What it means is, if you’re a business organization, and you buy a gTLD that embodies your community; like.BEER if you own a brewery, will your SEO ranking get higher than if you had a .com or.biz domain?

To tell you the bare naked truth, no one really knows. All the Mr. wise pants predicting the outcome are merely throwing the bull and their foretelling ability is as good as the Mayan’s.

So what do naivettes like us do? Ask the big players of the game? BAD IDEA! Major search engine, Google, is keeping its cards extremely close to its chest.

It remains hazy whether it’ll change its algorithms to incorporate gTLDs. And if it does make any changes, unless you’re Rajnikanth, you can’t predict the outcome. Reason?

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SEO algorithms rely heavily on user participation and we all know how unpredictable and bizarre users are in terms of what they search.

Therefore, until gTLDs are implemented even Google doesn’t have iota of an idea what the outcome will be.

So when there are already too many cooks spoiling the broth by baseless predictions, why don’t we join the party too.

Will a TLD akin to my business act as a keyword?

One of the theories recently floating is that gTLDs will help SEO results by adding another keyword to the domain string. So in case, you own a pet store, a . PET TLD will be a boon in your domain string.

Also in the same vein, some point out that DNS reads domains right to left, so if an extension doubles as a keyword, the right of dot will combine with left of the dot and increase your ranking in search engines.

(Kinda like Sachin Tendulkar coming out with his clone to open for India. Or a movie with two Salman Khans in it. Oops, that already happened in “Judwaa” and it didn’t turn out nicely.)

Back to the point, the deliberate veil by search engines on their algorithms only adds to the problem. Currently, some gTLDs are given more weight than others. Search for a particular university, and.EDU gTLDs will top the list- even above Wiki.

Similarly.MIL and.GOV are generally highly trusted gTLDs with search engines, because they’re carefully managed, and contain authoritative content, with little or possibly no spam.

On the contrary, .INFO gTLDs are weighted less because they’re associated with spam sites. So, since search engines already weight TLDs, there is an off chance that they might do it on new ones too.

How will small businesses, personal sites and minor corporations be affected?

Microsoft, Google, and Samsung are some of the larger corporations applying for gTLDs. Since they’re wide-spread and humongous brands, having their branded gTLDs like.SAMSUNG will help their SEO performance.

But if the internet were to be an ocean, they’re whales and sharks, i.e., big fishes, and we’re the tiny-miny guppy fishes. What about us? Will it be economical?

Also Read: What is Digital Information Security in Healthcare Act (DISHA) in India?

Well, since none of the new gTLDs are currently on market, predicting their prices is akin to guessing what gibberish Digvijay Singh might spout next. In case new gTLDs are priced grotesquely high, will it be worthy for small corporations/businesses to invest in it and expect a decent ROI?

Because of extensions like.TRAVEL has been around for ages with little effect. Go ahead and find a single.TRAVEL domain that ranks well for the popular travel-related phrases.

OK. I got the point. What should I do now?

As already mentioned, speculating on the topic is a wild goose chase. So if you’re in a dilemma as to whether you want to register a gTLD or not, ask yourself some questions:

  • How long is your brand name, and would it make a good extension?
  • Are there other potentially confusing similar gTLDs that could be registered, and preclude registration of your brand?
  • Other than marketing novelty and brand protection, what value does this new gTLD bring that your brand.com doesn’t?
  • How do you approach a redirection plan and content strategy? A sample graph below will show you how a site which renewed its URL with no redirection plan, got a major spike in 404 errors and never fully recovered.

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Finally, remember that domain name is the axis point of ALL the traffic on your site. So take a well-thought and informed decision, determine what gTLDs might work for you and keep an eye on them as they move through the application process.

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They’re not available for purchase, yet, anyway, so you’ve all the time in the world to decide. Whenever in doubt, come back to this handy-dandy guidebook.