Over the past few months a number of organisations have tried to push along the new gTLD program by conducting experiments search performance. They have taken both new and existing TLDs, put up almost identical websites and then monitored the results over a period of time. Whilst there have been some findings to suggest that new TLDs do have some traction, recently Google’s Website Trends Analyst, John Mueller yesterday dispelled many of the myths.
"They (the new gTLDs) can perform well in search, just like any other TLD can perform well in search. They give you an opportunity to pick a name that better matches your web-presence. If you see posts claiming that early data suggests they're doing well, keep in mind that's this is not due to any artificial advantage in search: you can make a fantastic website that performs well in search on any TLD."
Many people have tried, but ultimately failed to second guess how Google works, especially in finding the secret sauce of the page search ranking algorithim. They have been consistent in saying that the most important factors in the performance of one domain name over another has been down to their “holy trinity” which says that they need to be:-
Readable, Meaningful and Memorable
A website's TLD is just one of many factors that is included in the search algorithm. If and when there is enough information for Google to objectively understand that all sites on any TLD are relevant to a particular search term or topic then the TLD might carry more weight for searches related to that search term. This is where some of the generic new gTLDs could start to become more important in search terms, although it still requires organisations to start to actively use and promote their new TLDs.
But, the factors that impact search haven't changed and website owners should still focus on high quality content that is highly relevant to their audience. Mueller also added that "just to be complete -- we treat all of the new TLDs as gTLDs, meaning you can set geo-targeting as you wish in Webmaster Tools. There's no automatic geo-targeting for TLDs that look like city or regional names."
For now it appears the ultimate secret is safe, although it wont stop us trying to second guess the search giant.