Google Switzerland employee John Mueller has confirmed that top level domains are not used as a Google search ranking factor. When asked about TLDs during a Google Webmaster Central office hours hangout interview, Mueller said: “The TLD is not something we take into account.” He later confirmed that the full TLD portion of a URL is omitted from Google’s search ranking calculations.
What is a TLD?
TLD stands for top-level domain – it refers to the portion of a web address that follows the domain name (so in targetinternet.com, .com is the TLD).
In the web’s earlier days the majority of widely used TLDs simply referred to the website’s country of origin, e.g.
Notable exceptions included .com and .org.
In recent years, a more descriptive class of top-level domains known as ‘generic TLDs’ have been released or risen to prominence, spawning greater creativity and freedom in the creation of web addresses. Here are a few examples of generic TLDs:
These so-called generic TLDs are immensely varied and numerous. All the options currently in-use are listed here.
There are some people in the search marketing industry who would contest Mueller’s assertion that a site’s TLD will not affect its organic Google rankings – but his response seems so sure as to banish doubt from the equation.
Even if TLDs don’t directly boost your search rankings, they could indirectly increase your rankings by improving your click-through rate.
Generic TLDs like .careers and .pharmacy are still relatively new as a fixture of the mainstream online marketplace. This opens up fresh opportunities to secure the kind of perfectly formed, keyword rich domain names that were pretty much all snapped up years ago on the original TLDs. As a rule, the better your URL, the better your click-through rate.
URLs with generic TLDs provide the web user with an extra indication as to what your website is all about, and that can only be a good thing.
Even if you don’t have the resources to trial a new website on a generic TLD at the present time, we would highly recommend purchasing a few domains for later use or resale. There’ll never be a better time to snap up some real bargains.
We’d like to add this caveat to our positive words on generic TLDs: do not choose a TLD for your site that is also one of your primary target keywords for SEO – you’ll want that word to be in the preceding part of your URL instead, to maximise SEO value.