Google: new domain extensions have no advantage over .com or .org
Google has once again confirmed that the new domain extensions will offer no ranking advantage over traditional .com or .org domains. However, it is not inconceivable that these new domain extensions will eventually have an indirect (and significant) influence on ranking.
In 2012, Google SEO specialist Matt Cutts clearly stated that new domain extensions like .guru, .bank, .plumber, etc. will be handled in Google’s search results (SERP or Search Engine Result Pages) exactly as traditional gTLDs like .com or .org. Last week, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller repeated the same thing, which should definitely encourage people to register a domain name with one of the new domain extensions!
In short, this means that the new generic Top-Level Domains, which we will refer to as nTLDs for the sake of convenience, will have as much weight as traditional gTLDs like .com or.org. In other words, a keyword like 'plumber' or 'news' as a domain extension will be handled the same way as .com or .org extensions. A company that migrates to a .BRAND domain extension will be handled the same way as its .com or .org equivalent in the way Google explores URLs with its crawlers and then indexes or ranks them.
The new geographic domain extensions such as .london, .berlin or .gent will also be handled the same way as traditional gTLDs, not as geolocal domain extensions or country code TLDs (ccTLDs). If you want to make clear that your geodomain is aimed at a certain geographic area, you will have to set the geotargeting yourself in the Search Console, exactly as you would do for a traditional domain extension. Google provides detailed instructions (1) (2) for this.
What Google mainly wants: better search results
We would like to add a few comments… Because new domain extensions may eventually have more weight in website ranking, simply because Google always wants to offer better search results to users. Several scenarios are possible.
- With some nTLDs, you have to pay a premium price if you want to register a domain name. A higher price means that there will be fewer sites distributing spam and malware with such a domain extension; spammers and hackers indeed prefer to use cheap/free domains. So, certain domain extensions may eventually rank higher in trust.
- Some domain extensions like .bank or .archi will be reserved for certain professional categories. Therefore, it seems logical that domains with such verified domain extensions will also rank higher in the SERP.
- Although Google itself says that the presence of a keyword in the domain name – before or after the dot – has no influence on the ranking, this keyword does have an influence – but on users. The keyword makes the domain name clearer, and thus easier to remember. As a consequence, more people visit the website, and the site gets a higher ranking. This is true for domain extensions that refer to a profession or specialisation (.photography, .shoes, .plumbing, .news), but also for geolocal domain extensions such as .gent, .berlin, .vlaanderen or .brussels.
SEO when migrating to a new domain name
In any case, Google recommends to migrate to a new domain – whether it be a traditional extension or a nTLD – with great care, in order to keep your search ranking or search history. To that purpose, Google provides extensive instructions on how you should plan, prepare and monitor your migration online.
The moral of this story is that no matter what you choose – a traditional or a new domain extension – you should always go for a domain name that is relevant, clear, and easy to remember. Think forward and check out our extensive choice of new domain extensions – you will most probably find an extension that perfectly matches your needs!