Why new gTLDs won’t benefit your SEO

There has been a lot of talk about the new gTLDs (domain names such as .london or .properties)  as the domain name industry is expanding from 22 gTLDs, such as.COM and .NET, to more than 700.

people working - Why new gTLDs won't benefit your SEO

We had several clients asking us what to do, so here are some answers especially from SEO point of view, which may help with your decision which one to plump for.

There are 2 parameters you need to take into consideration. Users and search engines.

  • From a users point of view .london domains could work really well as landing pages for various advertising campaigns. Owning properties.london domain, therefore, can definitely help people to remember it easily if they see it on a bus advertisement or a Facebook post, thus we expect such domains to have a bigger Direct Traffic % over a .com or a .co.uk should you support them with offline marketing. It can also work very well as a display URL for PPC campaigns if one wants to push a specific branch of a business or service.
  • From a search engine point of view, there are a lot of articles stating that this will boast huge advantages for SEO. In particular, some SEO companies and professionals say that “the new gTLDs open up the possibility that the TLD could be an important ranking factor in the future, particularly for the truly “generic” gTLDs (i.e. not brand gTLDs).”

For example, sites with .london domains could potentially and therefore rank better for searched terms containg ‘London’and also queries identified as being about London or having regional relevance to London.  We can assume this because the application process is controlled and you must be a business based in London, which will appeal to the search engines too.

However, this is only a guess. It could be an important factor and if so, no one knows at what point in the future this will take place.

Google and in particular Matt Cutts the head of Web Spam stated clearly: “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.

Ultimately, the big question is: will luxuryproperty.london rank higher than luxurypropertylondon.co.uk (for example)? We believe it would, provided that the .london namespace builds value and perhaps verification into its space to ensure it is a signpost for good, trusted and authoritative content. And that is not only up to you but how people will use the .london domains and how willing Google is to give authority to a new TLD.

‘London’ as a key phrase is an important word for adwords as well. For example, if you are an estate agent and you add the word London to your key phrases list, your cost per click will go up by 50p to £1. Would Google give a .london domain that much power?

To conclude, we would recommend you register a new gTLD if you believe it will add value to your offline marketing as well as online marketing campaign in the future. Unless you ditch your current domain and solely focus on your new one, the chances are, you will not gain any SEO benefits from owning one just yet.

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