Your Domain Name Does Matter in Search Results – Microsoft Says So!

Labeled as analysis in General Domain Discussion, started by koolishman, Jun 23, 2020


  1. koolishman

    koolishman Upgraded Member Blue Account

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    I stumbled upon a study conducted by Microsoft eons ago back in the paleolithic era of search; 2012… It is about how "premium domains" are perceived by the consumer when seeing them in the search results compared to a lower value "non-premium" domain. I like to use quotations sparingly, but I felt it was necessary because the varying opinions on premium v non-premium domains is a bridge I do not want to cross in this post.

    Even if you do everything right, and your website starts climbing the ranks on Google, you may not get the clicks you deserve. This might be because of something called "domain bias."

    The Study

    In a blind test, Microsoft found that domain trust sometimes overrides relevancy in a search result. In the study, they tested search results for the query "One of the most common types of heart disease" from and They found that, when the results were shown without the domain name listed, users preferred the result from However, when the results were shown with the domain, users preferred The researchers also flipped the domains by showing the snippet with the domain and vice versa. In this case, users preferred the result showing, regardless of the search result.

    According to Microsoft, "the [domain] bias manifests itself as leading a user to perceive the same document as more relevant when it is attached to a more reputable domain than a less reputable one. Its existence is established beyond a reasonable doubt through a series of carefully controlled experiments."

    Link to Microsoft Study

    This paper uncovers a new phenomenon in web search that we call domain bias — a user’s propensity to believe that a page is more relevant just because it comes from a particular domain.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2020
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