Total Websites performed an important SEO study on New gTLDs and EMDs. They started by doubting Matt Cutts that EMDs and gTLDs both do not play a significant role, if any, in SEO rankings:
“However, as much as I would love to believe the legitimacy of statements coming directly from the almighty Google itself, our team just wasn’t quite sold on it.”
I too am doubting Matt Cutts sayings. Kind of, anyway. Maybe I mostly doubt people’s explanation.
Saying that EMDs and gTLDs both do not play a significant role means that they DO play a small role. But a small role could be the difference between #1 and #6. What would you rather be? Of course if you are ranked in Google at the 657th place it doesn’t make any big difference.
Here are some very important results from the SEO study:
It sounds reasonable that there is no weight added by a rich keyword placed to right of the dot. After all, COM, ORG and NET don’t have any significant keyword value, so why would any other extension?
Yet logical reasoning stands in the way. The new gTLDs will soon enough be available in almost every valuable keyword, covering every market or category of interest and then some. For Google, a company that’s mission statement reads “Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” there is no better way to organize relevant and useful information about a topic than to have that topic explicitly stated in the name.
At the time of registering the .Guru domain name, the .Com and .Co.Uk were occupying the number one and two spots. Then when we checked it out ourselves just a month or so later, we were surprised to see that the .Guru had already claimed the #2 spot.
The brand name of the business in this article is Pain Free Performance. Now this is obviously not a competitive keyword whatsoever, but out of curiosity I did a search for the keyword phrase “Pain Free Performance Guru” to see how the results differed.
It was a little strange to see that “guru” was in bold. As you may already know, Google bolds every keyword in a snippet that matches the search term. The bolded keywords are also used to determine relevance of the content, which can allow us to make two possible assumptions.
Exact Match Domains are in fact weighted higher than an alternative partial match or branded domain.
The new gTLDs, including the keyword in the extension, are treated as Exact Match Domains in organic search rankings
After gathering and analyzing the data for each of the 20 domains, it’s clear to see that new gTLD domains DO boost SEO rankings and EMDs, even in the new gTLDs, are still favored in the search engines.
Two additional things stuck out to us during our study.
1. Keyword rich domains are being registered by domain investors as soon as they become available to register.
As is the same with all TLDs, most of the keyword rich gTLDs we came across in our study were being offered for sale by domain investors. While this could be an issue for generic keywords like “car company” there is still plenty of long tail EDMs available. This could serve to be a huge advantage in the future for local businesses opting to use keywords such as “Houston Car Company” and other geo-targeted alternatives.
2. Many branded companies have already started opting to use gTLD domain names for SEO advantages
Through the use of redirects, many of the domains we came across led us to branded TLD domain names that were already established. This shows that businesses could stand to benefit in the search engines by using 301 redirects to their non-keyword rich domains, but also that new businesses could benefit from building their websites on a new gTLD domain name alone.
The Register reported that there is another report from a German SEO company: “While admitting that it needs to look at a larger sample to definitively conclude the impact of the domain extension, the study found that on average dot-Berlin names came 1.18 positions higher.”
What I would like to do is do a test and compare rankings for 3 domain names: a KeywordKeyword.com, a Keyword.Keyword New gTLD and a KeywordKeyword.genericNewgtld (such as .website).