Google's John Mueller answered a question about new top-level domains (nTLDs). These are domains like .tool or .shopping. Mueller answered the question and commented on each SEO score for nTLDs.
New Top Level Domains (nTLDs)
A generic top-level domain is like .com, .net, and .org.
There is another type of domain associated with countries called a country code top-level domain (ccTLD). Examples of ccTLDs are .uk and .ru.
There are other types of domains known as sponsored top-level domains. Examples of sponsored top-level domains are .edu and .mil.
The question that John Mueller answered had to do with a new type of domain called top-level domains (nTLDs).
An nTLD is a generic top-level domain that usually consists of a keyword. As mentioned above, typical examples of nTLDs are .tool and .shopping, but also .job, .dentist and .marketing.
Question about the SEO benefits of nTLD keyword domains
The question tried to understand how Google indexed nTLDs and whether there were any benefits.
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Mueller from Google answered the question and added possible SEO benefits to his answer.
That is the question:
"I want to know how Google is indexing websites with new extensions like Dot Club or Dot Tools.
Is there a preference for indexing dotcom domains over these? "
Generic top-level domains are treated equally
Google's John Mueller replied:
“Therefore we treat all new top-level domains like any other generic top-level domain.
So there is no added value in having keywords in the top-level domain. There is no added value in having city or country names in the top-level domain.
We'll treat them all essentially like any other generic top-level domain like leica.com.
So from that point of view, if you can find a domain name that is well suited for your website and that you want to keep for the long term, and it's a new top-level domain, then this is definitely the one to go for. I think that's perfectly fine. "
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No SEO bonus for new top-level domains
Google's Mueller added that a keyword that matches nTLD has no SEO benefit.
“But also remember that there is no bonus for using a particularly well-fitting top-level domain.
From an SEO perspective, we wouldn't treat these as anything better than other generic top-level domains. "
How Google treats top-level domains
In the past, Google treated generic top-level domains differently than top-level domains with a country code (.uk, .ru, etc.).
Google uses many country code level domains (ccTLDs) as a signal for which country Google should display a website in order to locate the search result of a website that uses a country code domain.
This is why people in the US in general may not see results from a .uk domain and why search results in Ireland may prefer a .ie domain.
According to a Google support page on internationalization:
“If your site has a country-coded top-level domain (such as .ie or .fr), it is already mapped to a geographic region (Ireland or France in this example).
If you are using a country-coded domain, you cannot specify a geographic location. You can specify a target country in the International Targeting report. "
Understanding that Google treated many ccTLDs as a geographic localization ranking signal may have inspired SEOs to wonder if Google prefers other types of domains.
For example, the SEO community has long believed that .edu domains ranked in a special way, and because of this, links from .edu websites were rated higher than links from popular generic top-level domains like .com.
Still, Googlers have long insisted that Google treat .edu websites no differently from other generic top-level domains. Although .edu domains are a sponsored top-level domain, John Mueller's answer can be seen as in line with previous statements that no indexing or ranking preference is displayed for any type of top-level domain (with the documented exception of country code top-level domains)).
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Mueller said that Google does not treat New Top Level Domains (nTLDs) any differently than generic Top Level Domains. This is good information as it will help fill in the knowledge gaps in Google's handling of various generic top-level domains. This is also helpful as we can rule out the SEO advantages of a keyword-related nTLD as a reason for registering an nTLD.
There are many good reasons to register an nTLD. However, according to Google's John Mueller, SEO benefits are not one of the reasons.