In the first round of testing on new gTLDs and SEO rankings back in 2014, Globe Runner, ran Google AdWords campaigns and sent traffic to a keyword rich domain .com domain name and, at the same time, sent clicks to a keyword rich .DIAMONDS domain name. They used 3caratDiamonds.com and 3Carat.Diamonds, and used the exact same keywords, ad copy, and landing pages. The only difference was the domain name.
New gTLD Conclusions
When it comes to migrating to a new domain name, Google certainly has made it clear, multiple times, that they’re not giving any extra ranking weight to any of the New gTLD domain names. Back in 2015, they stated that “Overall, our systems treat new gTLDs like other gTLDs (like .com & .org). Keywords in a TLD do not give any advantage or disadvantage in search.”
But what’s interesting to note, however, is the fact that keyword rich exact match domain names, especially those that have keywords in their endings, tend to rank fairly well. I have some ideas about why this is so, here are a few:
- A brand new domain (such as a New gTLD) doesn’t have a bad history. In fact, it has no history that could hold it back from ranking well. It’s not that the keyword rich TLD is helping, it’s just not hurting. That can be a good thing.
- A site that moves to a new domain name that migrates successfully using SEO best practices will not suffer rankings issues, whether or not it’s a keyword rich New gTLD domain.
- In the cases where a site moves from a .COM to a keyword rich New gTLD domain usually moves because they’re moving to a better domain. Have a better, shorter, more memorable domain is better for users. What’s better for users could potentially help rankings.
- While over 17 million New gTLD domains have been registered (see https://ntldstats.com/tld for current data), we just don’t have enough live sites on the New gTLDs. Over 400 million domain names have been registered, and 17 million is a small number of that. That’s one reason we just don’t see them showing up for search queries that we’re performing on a regular basis.
- The fact that we’re not SEEING New gTLD domains rank doesn’t mean that they’re NOT ranking well and using one will help rankings.
- Google still relies on link data as a part of their algorithm. So, a change in a site’s anchor text, especially to a site that uses a keyword rich New gTLD domain, could actually help rankings. Links include keywords in the URL, and keywords in the anchor text. This may be helping more than we think.
So what’s the answer to the original question, “Does Moving To a New gTLD Domain Name Help Rankings?”. The answer, honestly, is that we don’t know yet. We certainly have some proof that moving a site to a New gTLD domain or using a New gTLD domain for your brand new domain could help organic rankings, and it certainly won’t hurt rankings. If the migration is done correctly, a site won’t lose rankings.