The new generic TLDs (top level domains) are coming soon. You’ll be able to buy a domain name other than they ‘typical’ .com, .net, .org, .info, .biz domains. Some of these include .bike, .clothing, .luxury, and soforth. In fact, ICANN received applications for 1,930 new gTLDs. So, with all of these new TLDs, will these new domain names carry any extra weight when it comes to search engine rankings? Absolutely Not. But that doesn’t stop some people from declaring that Dot Com is Dead.
According to a blog post a while back by Adrian Kinderis, the CEO of ARI Registry Services, new TLDs will “trump .com in Google search results”. It’s obvious to me that Mr. Kinderis, when he wrote that blog post, has some sort of bias towards the new TLDs coming out. It’s in his best interest to spread rumors like this: if people think that they’ll get a boost in search engine rankings, people will buy more of the new TLDs. But seriously, let’s take a look at his flawed logic:
The basis of good search results is having the ability to present the most useful and relevant information in ascending order. An easy first step in this process is an assessment of the TLD the website is located within. We know this currently occurs because you can see search engine preferences to .edu websites for educational search topics, likewise with .gov websites for government related search topics.
Oh, really? I have several .EDU links to my blog. And I can tell you that there is no preference, whatsoever. The pages on those .EDU sites that link to me are on .EDU sites, but they don’t rank well and don’t have much PageRank. So they don’t actually pass much on to me and my site. Let’s take an “educational topic” such as “math”. Very educational in nature, do you think? Well, there are NO .EDU sites that currently rank in the top 10 search results for “math” in Google.
Google bases its results on what it believes the intent was behind a search. For example if you type in ‘Nike’, Google assumes it’s more likely that you’re looking for the Nike website versus a shop that sells Nike runners (it’s a clever machine). So for searches where intent is clear, brands that own a .brand will have extra weighting behind them and are likely to rank higher.
Now that’s flawed logic if I have ever seen it. The brand website is almost always on the .com TLD. It has been and most big brands always use .com rather than something else. So, that’s why they are showing up in the search results. I don’t expect major brands to suddenly switch their main website to something dot brand. I predict that Nike will remain at Nike.com. And Walmart will keep their main site at Walmart.com rather then something like www.corporate.walmart. It just makes sense to me. Brands won’t change their web address.
Think about when you search for information. Say you typed ‘tax rates’ into Google. Have you ever noticed yourself scanning the search results for a website that looks more credible?
Well, is this the same reason why .info sites rank so well in the search results? You’re looking for INFORMATION about something, so shouldn’t a .info rank well? Wait. What?!?
In this flawed article (blog post) that is clearly false and spreading rumors, Mr. Kinderis goes on to quote several “experts” who I am not sure even knew that they were going to be quoted in an article like this.
Luckily, Matt Cutts Comes to the Rescue
Luckily, Matt Cutts, from Google has already set the record straight:
I read a post by someone offering new top-level domain (TLDs). They made this claim: “Will a new TLD web address automatically be favoured by Google over a .com equivalent? Quite simply, yes it will.”
Sorry, but that’s just not true, and as an engineer in the search quality team at Google, I feel the need to debunk this misconception.
Frankly, the new top-level domains (TLDs) really have no chance of ranking anytime soon. That means that they don’t have a chance to rank well in the search results, but it will be a LONG TIME before we ever see any of these new TLDs rank well in the search results. Why? Well, it’s a new website. It’s a new domain name.
New domain names, whatever is right of the dot, have very strong hurdles to overcome in order to rank well. They need to get trusted (you get trust from other websites). You don’t get trust and authority just because you have certain keywords in your domain name or even keywords “right of the dot” so to speak. Websites get trust and authority from links. There are a lot of other factors involved, as well, such as social media mentions and news coverage that can have an impact on rankings. Even “history” can be a factor, as websites build up reputation and trust over time: even building links too quickly can have a negative impact on your site’s ability to rank well in the search results.
So, when it comes to the new TLDs, don’t be so quick to go out and purchase them because of some false hope that your site will rank better in the search results. Buy the domain because you think it has some value or potential value in the future. Not because of some rumor that it will help your rankings.