ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) recently voted and subsequently agreed that companies can create new Top Level Domains for their websites. Similar to most changes and innovations on the Web, this has sent ripples through the digital marketing world already, enflaming imaginations as to what this may mean in terms of Search Engine Optimisation possibilities. However, before we all get too excited, it is important to consider a few very important factors.
Obviously it would be very cool indeed to own yourbusinessname.success as opposed to the normal .com, .co.uk or other regional variation TLDs. Unfortunately with this new innovation comes quite a hefty price. Early indications suggest that the application process for a new TLD will cost around $185,000, which is certainly a steep price to pay in anyone’s opinion.
According to Sean, of SEO Philippines, such a price tag will undoubtedly not sit will with the CEOs of all but the largest international brands (so expect to see your favourite soft-drink/chocolate/car manufacturer producers adopt new TLDs soon!). On the off-chance that you have a spare $185,000 sitting in your bank account and wish to apply for a new TLD you might be interested in what SEO benefits you might receive for your investment. Although we cannot be 100% sure, it seems that there will be little or no benefit at all.
We all know that Google look for relevancy above the vast majority of factors when indexing sites, but it seems incredibly doubtful that having your keyword as your TLD will mean that you rank highly for that keyword. If there is one thing we all have learnt from the recent Panda/Farmer updates, its that you cannot buy your way to the top with underhand tactics, so before all the regular wailing and gnashing of teeth begins; the SEO game has not changed!
Whilst it is beneficial to have your keyword as part of your domain name, e.g. davesweedkillerspray.com, it seems there will be little or no SEO benefit in purchasing davesweedkillerspray.weedkiller.
I come to this conclusion purely because what would stop a quick-off-the-mark marketer in buying up some brand/trademark TLDs and ranking above them for a less relevant website? Google doesn’t allow that now and the advent of new TLDs is extremely unlikely to change this in the future.
So before you make that application to ICANN, remember that the purchase of the new TLDs may look cool and be a good branding tool, but don’t expect it to help you in the rankings at all, because it is very doubtful that it will
Peter Ridgard is an SEO Specialist for Bluesky Interactive, providing digital marketing solutions to the automotive industry.