Google: Migrating To A Keyword-TLD Won't Improve Rankings

Jun 7, 2016 - 8:23 am 35 by

Google Tlds

Search Engine Land, a site I am proud of, posted a sponsored piece of content named Can moving to a new TLD boost search rankings? and documents how one lawyer showed huge success when migrating from a .COM to a .ATTORNEY.

As soon as that piece was posted, John Mueller of Google posted a "reminder" on Twitter saying Just a reminder: "Keywords in a TLD do not give any advantage or disadvantage in search." He linked to this blog post on how Google handles these new TLDs, which we covered with Google: New TLDs Have No Magical SEO Bonus back in 2015 when it was posted.

Gary Illyes from Google then chimed in mocking it on Twitter saying ""But my study based on this one domain... " Your study might be flawed?" And John Mueller posted again on Google+ saying "Changing domain names isn't trivial, there's a lot of work involved. I don't recommend doing that for vague promises."

I'd agree to be honest. Changing domains or even URLs hoping to see a ranking boost is scary. You are more likely to see a drop than a pick up.

However, Danny Sullivan responded to John on Twitter saying "@JohnMu so you've said keywords in a URL have tiny impact … but not in domain, which is part if a URL? Which is it?"

John did not respond.

My opinion is simple. I don't think changing URLs is ever a good thing, even in site CMS migrations. Keep the URL the same if possible. If not and you cannot do that. Then go wild and have fun but make sure the 301s are set up in a one to one relationship.

I do wonder if Google specifically says keywords in a TLD has zero impact at all versus keywords in the URL or filename. Google did not say that, but they clearly are trying to avoid SEOs from telling their clients to migrate their domains to a keyword TLD, because of all the bad that can come from that.

Forum discussion at Twitter.


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