New TLDs Will Not Easily Outrank .com DomainsPosted: March 14, 2012
With new TLDs coming soon and the whole process and launch being unprecedented, some people have high expectations for them.
Blogger Adrian Kinderis of ARI Registry Services proclaimed that new TLDs will give .com a run for its money in Google rankings. While this is a stance we disagree with, there were some true points made.
If we take a look at how Google treats extensions today, we do sometimes see other extensions preferred over .com. Often .edu and .gov sites have some weight on some informational terms. If you’re outside the US, you may find Google results filled with sites with your country’s extension.
These cases aside, .com is not invincible in the rankings – in fact, some sources such as SEOMoz have indicated .org can rank nearly as well as .com. In areas where .org is commonly used, some terms bring up more .org results than .com on page 1.
That said, why is the notion of new TLDs outranking .com flawed?
1. TLD age difference
It doesn’t necessarily matter if one TLD is older than another. After all, .com domains are registered daily, generally resulting in more brand new domains and sites on .com than on any new TLD.
That said, there are tens of millions of .com domains that are older than all .co domains for instance. Additionally, established sites on those domains would have higher site age and backlinks to it would be more highly aged. These are all factors that Google takes into account for SEO, so right off the bat, many .com sites will have an advantage over non-.com generally speaking.
2. Higher trust leading to better clickthrough
When new TLDs hit, anyone who hasn’t been following the news about them will be thrown for a loop. Whether or not new TLDs will see a higher amount of scamming and spamming is up for debate, but people generally have a fear of the unknown, which may impact their clickthrough rate to domains on new TLDs.
That said, particularly poor, spammy looking .com domains can just as easily deter searchers. Simply getting a .com isn’t enough to appear more trusted than a new TLD domain, which is why we always stress getting a better domain.
3. Existing prominent brands won’t have much incentive to move
Let’s face it – on many of the most lucrative search terms, the companies that consistently rank well for them are often the household names that have built up over many years. They often have huge sites with massive amounts of links going to them along with heavy site and domain age as we’ve mentioned.
While new TLDs will certainly have appeal to some startups, it’s unlikely they will lure many existing companies over to them – especially not the prominent brands. In fact, it’s likely that Overture’s failed leap of faith with O.co will stick in the backs of many big business owners’ minds in keeping them from venturing off their established domain.
The one exception to this will be .brand extensions obviously. Companies getting their .brand could very well center their online presence on it. It still remains to be seen however whether a .brand would help a company if they moved their primary presence to it. Some of them may just keep it for forwarding to their existing site.
4. Without high adoption, Google won’t budge
Some of the new TLDs will pose interesting scenarios. Will a secure .bank TLD see online banks flock to it? Will an industry-backed .music create official artist pages that carry some weight? It’s all conjecture at this point, but we have had examples in the past that haven’t boded well.
Did .travel see massive travel industry adoption? Did .pro lure in many skilled professionals? Did .jobs become the go-to extension for business posting available jobs online? Did .mobi become the main extension for mobile sites to be on? Did .biz unite the business world in a single home TLD? The answer to all of these is of course no.
The new TLD program will surely be different in that rather than handfuls of generic extensions, there will be hundreds. Many feel that will push the odds more into the new TLDs’ favor, but it could just as easily create mass chaos which would benefit .com.
Unless Google sees a viable reason to bias another extension up over .com, it won’t. Unless Google sees a viable reason to place a TLD on the same playing field as the long-time established extensions .com, .net and .org it tends to favor globally over the rest, it won’t. So the question is – will any new TLDs wow Google into showing them some search ranking love?