New Generic Top Level Domains: Should You Ditch Your .com?
By now, you’re used to .com, .edu and .org ruling the domain extensions, and you most likely side-eye the .net’s and .info’s of the world, questioning their legitimacy for not locking in a .com domain. But over the last year, a new type of domain extension has emerged, and it’s getting quite a bit of buzz.
These domain extensions are called Generic Top Level Domains, or gTLDs, and they include everything from .technology, to .guru, .shoes, and everything in between. There are hundreds of these domain extensions, and more are being added frequently. So, why the buzz? These domains have the ability to contain keywords that relate to a company’s business. For example, if you own a construction company in Orlando, imagine your domain being orlando.construction. This has caught the attention of many because it gives businesses the rare opportunity to buy a keyword-rich domain that includes terms that users are actually searching for. These domains are typically already taken or too expensive when looking at a .com alternative. Another positive factor is that some of these domains require certifications in order for the company to purchase it, which should have an effect on a user’s trust of the site. For example, lawyers credentials are checked prior to purchasing a .law domain to ensure that all owners of .law are certified lawyers.
What Does Google Say About Generic Top Level Domains?
Before you have a .party (yes, that is available as well) and buy all the domain extensions, consider what Google has to say about it. Google has stated that gTLDs do not have an advantage on search engines. They would be ranked the same way a .com site would. We also don’t know for sure if extensions are considered as part of a keyword when a user searches.
Matt Cutts, a software engineer at Google, addressed this last year:
“[Referring to gTLDs having no advantage on search engines] 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. Google has a lot of experience in returning relevant web pages, regardless of the top-level domain (TLD). 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.”
Regardless, there is still a lot unknown about these new gTLDs, and there’s a chance they could be beneficial in the future. A keyword-rich domain has a lot of text-linking benefits that could boost SEO, since there’s a good chance you could get a keyword-friendly text linking directly to the homepage.
Why Should You Buy Generic Top Level Domains?
gTLDs may be something to consider for new businesses with new products or services hitting the market for the first time. If the company is not established yet, they may have a better chance ranking for a keyword-rich domain name rather than a brand-specific domain. Sites that get most of their traffic from organic search terms that are non-brand specific would also be great contenders. If your company is established in the market, buying a domain like this certainly wouldn’t hurt with the right re-direct strategy in place, as it may prove to be more beneficial in the future.