A typo industry exists out there. You may not know if but typo domains are some of the most attractive domains for webmasters who want to cash in on a popular brand or name without having to compete against all the other webmasters who target the same.
If you for instance type in Firefox you get suggestions like Mozila, Mozella, Mozzila or Moxilla which all get thousands of searches per month.
Search typos can be dangerous for the searcher as they often lead to third party sites and not the main site the searcher wanted to find. How do the search results look for the Mozilla typos? Let us take a look how Google Search, Bing and Yahoo Search handle those typos.
Google Search lists mozilla.com on top followed by typo domains that are not maintained by Mozilla.
Bing on the other hand is more helpful in this case. The Microsoft search engine includes results for the term Mozilla automatically assuming that this was the term the searcher was looking for. Options are available to remove the terms if the search term was in fact Mozila.
Not a single typo is displayed on the first page of Bing when a user searches for the term Mozila.
Lets us take a look at other popular typos:
Google this time assumes that the searcher wanted to find information about Firefox. The top two results have been reserved by the top two spots of the Firefox search, the remaining list the results for the Firefix search.
Google Suggest comes into play as well. This suggest as you type feature displays search terms that the user might be looking for automatically. The first suggestion for Firefix is Firefox which aids users in avoiding typos.
Bing again assumes that the user is looking for Firefox information and integrates those search results in the listing. There is again not a single occurrence of a typo domain on the first page of the search results.
Google assumes that the searcher is looking for the American singer and song writer Mozella and displays only results about her on the first page of the search results.
Bing again includes Mozilla in the search results listing. This time the results are mixed showing both links to official Mozilla pages but also to pages of the singer.
The first page of the Google search results are dominated by typo domains. The official Mozilla website is placed in the third spot with two typo domains above it. Google Suggest kicks in once again and suggests Mozilla to the user.
Bing mixes the search results again by adding searches for Mozilla to the mix. No typo domain is listed on the first page of the search results.
Both search engines assume that Microsoft was the search term the user was looking for. Google mixes Microsoft owned domains with typo results that target Mircosoft. Bing on the other hand displays only Microsoft related results.
We took a look at how Yahoo Search handles the typos above. Results were similar to Bing. The search engine always suggested that the phrase entered was a typo and delivered search results based on what it thought the user wanted to find.
The examples provided are limited and do not offer enough data to come to general conclusions. It does however seem that Bing and Yahoo Search handle typos better than Google Search for a variety of searches.
Google Suggest can be helpful but only if users pay attention to the suggested terms, and obviously only if Google thinks that the phrase is a typo and that the user wants to find something different than typed.
Have you encountered typos on the web? What did you do to find the right results? Let us know in the comments.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.