New gTLDs and all other gTLDs are treated the same by Google’s systems with keywords in a TLD not giving any advantage or disadvantage in search, according to a post from John Mueller, Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst.
The Q&A was issued to deal with misconceptions about the way the search giant treats the new gTLDs, whether they be generic terms, regional or brands.
For internationalised TLDs, they are crawled by Googlebot and indexed so they can be used in search.
“These TLDs can be used the same as other TLDs (it’s easy to check with a query like [site:みんな]). Google treats the Punycode version of a hostname as being equivalent to the unencoded version, so you don’t need to redirect or canonicalize them separately,” writes Mueller. “For the rest of the URL, remember to use UTF-8 for the path & query-string in the URL, when using non-ASCII characters.”
Brand gTLDs will be treated the same as all other gTLDs Mueller writes and on region and city gTLDs, “even if they look region-specific, we will treat them as gTLDs. This is consistent with our handling of regional TLDs like .eu and .asia. There may be exceptions at some point down the line, as we see how they’re used in practice.”
For ccTLDs, Mueller writes that “by default, most ccTLDs (with exceptions) result in Google using these to geotarget the website; it tells us that the website is probably more relevant in the appropriate country.”
And what should a registrant do if they move their main website from a .com to a new gTLD. Mueller writes that Google treats “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.”
The post reiterates earlier posts by Mueller and his former colleague Matt Cutts who pretty much said the same thing.
But there are some that believe there are some slight advantages with new gTLDs. At the Domain Pulse conference in Berlin in February, Martin Scholz gave a presentation on how new gTLDs can be advantageous for business.
Scholz, from Searchmetrics who specialise in SEO content marketing analysis, explained that while using a good .com or ccTLD domain is likely to be the best option for a brand owner to get a high search ranking, not everyone is able to get one.
So a small business might find that they can get a more targeted .london or .berlin domain that will be advantageous. Searchmetrics, Scholz said, had found there are advantages with a .berlin domain for local Berlin businesses. They found .berlin domains rank higher than .de domains in local search results for searches relating to the German capital.