We’ve been discussing the possibilities here over and over again in the office in recent weeks.
Since our New gTLD Pre-Registration Portal launched we’ve had so much interest from our Monsters about the possibilities of New gTLDs that I think it’s time to discuss the elephant in the room.
Search engines … the biggest and most important source of traffic on the internet. We’ve spoken before about the way search engines get targeted visitors to a website. Without good search engine visibility it’s very difficult to make your site a success!
So inevitably one of the big questions is how they are going to handle 1400 new Top Level Domains!
Personally I believe that these new domain name extensions can be treated in one of three ways.
1. Scenario one – ‘No Bonus Generics’
In the first scenario we have the new domain name extension providing no advantage to the site when being evaluated by a search engine crawler.
Let’s use an example site about ‘Pepperoni Pizza’.
In scenario one, peperroni.pizza will have neither an advantage nor a disadvantage over pepperoni.com if the sites were of the same quality.
Search engines would interpret both of these sites simply as peperroni.extension, it doesn’t actually have any relevance what that domain name extension is.
The ‘pizza’ top level domain won’t give the site any benefit when trying to rank for peperroni related pizza keywords other than it being a generic domain, i.e. applicable to any Internet user on the planet, not just those located in a certain locality.
2. Scenario two – ‘The URL Addition’
In this scenario, the top level domain acts as a keyword in the URL the same as any other URL.
What I mean by this is that pepperoni.pizza and pepperoni.com/pizza will be given the same weight.
Both of the domain names contain the keywords ‘pepperoni’ and ‘pizza’. These keywords appearing in the URL has always been an SEO best practice. This is because a search engine uses the URL itself as an indicator of the content of any given page.
3. Scenario three – ‘The Top Level Domain Bonus!’
In my opinion this is the most likely way that search engines are going to handle these new domain name extensions.
(Let’s keep in mind here that Google and Microsoft are both involved, having applied for New gTLDs themselves!)
In this example, pepperoni.pizza and pepperoni.com/pizza are NOT equal.
In this scenario, the domain name pepperoni.pizza will receive a bonus when somebody searches for ‘pepperoni pizza’.
Search engines know that domain names come at a price.
They’re likely to see that if this website sits on a .Pizza domain name that it’s specifically about Pizza. The person who has registered pepperoni.com could have a website about anything pepperoni related!
Pepperoni could even be their brand name for a completely unrelated business.
But Pepperoni.pizza – That’s definitely a website related to pizza, specifically of the pepperoni variety!
That’s just about as targeted as you’re going to get for the phrase ‘Pepperoni Pizza’.
This is all just speculation though.
My opinion is probably different from how many people view the effect that this domain name revolution will have on not just search engine optimisation but Internet usage as a whole!
Who has a different idea of how search engines might treat these new top level domains?
Do you think one of the scenarios I’ve proposed will be right?
Let us know in the comments below!