New City Based Domains and TLDs Will Not Help You Rank Better in Local Search
I’ll clarify and qualify the statement in that headline. New TLDs are rolling out soon. A TLD is a Top Level Domain Name. If you owned MySite.com, the .com part is the TLD.New TLDs that represent specific geographical areas are about to be available for registration. They are already being marketed as TLDs that will greatly improve your rankings in search engines when people search for real estate agents or anything else.
Currently, that is not true.
A generic domain name used to be an advantage in search results. So, something like RealEstateAtlanta.com had a greater chance of ranking well for a search for real estate in Atlanta. But changes Google made have made this an obsolete method of ranking your website better in organic search results.
From Search Engine Journal
Many SEO strategists would purchase exact match domains (EMDs), which are domains that exactly match the keyword phrase they are targeting. For example, if they want to rank for “buy green widgets” the person might purchase BuyGreenWidgets.com. EMDs offered two advantages.
- The presence of the keyword phrase in the domain was itself a ranking factor.
- The presence of the keyword phrase in the domain encouraged other webmasters to include
- The keyword phrase in the anchor text when linking to the site.
However, in light of recent Google updates (especially the “EMD update”), EMDs are no longer as helpful as they once were.
- High Position’s study indicated that the “average EMD ranking went from #13.4 down to #26.6,” and the “average top 10 EMD went from #3.2 down to #11.9.”
- SEOmoz data shows that EMD correlation with ranking has dropped from 0.34 in 2010 to 0.18 in 2012.
In light of the trend since 2010, many SEOs feel that EMDs and other keyword domains may become even less beneficial in the future. This does not mean that you should necessarily avoid or abandon keyword domains, but it does mean that keywords shouldn’t be the primary factor you consider when choosing a domain.
So how does that apply to the new TLDs that represent cities like dot nyc?
Geographical TLDs already exist like .asia and .eu
According to Google
Although these domains are associated with a geographical region, they are generally treated as generic top-level domains (much like .com or .org).
So, unless Google decides to give a new weight to these city-specific TLDs, they won’t give you much, if any advantage in search results, no matter how much the companies selling domains on those TLDs say they will.
I’m not saying you should not register a domain name using one of these TLDs, but don’t do it because you think it will somehow magically help you rank better in search engines.
In an adwords ad, people may click your ad more because of the TLD. On social media, they might do the same. But the benefits of having a domain name on the new city TLDs may be outweighed by the disadvantages.
How much money and time have you spent on marketing and building links to your current website? Are you willing to abandon that to promote a new website from scratch? If you split your budget and time between your current website and the new one, each will be less effective.
Simply buying a domain name on one of the new city TLDs and “pointing” or “redirecting” it to your current domain name negates any advantage the city-specific TLD would give you. Redirected domains don’t rank. They have no content.
If you move your website to the city-specific TLD domain name and point your current domain name to it, then you’ll lose all of the value you’ve built into your current domain name.
So, before you run out and grab up domain names in all the cities you want to rank well in, consider the implications. It’s more complicated than the sellers of these domains will tell you.
Local Search Optimization is likely way more effective and you can do that with your current website. Hope these things help you make a wise decision about all the new TLDs that will be rolling out.
PS: The same applies to other new TLDs. The word or abbreviation after the dot won’t have much, if any effect on your search engine rankings.
A long time ago, dot tv tried to convince people that it was the only tld to use if you plan to share video. But, you can obviously share video from a website on any TLD.
Then came dot mobi, touted as the only TLD to have for mobile websites, and once again, responsive web design means any website on any TLD can be accessed by mobile devices.
Don’t fall for the hype. Make smart choices.