Google Explains How It Handles TLDs
Ever since SEO became mainstream, there has been conflicting ideas on how Google handles top level domains (TLDs). It has been long believed that having a .com and having a keyword in your domain is the best way to rank high. Google’s John Mueller debunks all of these myths and sets the record straight in a recent Google Webmaster Central blog post.
First, Google makes it very clear that no domain is favored over another based on keywords or the actual type of domain, such as .com or .org.
“Overall, our systems treat new gTLDs like other gTLDs (like .com & .org). Keywords in a TLD do not give any advantage or disadvantage in search.”
This news most certainly will come as a surprise and a relief to companies who have felt that they have to have their main performing keyword in a domain name in order to rank.
So this change raises the next question of whether or not a new .BRAND domain would be given anymore weight over the old domain types?
“No. Those TLDs will be treated the same as a other gTLDs. They will require the same geotargeting settings and configuration, and they won’t have more weight or influence in the way we crawl, index, or rank URLs.”
Basically all TLDs, regardless the type, are viewed as being equal by Google’s search engine. So get rid of that old, keyword riddled domain name that has nothing to do with your brand and replace it with a relevant domain name that your customers will remember – oh wait, will Google penalize you for moving domains?
“We have extensive site move documentation in our Help Center. We treat these moves the same as any other site move. That said, domain changes can take time to be processed for search (and outside of search, users expect email addresses to remain valid over a longer period of time), so it’s generally best to choose a domain that will fit your long-term needs.”
Well there you have it folks! It’s hard to come up with any more myths surrounding this topic as you’ve heard it straight from the horse’s mouth.