What New gTLDs mean for Google Search

The year 2014 was an exciting year for the Internet Industry. With the launch of hundreds of new gTLDs, branding opportunities for marketers around the globe are now convincingly seeming limitless as they can now choose a web address that best describes their business! However, with the introduction of so many New gTLDs, there is an inherent question in all our minds – how will New gTLDs perform against legacy domain extensions for a search query on Google? Will the relevancy of the domain extension help it rank higher? Or will the exceeding popularity of legacy domain extensions outweigh all the other factors that are in consideration?

Unfortunately, while it is still too early in the life cycle of new gTLDs for us to have a definitive answer to this question, we can still go ahead and understand what current trends indicate.

The Google Perspective:

While Google has gone on record to say that there is no direct advantage that New gTLDs have in comparison to the likes of the .COMs, .NETs and .BIZs of the world, one cannot ignore the inherent advantage associated with having a keyword rich domain extension. Let’s try to understand this with the help of an example:

if you own nyc.florist, it is more likely that a search query for an “NYC Florist” will give your domain name a higher ranking on Google over marcelaflorist.com.

We ran a search for the phrase “coffee club” on Google and attached below is the snapshot of the SERP.

seo-example

We already know that Google highlights all the search keywords that are a part of the URL and the meta description. What’s interesting here is that even though the word “club” is on the right side of the dot (i.e, club is the domain extension), it is highlighted too.

Significance of New gTLDs on your SEO efforts:

  • With a business relevant New gTLD choice, every character in your URL adds coherence as well as search engine ranking value
  • With the help of a contextual New gTLD, URLs can now be shorter while still conveying the same meaning

Here’s a compilation of some domains names that registered under several New gTLDs and have good Alexa rankings.

ntld-table

The table above clearly indicates that new gTLDs are slowly but most definitely gaining momentum in the internet industry as far as popularity is concerned. However, this table and  Google’s official statement clearly indicate that while a domain extension by itself cannot do wonders for a website’s search engine ranking, if backed by relevant content, superior on-page and off-page optimization efforts, it can definitely aid in ranking a website higher!

Whether or not brands should adopt new gTLDs is still a question that is highly debatable. However there is no denying the fact that new gTLDs are changing the way marketers represent their brands on the web.  The fact that Google has invested millions of dollars in new gTLD applications will definitely have an impact on the way new gTLD search rankings and SEO are impacted in future algorithm updates.

We’d love for you to share your thoughts regarding this article in the comments below.