Google FAQs on Their Handling of TLDs!

Jul 22, 2015 | 1,533 views | by Ritu Sharma
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Google has attempted to clear the air about their handling of the new top level domains (TLDs) in response to the questions and misconceptions regarding it.

The search engine does not give preferential treatment to any TLD. However, there are a few geo-specific TLDs that the algorithm would default to a specific country, using it as an indicator to find if a website carries more weight in a specific geographic region.

Google published a useful Q&A on the topic:

Q: Do new gTLDs affect search?

A: The algorithm would treat new gTLDs (generic top level domains) like any other gTLDs like .com and .org. There is no advantage or disadvantage in search due to presence of keywords in a TLD.

Q: Can Googlebot crawl and index IDN TLDs such as .みんな?

A: Google regards Internationalized Domain Name (IDN) enabled domain names just as other TLDs. One can check with a query like [site:みんな]). The Punycode version of a hostname is treated as an equivalent to the unencoded version, so there is no need to redirect or canonicalize them separately. As for the rest of the URL, Google suggests to use UTF-8 for the path and query-string in the URL, when non-ASCII characters are being used.

Q: Do .BRAND TLD given any more or less weight than a .com?

A: The system treats .BRAND TLDs the same as the other gTLDs. These TLDs require the same geotargeting settings and configuration. Crawling, indexing, or ranking .BRAND URLs carries no extra weight or influence.

Q: How does Google handle new region or city TLDs (like .london or .bayern).

A: Region-specific TLDs are given at per treatment like other gTLDs. Google’s policy of handing city TLDs is consistent with their handling of regional TLDs like .eu and .asia. However, depending on their use in practice, there may be exceptions. Webmasters running multi-regional and multilingual sites may need to set geotargeting in Search Console where relevant.

Q: What are real ccTLDs (country code top-level domains) handled? Are ccTLDs (like .uk, .ae, etc.) favored as a local domain for people searching in the specific countries?

A: By default, the system uses it to determine the website’s relevancy regarding a country. Most ccTLDs (with exceptions) are used to geotarget the website. Help center on multi-regional and multilingual sites may provide more information in this regard.

Q: How can a site be moved from .com to a new TLD without any negative effect on search ranking or history?

A: Google treats such moves just like any other site move. Extensive documentation in our Help Center. These moves are treated the same as any other site move. However, domain changes do take time when processing for search and it is better to register a domain that one needs to use for long term.

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Ritu from PageTraffic is a qualified Google Adwords Professional and Content Head at PageTraffic. She has been the spear head for many successful Search Marketing Campaigns and currently oversees Content Marketing operations of PageTraffic in India.