I wonder why some website changes their short and user-friendly URLs to long URLs - examples:

cricinfo.com ----> espncricinfo.com

indiafm.com ---> bollywoodhungama.com

Why would a webmaster choose to make that change?

  • The best example of this is o.co which is now Overstock.com
    – Greg
    Mar 7 '11 at 10:04
  • Mostly for business and branding reasons. ESPN adds ESPN label to crickinfo showing (1) ownership (2) reliability. India FM is not a radio, it sounds more describing with bollywood-hungama.
    – Nishant
    Mar 7 '11 at 10:12

In these instances the reasons are branding and for SEO.

Crininfo in now part of the growing ESPN sporting network, like Soccernet is - ESPN like to see their branding extending throughout their estate. cricinfo.com still works though.

In the second case I think that branding was a secondary consideration behind the need to get better natural search engine rankings for the expression 'Bollywood' - domains that contain a search term get a natural boost in all search engine algorithms (this is demonstrable by testing the theory, the actual algorithms are usually secret).


bollywoodhungama.com is #4 in a Google search for 'Bollywood' - a search with hundreds of millions of choices, so the site is clearly optimised for 'Bollywood' which strengthens SEO as the most likely primary reason for the change.

  • but for SEO we can put keyword into meta and many other ways
    – diEcho
    Mar 7 '11 at 10:16
  • Yes the meta tags have a bearing, but the domain name, page title, first H1 tag contents and keyword density have a bigger bearing than meta tags in current search algorithms. Google 'seo boost for keyword in domain' for tips on why the domain name is important for SEO.
    – amelvin
    Mar 7 '11 at 10:19
  • Actually meta tags have no weight in search rankings.
    – John Conde
    Mar 7 '11 at 14:18
  • @John I know that Google stopped using meta tags (except for the description) in 2009, but I'm not certain that every search engine has similarly done so - but I'll bow to your experience.
    – amelvin
    Mar 7 '11 at 18:07
  • 1
    @amelvin Bing recently said they didn't use it as well and since Google and Bing power Yahoo and AOL respectively and those four sites make up the overwhelming majority of searches it's safe to say meta tags have no SEO impact anymore.
    – John Conde
    Mar 7 '11 at 19:19

The most obvious reason is search engine optimisation. If your website can be access from more than one URL, then there's a major hole in your SEO.

The alternative URLs will/should 304 redirect to the original domain. The domain that the companies use as their "primary" domain will be down to where the content and assets are stored, such as images and stylesheets, that may be loaded in with relative paths.

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