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Jul 22nd, 2015

Google Reveals How New Top Level Domains Are Handled

In a recent post on Google’s Webmaster Central blog, Webmaster Trends analyst John Mueller explained that the search engine giant treats all general top level domains (gTLDs) equally in rankings, even new ones like .guru and .how.

Mueller confirmed that internationalised domain names (such as .みんな) are handled the same way as other TLDs, which means they can be crawled and indexed by Googlebots and used in search. He also said that .BRAND TLDs — which allows businesses to use their corporate name as their TLD instead of the traditional .com or .biz — won’t be given preferential treatment and won’t influence the way Google crawls, indexes and ranks webpages.

Domain Bench in Bristol

Image Credit: Grey Hargreaves, CC BY 2.0

Mueller pointed out that websites with country code top-level domains like .uk and .ae will be geotargetted (with a few exceptions like .tv and .me). This comes from the fact that, by looking at their ccTLDs, Google will consider these sites to be more helpful for users who are based in the appropriate country. However, new regional or city TLDs (like .london and .bayern) will be treated as gTLDs, which is exactly what Google does with existing regional domains like .eu and .asia. Mueller did acknowledge that there may be exceptions down the line since they’re still observing how these new regional TLDs are used in practice.

According to Mueller, Google will support site owners’ SEO efforts to move from their existing domain to a new TLD, but they must remember that domain changes aren’t immediately reflected in search results. They should also be careful in choosing a new domain and make sure they’ll pick something that suits their long-term needs.

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Smart Traffic Blogger

A Digital Marketing Specialist at Smart Traffic. Keeping up with the latest advancements in all things SEO he is continually developing new campaigns to keep his clients ahead of the curve in online marketing.