Anything you register can and will be held against you…

During the big Interactive Site Review clinic at PubCon last week, Matt Cutts was was using some type of tool that allowed him to pull up a list of every single domain a person/company has registered, whether it is in use or not. (It’s apparently quite top-secret, as he was sitting down at the end of the table with his laptop angled so the other panelists couldn’t see his screen… subtle, no?)

Additionally, he made comments to the site reviewees about the types and quantities of domains regged and how well (or not) the extra domains relate to the site/topic in question, implying that the dozen or so unrelated domains were unnecessary at best and, at worst, possibly harmful to their SERPs.

Apparently, Google has some sort of magic ability to look at all of your domains at once, and uses this information to decide if you’re a dirty spammer or someone who is authoritative about their topic and therefore worthy of better rank. I can’t really decide if this is a good thing or a bad thing.

On the one hand, I can see where you might be inclined to devalue a site run by someone who owns a ton of keyword laden, hyphen riddled domains because that sort of indicates that he/she might, maybe, be an MFA’er or worse. But then again, there really isn’t any proof based solely on one’s domain holdings.

What if the person in question just went on a drunken registration spree one night (not that I’ve done that before, I swear), or maybe regged a bunch of domains with the plan to park them and offer them up for sale? Should their “real” sites be punished for that? I would seriously hope not.

So now, I’m sifting through my domain portfolio to make sure I’m not sitting on anything that might be held against my “money” site and hurt its rankings. If I do find questionable domains, I think I’ll be transferring the registration to my sister or possibly one of my cats, so they can’t be traced back to me anymore 🙂

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