Google is letting webmasters know about how it handles new top level domains. The company says that as many new generic TLDs become available, it wants to provide some insight into how they’re handled in Google search as it has seen and heard a lot of misconceptions about the topic.
The most important thing to note is that Google will generally treat the new gTLDs just like any other gTLDs like .com, .org, etc. Keywords in the TLD do not give it any advantage or disadvantage in search, it says.
IDN TLDs such as .みんな can be used just like any other TLDs, and Google treats the Punycode version of a hostname as being equivalent to the unencoded version. This means you won’t have to redirect or canonicalize them separately. Google does say to use UTF-8 for the path & query-string in the URL, when using non-ASCII characters.
Branded TLDs will not be given any more or less weight. Google says they’ll be treated the same as other gTLDs.
“They will require the same geotargeting settings and configuration, and they won’t have more weight or influence in the way we crawl, index, or rank URLs,” notes Google Webmaster Trends analyst John Mueller.
Google will treat those that look region-specific (such as .london) the same as any other gTLDs.
“This is consistent with our handling of regional TLDs like .eu and .asia,” says Mueller. “There may be exceptions at some point down the line, as we see how they’re used in practice. See our help center for more information on multi-regional and multilingual sites, and set geotargeting in Search Console where relevant.”
Google will still use ccTLDs to help it geotarget websites. It assumes that if the domain utilizes a country’s ccTLD, it’s probably relevant to that country.
Google has a section in its help center to help webmasters and SEOs move their site from their current domain to a new TLD. If this is something you plan on undertaking, you’ll probably want to take a good look at that.
Image via Google