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No Google boost for new gTLDs

Kevin Murphy, March 15, 2012, 17:59:37 (UTC), Domain Tech

Companies hoping to reap search engine optimization benefits from applying for keyword gTLDs related to their industries are in for a rude awakening today.
Google engineer Matt Cutts said that it’s “just not true” that relevant gTLDs will automatically rank higher than their equivalent .com domains.
In a post on Google+, Cutts wrote:

Google will attempt to rank new TLDs appropriately, but I don’t expect a new TLD to get any kind of initial preference over .com, and I wouldn’t bet on that happening in the long-term either. If you want to register an entirely new TLD for other reasons, that’s your choice, but you shouldn’t register a TLD in the mistaken belief that you’ll get some sort of boost in search engine rankings.

The post was in response to an article by ARI Registry Services CEO Adrian Kinderis, in which he postulated that dot-brand and keyword gTLDs can help build credibility, leading to SEO benefits.
Kinderis wrote:

Ultimately, the big question is: will rank higher than (for example)? All the evidence suggest the answer is yes, provided that the .insurance namespace builds value and perhaps verification into its space to ensure it is a signpost for good, trusted and authoritative content.

In response to Cutts’ post, Kinderis said he’s sticking by his opinion.

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Comments (7)

  1. Tom G says:

    I found Mr. Kinderis’ initial assertions rather bold and far reaching. But I agree with his premise and conclusions.
    And, Google always downplays simplistic approaches to gaming their algorithms – they have to. They will always stand by the assertion that the only thing that matters is quality content.
    But it’s simply not entirely true, is it? Google says ‘keywords in domains don’t matter’. But they do, don’t they? They matter both for ranking and for click thru rates.
    Google recently said they made changes to their algorithm to de-emphasize exact match domain bonus. Which may have occurred but the reality is, there is still a HUGE seo bonus for exact match domains. They simply cannot ignore the relevance signals that are sent by using them.
    The reality is today, top level domain MATTERS to Google. In Germany, .de is favored, same for NL in the Netherlands and other cctlds.
    Sure, a New .NYC domain name will not instantly, enormously benefit you for SEO.
    Until it does.
    And Google will never say that.

    • Hi,
      I’m putting this to the test.
      I developed a directory site for a niche industry, including some snippets of microdata, fully mobile, with memberships on the site authenticating to google users.
      The site has relatively OK SEO, social media integration, and focuses on search terms that it “should” rank for not because of the tld name, but because of the content.

  2. Tom G says:

    And Let’s not forget !Yahoo and Bing.
    33% market share is not peanuts.

  3. gpmgroup says:

    There’s fine line between puffery and misrepresentation.

  4. Steve Jones says:

    @Tom Evidence based on current existing extensions would suggest that a generic TLD won’t necessarily help. Otherwise, we’d have seen a large influx of domain-related sites on .name in search results or .info sites owning any “info” searches.
    There are many different factors contributing to SEO, and many in SEO will tell you that site age and/or how long the domain has been indexed is a significant one. Right off the bat, new TLDs will be at a disadvantage from that. Additionally, if searchers see new TLDs and don’t particular trust them, the reduced clickthrough to those results will hurt them as well since both Google and Bing have confirmed clickthrough rate impacts rankings.
    New TLDs will provide some opportunities for sure, but I don’t believe SEO benefits will be one of them. Not everything Matt Cutts says is 100% truth, but in this case there’s no reason not to believe him because evidence backs up that position.

  5. Tom G says:

    I think the correct answer is somewhere between the stance taken by Mr Kinderis: definitely Yes, and that taken by Mr Cutts: Definitely No
    Perhaps, IF, then, Maybe

  6. Frederick Felman says:

    Last year at an INTA conference I heard a google search engineer discuss this topic. She stated that while an agreement of search terms, site content and domain name would impact pagerank it wasn’t the primary influence. Consequently, while Adrian is right, it sounds as though the benefit will be marginal. Lastly, let’s remember that pagerank is complex, but it’s not static, so any conclusions we make today could change tomorrow – the only thing that seems to hold true is that all the search engines have one goal in mind, user satisfaction, and that means getting users to the content they want.

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