Top Level Domains…

Google Confirms Keyword Rich TLDs Won’t Help Your Rankings

There are few things that most individuals and the businesses that they represent won’t do to get to the top of page 1 on Google, but one thing’s for certain, a recent Hangout with the boffins behind the world’s favourite search engine revealed a heavily used search engine optimisation tactic that won’t make a bit of difference to your rankings.

Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller was the man to confirm that keyword rich TLDs would not improve ranking, which is sad news for many hosting providers and domain buyers who have snapped up newly introduced top level domains ending with keywords such as ‘.live’, ‘.news’ and ‘.attorney’.

What exactly is a TLD?

A top level domain, or TLD as it is so often referred to, is a domain that sits at a particularly high level in the hierarchical Domain Name System. We’re all familiar with the country coded top-level domains – i.e. ‘.uk’, ‘.eu’, ‘.de’ etc. – but recently new TLDs are coming out of the woodwork each claiming to offer better ranking power than the domains so commonly used to represent business websites.

So what’s been said about using TLDs for ranking purposes?

During a recent Google Hangout, John Mueller admitted that “the TLD is not something we take into account there”. He went onto explain that the words, which are particularly keyword rich in these new top level domains, are overlooked entirely and do not influence a website’s ability to rank higher at all.

This news may come as a shock to many in the search engine optimisation community, especially after a sponsored article entitled ‘Can moving to a new TLD boost search rankings?’, which went onto explain how a law firm moved from their .com domain to a .attorney TLD and enjoyed an increase in organic traffic and major savings on search engine marketing (SEM) costs, was published on leading search engine industry news and trends hub Search Engine Land. Fellow Webmaster Trends Analyst Gary Illyes backed up John’s words, which have since echoed across the web leaving many people who had listened to the wise words of the aforementioned article wondering where to turn to next.

Have you recently transferred to a keyword rich TLD?

If you have already invested and even transferred your website to one of these new top level domains there’s no need to panic. Moving back to your previous domain is possible and best practices can be used to ensure that this is done seamlessly and with minimal impact on your website whilst ensuring limited downtime.