Recently, ICANN (the body responsible for managing the Internet’s domain name addressing system) announced an expansion of available top level domains (TLDs). Many saw this as an opportunity to potentially boost their website ranking with google. Instead of .com and .co.uk type addresses, these new TLDs offered a wide range of options that could relate to a business type.
For instance, All Saints Church would normally have been expected to choose an address like allsaints.org.uk. (assuming it is still available). The new TLDs offer many more choices, including allsaints.church.
In order to appear on the first page of Google, your business faces two challenges. First, there is the fact that your company is competing against every other related business on the planet for a spot in the top ten. Second, Google keeps most of their ranking algorithms secret to stop people ‘gaming’ the system.
Google has always given some additional weighting to keywords contained in website addresses, so allsaints.org.uk would stand a good chance of ranking well for the keyword ‘All Saints”. Naturally search engine experts were interested in whether the TLD (.church) part of the address had any additional value.
Google says ‘no’
In a recent interview for the Search Engine Roundtable website, John Mueller from the Google webmaster team was blunt;
“the TLD is not something we take into account there.”
This means that buying a .church (or .bar, .attorney, .club etc) TLD will not boost your search engine ranking in any meaningful way. Instead you will need to focus on other search engine optimisation techniques to deliver the value that Google demands for a coveted top ten placing.
Are new TLDs pointless?
The fact that Google does not give any additional weighting to keywords in your TLD does not render them completely useless. As web users become more accustomed to these new addresses, they will help to add value for human readers. A website appearing in search results as ‘allsaints.church’ is, fairly obviously a church rather than a 90s pop band.
The other reality is that the world’s supply of traditional addresses (.com, .org, .net. co.uk) are running out, so there’s a very good chance your businesses simply won’t be able to secure its first choice. It was for this very reason that ICANN was forced to introduce hundreds of new TLDs – including many using non-Roman alphabets, built on Arabic and Cyrillic character sets for instance.
For the sake of your prospective website visitors, it could be that a new TLD may be an inspired choice, helping differentiate your organisation from the competition online. At the very least it provides an opportunity to be a little more creative with your new website address.
For more help and advice on choosing a new domain name, or for boosting your search engine ranking, give the Broadband Cloud Solutions team a call. Our experts are well versed in search engine optimisation techniques that will help turn your new TLD domain name into an online success.
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