Google, the world’s leading search giant has come out with new answers in an attempt to explain its dealing of new gTLDs. TLDs or a top-level domain is the last part of a domain name or simply put the letters following the final dot in an internet address. Common information contained in a TLD is a description about the business, its goals or the geographical area. Most common generic TLDs are .com, .net, .edu, .org, etc. to name a few. Geo specific TLDs also known as ccTLDs (cc- Country Code) are default to a specific country by indicating that those websites are more relevant in that particular country like, .au (Australia), .uk (United Kngdom), .us (USA), .in (India), .ca (Canada), etc. that are used to target audiences in specific countries.
However, in its latest blog post in Google Webmaster, Google says that all new gTLDs will be treated equally at par in the search index without according additional importance to TLDs that have keywords towards the end. Looking at it from an SEO point of view, rankings of sites WILL remain unaffected as keywords in the domain name do not give any advantage or disadvantage. Though Google highlights the keywords in searches, at present their inclusion in the domain name is immaterial with the only exception being geo-targeted domains that get higher rankings if searched from that particular country or region.
Despite repeated clarifications earlier, this third explanation comes as another attempt to dispel the disbelief that new gTLDs will enhance site rankings. Google will not be looking at the end of a domain to give a few brownie points to a site! This has been reiterated time and again by the search giant because Google rankings depend on a lot of other factors and domain names happens to be just ONE of them! Actual content, backlinks, social media activity, online and offline reputation, etc. are more crucial factors that contribute to a website’s rankings. Simply inclusion of new gTLDs is not sufficient reason for the search engine to treat them differently and Google will continue to crawl, index and rank URLs as before.
In future top level domains can be owned and controlled by brands themselves for e.g. it could be .microsoft or .google which may call for change in algorithms. It is quite possible for big brands to launch their own domains which will be a major advantage for them with Google giving more significance to such TLDs. A dot-brand is sure to score over dot-coms because Google is involved in a constant cat-and-mouse chase with website owners who are on the regular lookout for changes in algorithms by Google, who in turn studies and identifies patterns of behavior to detect anomalies in web practices. With a dot-brand, Google will be sure that there are no SEO tricks at play and aim to provide enhanced user experience. However, as of now there are very few dot-brand domains which put at rest all speculations.
Google continues to review and experiment with new search algorithms for different TLDs. The expected changes can come into effect over the next few years so that they can provide better search results for a more satisfactory user experience. In the meanwhile, new gTLDs offer a good chance to businesses to get a domain name that they have actually wanted minus the expectation that it will get them an SEO advantage over their competitors.