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How to improve your SEO with new gTLDs

As you might have seen, we’ve recently started to launch a wave of new generic top-level domains. In total we will be launching over 200 new domains in this current push, with more to come online over the coming twelve months (p.s. let us know if we’re missing one you want to see).

As the traditional .com domain space shrinks – even four letter domains dried up 15+ years ago – these new top level domain names offer new opportunities for unique website addresses. Despite this massive new landscape, people remain hesitant to adopting these new gTLDS.

There’s an inherent push back to anything new and different and the comfort of a good old .com or .uk domain is hard to pull away from; but a big point of worry I hear a lot surrounds SEO. Will these new domains rank well, doesn’t Google prefer .com domains, are they just a fad that will pass?

With nearly two decades experience working in SEO, I’m here to tell you, don’t listen to the naysayers. The new gTLD space used correctly and appropriately, is every bit as good as a .com or .uk domain. And in some cases, you might even find better SEO results with one of the new gTLDs.

Google’s AI brain

With SEO it’s important to remember the sheer scale of Google’s task: indexing as much as the web as is possible. An unimaginably vast sea of data interconnected by trillions of ever changing links. It’s a mind boggling undertaking and only remotely feasible with enormous computing power, and increasingly, AI smarts.

AI doesn’t care about your domain extension the way you do. It doesn’t have an emotional connection to the com space, and doesn’t wring its hands over fads and perception. It does however care about context, meaning and relevancy, more on that later.

Google’s mission

Google’s revenue is predominantly from advertising. If they can drive more users to websites that are more relevant to their needs, the chances are they’ll spend longer on those sites, and come back time and again. Everyone wins.

Forget all the SEO noise you’ve heard

Mostly. From meta tags to domain age to link velocity. There are thought to be 100’s of signals used by Google to rank site’s. None can be confirmed or denied explicitly, but increasingly, three crucial factors are being seeing ever more important. And when you understand Google’s AI driven approach to their mission, it’s easy to see why.

In a recent report by SEMrush, the interlinked factors of time on site, pages per visit and bounce rate came out among the top five ranking factors.

Context for fun and profit

Back to domain names then, and the first benefit to the new domain names is their additional context. As Google improves its AI, it becomes better and better at the contextual and semantic understanding of the data its voraciously scoops up. That includes your domain name.

coffeeshopsin.london offers far more meaning than coffeeshops.com – not just for AI, but most importantly for the users you want to reach.

Click through is king

Which leads onto arguably the second and most important benefit of the new domain space; used correctly they can radically increase click through rate (CTR). This refers to your website appearing in search, and a user clicking on your search listing to your site. Google’s AI is always performing a subtle dance in it’s search results too. Your domain will often be given a higher placement in search results to see how users respond, and click through to your site.

If your CTR starts to exceed that of the website’s you compete with, you stand a chance of your rankings improving over time. As your position rises in search, so does your traffic, it becomes a virtuous circle. Of course, it’s up to you to deliver content that users want, once they reach your site. High click through rates are nothing if your bounce rate (if users quit your site and return to searching for another site) is also high.

Examples

Take a look at these (purely fictitious) domain name pairs, which ones leap off the page to you? Which do you thing are more likely to be clicked on in search results. In fact, I don’t even need to suggest what the search terms might be, the domains are that self explanatory:

old: traffordplumbingservices.com
new: manchester.plumbing

old: restuarantdealfinder.com
new: ukdining.deals

old: onlinefootwear.com
new: socksandshoes.direct

old: mrstuartslondonpizza.com
new: fastlondon.pizza

As with any SEO advice, your own mileage may vary. It’s a constantly changing and nuanced field. What I do feel certain of with new gTLD’s though, is that used intelligently and judiciously – your site might stand a good chance of improved CTRs.

For inspiration see our complete domain name pricing list for all the domains we presently offer; and stay tuned for the upcoming release of our new domain name discovery tool!

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