The first thing to consider while building your website/blog, is what is going to be your domain name. Basically, a domain name looks like “example.com.” Here ‘example’ is known as the SLD or Second Level Domain and ‘.com’ is the TLD or Top Level Domain.
These TLDs are more commonly known as domain extensions.
Now, if you want your website to rank well globally, then the main TLDs up until now were ‘.com,’ ‘.org,’ and ‘.net.’ And suppose you have fixated on particular SLD for your website; you would likely find that all these main TLDs would already have been taken corresponding to that SLD. Likely you would have to resort to some of the other extensions like ‘.us’ or ‘.uk,’ and frankly, these are not capable of building an influential global dominance.
However, as of late, there are plenty more viable TLDs that has the potential to build your global presence. You can know use domain extensions such as ‘.marketing,’ ‘.food,’ ‘.tech,’ and so on. All of these open up so many possibilities, however, will it be good for your SEO?
Here we are going to investigate this particular question – Does Using a New Domain Hurt Your Website’s SEO?
Google’s Algorithm and SEO Ranking
Google has explicitly made the statement that a search ranking is not affected by what is before, and after the dot – ‘.’! That means you can have any TLD coupled with SLD and there will be no negative or positive effect on SEO – directly. However, it does affect user perspective which then can influence user behaviour which will definitely affect your ranking.
Furthermore, even though there Google’s algorithm doesn’t penalize use of any domain extensions, research has found extensions such as .com, .org, .edu, provide some SEO advantages.
We will be discussing all these factors in much more detail, further below:
Google’s Search Algorithm does not penalize generic TLDs, and it will not affect a site’s ranking potential. However, the same cannot be said about the people visiting your website. People have gathered a sense of safety with websites that end with ‘.com’ in comparison to some other extensions like ‘.review’ or ‘.cricket’ and so on.
Since people doubt these websites and treat them as spam or illegitimate, it ends up reducing the click-through rate of your website. Now a reduced CTR will definitely have a negative impression of your SEO, and thus the correlation.
Click here to learn about the top TLDs associated with shady websites. This will give you an idea of what type of gTLDs to avoid.
- Quick Tip
With the advent of all these new domain extensions, there can be situations where some evil marketer tries to spoil your brand name. For example, if someone creates a website with your SLD with a different domain extension like .sucks or .bad, then there is the possibility of reputation damage.
As you can see, other people can make use of these new TLDs to give your company a bad name, which in turn will affect your SEO. So a good strategy would be getting your hands on these domain name counterparts yourself.
As we mentioned earlier, if you are new to blogging or starting a new website, you will find most of your desired TLDs are taken. However, you can switch things up with gTLDs that might even prove good for your site.
You might be aware that Google is currently giving preference to micro niche or niche specific websites more than sites that offer generic information. This is to make sure that the particular website is a source of content that is curated explicitly to, or is linked to the keyword in question.
Similarly, people also tend to visit a website which offers a sense of authority on a said topic. If you manage to show off that your website is home to tech specific or food specific content, then people will see you as a subject matter expert. Of course, the content itself also need to be good.
Now you can take advantage of all the new gTLDs. You can use something like ‘.Tech’, ‘.io’ or ‘.me’ as all of these are gaining popularity by the day. With domain extensions such as ‘.tech,’ you can exert your site’s expertise in technology-related content, whereas ‘.me’ is something perfect for a blog or to compliment an action-oriented SLD.
Here are some clever domain names that might be of some inspiration to you:
And so on…
Using local domain extensions or country code TLDs to target audience falling under a specific geographic location is also a good strategy that happens to fair well with SEO. These are not seen as spams and sometimes are even preferred by particular audiences. However your web host has a much more impact on this factor, and so it would be better to read some web host review before taking their service.
Domain extensions such as ‘.co.uk’ or ‘.in’ and others are trusted by a general audience on the same scale as ‘.com.’ However, the potential use of these ccTLDs aren’t simply for the purpose of substituting ‘.com’. In fact, these can be used for geotargeting purposes.
At an elementary level, it is evident that if your website’s domain extension is ‘.us’ and someone is searching for things specific to us, you have a high chance making to their search results. Again, if you have an e-commerce website, a ccTLD will ensure that you have products and services available at the said location. However, the geo-targeting options of ccTLDs go much deeper.
Google Search Console
With the help of Google Search Console, you can better use your ccTLD to target a specific audience based on location. Here you will find options that will allow you to fine-tune your search results based on locality. You will have access to a drop-down menu filled with countries to which you can target your content.
Hope you liked this read and found it helpful. Do let us know which domain extension you are planning to employ on your website and how is it impacting your site’s performance.