Google Webmaster Blog has posted a new blog post regarding all the new gTLDs (generic top level domains) that have been making their debut recently and how Google is handling those new gTLDs from a ranking and SEO perspective.
Most notably, Google states that essentially they treat all gTLDs, including the new brand gTLDs, the same as any other gTLD in the search index.
They also talk about the new regional and city TLDs, such as .london or .bayern. In these cases, they are being treated – at least for now – as a gTLD rather than something region-specific.
Country specific TLDs – ccTLDs – are still being used for geotargeting purposes. “By default, most ccTLDs (with exceptions) result in Google using these to geotarget the website; it tells us that the website is probably more relevant in the appropriate country.”
They note that they can crawl and index Internationalized Domain Names (IDN) as they can any other domains.
Q: What about IDN TLDs such as .みんな? Can Googlebot crawl and index them, so that they can be used in search?
A: Yes. These TLDs can be used the same as other TLDs (it’s easy to check with a query like [site:みんな]). Google treats the Punycode version of a hostname as being equivalent to the unencoded version, so you don’t need to redirect or canonicalize them separately. For the rest of the URL, remember to use UTF-8 for the path & query-string in the URL, when using non-ASCII characters.
This was also something that John Mueller commented on in a Google Webmaster Office Hours last year, reiterating something Matt Cutts said previously about it not making a difference from a rankings perspective which TLDs were used for a site.
With everyone looking for an SEO edge when it comes to ranking, the new types of gTLDs won’t make a difference, with the possible exception of ccTLDs being used for geotargeting purposes by Google.
But with .com domains in hot demand, many webmasters are looking towards the alternative gTLDs in order to secure their chosen domain name, it is a good reminder on how Google handles various TLDs.
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