Do web searchers pay attention to the domain where the link in the search results leads them? A few years ago, I would have said “no.” For years, I’ve operated or advised websites that ranked at or near the top for various brand names, and found many users assumed the site WAS that brand. Even the most cursory look at either the domain or the site itself would show the site to be unaffiliated with the brand, but oblivious visitors would post inquiries about customer service problems, purchase locations, and so on.
Now, it seems, more web searchers are paying attention to what’s in the URL. […]