It’s a subject on which there are numerous misconceptions throughout the search marketplace: how does Google handle the rankings for Generic Top Level Domains (GTLDs)? This is a subject of particular importance as new GTLDs are being introduced, including .how and .guru. Companies want to know how their new websites might be ranked with a change in their domain names. And Google has now responded with precise answers to these pressing online branding questions. In this article, we’ll outline several answers from Google on the subject of Generic Top Level Domains.

Is Google Changing its Search Algorithm to Favour GTLDs?

The current Google algorithm treats GTLDs in the same way as other TLDs such as .com and .org. They also don’t give any extra ranking weight to GTLDs that include keywords within the domain name.

How are Region-Specific GTLDs handled by the Google Algorithms?

Currently, there is no extra ranking benefits to having a region specific GTLD such as .london. Google has been consistent in maintaining parity between region specific domains in search. However, they do say that this might change in future as they seek to provide local users with more relevant content.

How Can I Move My Site from a .com to a Region-Specific Domain?

There is comprehensive information available within Google’s Webmaster Help Center on how to move a site’s content from a .com to a region-specific domain. However, because these moves take time, (especially those involving a broad search campaign), it’s best for companies to think long-term when planning to move to a region-specific domain.

So, while there’s no inherent SEO advantage in switching to a GTLD, the move might be beneficial for some organizations, depending on their campaign objectives in the short and long-term. To learn the latest on Google’s Generic Top Level Domains policy, speak with one of our search market experts directly!