Sunday, November 16, 2008

"Stemming" Domain Names

Ever wonder how a search engine, like Google, figures out variations of words? For example, if you search for "crossing busy streets", the search engine is usually smart enough to know that you're also interested in the words "cross" (without the -ing suffix) and "street" (without the -s suffix)

The process used by the search engine is called "stemming". This means the search engine removes prefixes and suffixes from words.

Another example from Google:
Google now uses stemming technology. Thus, when appropriate, it will search not only for your search terms, but also for words that are similar to some or all of those terms. If you search for pet lemur dietary needs, Google will also search for pet lemur diet needs, and other related variations of your terms. Any variants of your terms that were searched for will be highlighted in the snippet of text accompanying each result.

This has long been true for searches, but does it apply to domain names too? If so, how can you use this to your advantage for finding domains with good search keywords?

Well here is an idea: Depending on the algorithm used by the search engine, the stem of "doggie" is "doggi". This means the search engine sees "doggie" and "doggi" as very similar words. In this case, the stem is NOT the word "dog", which you might have expected. And maybe we can take advantage of that...

The domain "DoggiFood.com" may rank nearly as high a "DoggieFood.com". Google ranks a domain name higher for keywords if the domain name itself contains the keywords. And this may extended to domains that contain the stem of the word.

More experimentation is definitely required, but stemming may give some of you out there some ideas for domain names to experiment with. Here is an online tool that will find word stems.

Happy domain name hunting!

For other domain ideas, check out HotNameList.com.

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