Google and new gTLD search

By Stuart Fuller


With the coming of many new generic Top Level Domains, Google have today given us some insight into how these are being handled in Google's search (currently, although this MAY change in the future).   Google have published a list of Q & A’s about how they will treat the new gTLDs, including dotBrands.

Q: How will new gTLDs affect search? Is Google changing the search algorithm to favour these TLDs? How important are they really in search?
A: Overall, our systems treat new gTLDs like other gTLDs (like dotCom & dotOrg). Keywords in a TLD do not give any advantage or disadvantage in search.

Q: What about IDN TLDs such as  .みんな? Can Googlebot crawl and index them, so that they can be used in search?
A: Yes. These TLDs can be used the same as other TLDs (it's easy to check with a query like [site:みんな]). Google treats the Punycode version of a hostname as being equivalent to the unencoded version, so you don't need to redirect or canonicalize them separately. For the rest of the URL, remember to use UTF-8 for the path & query-string in the URL, when using non-ASCII characters.

Q: Will a dotBRAND TLD be given any more or less weight than a dotCom?
A: No. Those TLDs will be treated the same as a other gTLDs. They will require the same geotargeting settings and configuration, and they won’t have more weight or influence in the way we crawl, index, or rank URLs.

Q: How are the new region or city TLDs (like dotLondon or dotBayern) handled?
A: Even if they look region-specific, we will treat them as gTLDs. This is consistent with our handling of regional TLDs like dotEU and dotASIA. There may be exceptions at some point down the line, as we see how they're used in practice.

Q: What about real ccTLDs (country code top-level domains) : will Google favor ccTLDs (like dotUK, dotAE, etc.) as a local domain for people searching in those countries?
A: By default, most ccTLDs (with exceptions) result in Google using these to geotarget the website; it tells us that the website is probably more relevant in the appropriate country.

Q: Will Google support my SEO efforts to move my domain from dotCom to a new TLD? How do I move my website without losing any search ranking or history?
A: We treat these moves the same as any other site move. That said, domain changes can take time to be processed for search (and outside of search, users expect email addresses to remain valid over a longer period of time), so it's generally best to choose a domain that will fit your long-term needs.