30th July 2015
New Top Level Domains and how they impact Google Search
What is a Top Level Domain (TLD)?
A Top Level Domain or TLD is the latter part of a website address which identifies certain characteristics of the domain as a whole. It can be associated with a geographical area, a purpose or even the business it is owned by. For example, TLD’s such as .co.uk, .fr and .eu represent websites from the UK, France and the European Union respectively. There are also Generic Top Level Domains, (gTLDs) the most common of which are .com, .org, .net, .edu and .gov. Simply put, they are the suffix found at the end of a domain or web address.
Why are new TLDs being introduced?
There are many new top level domains being introduced, for a number of reasons. For example, businesses can apply for .brand domains. Rather than .com or another TLD, Google Android uses the TLD .android. New region or city TLDs are also being created, such as .london.
How are these TLDs affecting search?
Google have announced that there are going to be no algorithm changes to favour the new TLDs, and that using a TLD which contains one of your key search terms will not benefit your SEO. Brands or location TLDs will not have any more or less weight than a .com and even region specific domains will be treated as gTLDs. When using a location specific TLD, it’s still best practice to refer back to ccTLDs (country code top level domains such as .co.uk) as these help with geo-targeting.
So why move to a new Top Level Domain and does it impact your rankings?
The main reason for moving your website from its current domain to a new TLD would be for brand / location purposes or consistency. That said there currently doesn’t appear to be any benefit or negative impact to using new TLDs from an SEO perspective, so at this point if you have an older domain with a good quality history and rankings in Google, it’s worth sticking with it.
If you do decide to move to a new TLD yet don’t want to lose your search ranking or history, get in touch with the experts at Varn for professional, friendly advice.