site.com
blue-widget.com
newblue-widget.com
oldblue-widget.com
buyblue-widget- .com
sellblue-widget.com

You get the idea! So what should happen now is that  fewer results will now feature from any one site but not in all cases.

We think that Google is on the right tracks in order to combat spam but are less sure where the ultimate decision is made as to which sites can have mutiple listings and which ones cannot. That much was unclear from the post so I guess we will have to see what actually happens.


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