Choosing a domain name is one the most complex processes when building a website, especially for a business. The domain name you choose will have a lasting impact on a business’s branding, marketing and online presence.
Today, you have the option of choosing from over 1200 new domain extensions based on where you belong or what you do. There’s .TECH for technology companies or .HOST for hosting companies or .NYC for brands concentrated in New York City. Choices are plenty and there’s a lot of room for brands, and individuals to get creative with their business URL, blog link, microsites, etc…
For any website, new or old, ranking high on search results and staying up there is high on priority. Thus, when picking a new domain name, an obvious question is – is there an effect on the website’s SEO ranking because of choosing any of the new domain extensions over the .com?
What does Google say ?
The answer is simple: Google does not differentiate based on what domain extension it is. However, Google does like shorter and relevant web addresses over longer ones.
Google’s John Mueller, a webmaster trends analyst clarified:
“When we have two URLs that have the same content, and we try to pick one to show in the search results, we will pick the short one. … It doesn’t mean it is a ranking factor, but it means if we have two URLs and one is really short and sweet and this other one has this long parameter attached to it and we know they show exactly the same content we will try to pick the shorter one. There are lots of exceptions there, different factors that come into play, but everything else being equal – you have a shorter one and a longer one, we will try to pick the shorter one.”
Which means that whether you pick one of the new domain extensions or an old one, it will have no inherent impact on your website’s SEO. However, you must try to get as short a URL as you can, which is more likely to acquire with new domain extensions – given that the domain name of your choice might still be available and the extension itself will be more meaningful, which adds to the brand value.
What do the SEO experts say?
Even though Google says the search engine does not differentiate, with a new domain extension you can choose a keyword-rich URL which might please Google. Bill Hartzer, an SEO expert with 20 years of direct Search Engine Optimization experience, recently stated in an article that a site that moves to a new domain name and one that migrates successfully using SEO best practices will not suffer rankings issues, whether or not it’s a keyword rich New gTLD domain. He further adds that when a website moves from a .COM to a new domain extension, it’s usually because the new extension is better for the customers. He explains, “(TO) have a shorter, more memorable domain is better for users. What’s better for users could potentially help rankings.”
That a new domain extension is as good as any other for SEO is further supported by a recent contest by WIX.com, a cloud-based web development platform. The contest invited users to make websites that are optimized for the term ‘SEO Hero’. The top 2 contestants are hosted on a new domain extension.
The current WIX SEO Hero top contender, Walid Gabteni of www.seo-hero.tech, says, “SEO is a very complex universe and it’s difficult to master all the signals, but working towards SEO means there’s one strategic point you have to focus on. Google loves businesses that standout. I needed to standout and for that I used several tactics, choosing the .TECH TLD was one of them.” He further added, “Domain extension is the first visible element allowing an online brand to standout. If you are a startup or a tech company you must quickly register your brand on .TECH for the same reason.” Walid also points out that people remembered his website as “SEO Hero Tech” which proves that the addition of ‘tech’ to the URL allowed people to differentiate from other similar websites created for the SEO contest. This also might have contributed to higher rankings for his website.
While building a website, before thinking about Google rankings, one must remember that they are about to build a brand. So, the domain name must perfectly match the unique selling proposition (USP) of your product, service or content. If you are considering multiple options and want to take time in deciding on one, do remember to block them before anyone else takes it away.
The new domain extensions are as good as any other domain extensions when it comes to SEO rankings. However, new domain extensions do offer the added advantage of high possibility of choosing a shorter, rich-on-keyword, more brandable URL which is better for customers from usability and marketing point of view.
Disclaimer: the above article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a solicitation to buy, or a recommendation for any domain extension.