Google Search On Top Level Domains: Spammy, Keyword Rich, Coming Soon Page & More

Jul 24, 2023 - 7:41 am 3 by

Google Search Off The Record Podcast

Google posted a new Search Off The Record podcast all around picking a domain name and SEO. This was recorded by John Mueller, Gary Illyes, and Martin Splitt of Google. They spoke about checking if the domain is spammy, the price of TLDs, whether you should add keywords to your domain, and launching a new domain with a coming soon page.

Here are quick bullet points of what nuggets I pulled out of this podcast but it is worth listening to the whole thing:

  • Maybe stay away from free or cheap domains because they might have a lot of spammy domains on that TLD. "Because of spammers," Gary Illyes said that they tend to use cheap domains. "If the TLD is filled with spam, then search engines might have trouble finding your content," John Mueller added.
  • For geo-targeting, it might make sense to buy the ccTLD version but some are treated at generic TLDs, so make sure (here is the list)
  • Keyword-rich domains don't really help much for rankings, Gary said that picking a domain is more of a business decision. Gary said when it comes to keywords in the domain, "Anything that's in the URL can be technically manipulated by the site owner. So we probably don't want to put that much weight on that kind of input. Which means that in ranking, it might not help as much as people think it does."
  • Are .edu TLDs good? Nah, Gary Illyes said. "The myth is that a .edu and .gov domain, or getting links from those will give you more juice or whatever," Gary added.
  • Check the Wayback Machine before buying a domain (including an expired domain name) to make sure it didn’t do anything spammy in the past. This is because you can’t check search console to see if it has a manual action prior to buying it.
  • Naked domains versus showing the www for the domain are both fine. The important part is to just be consistent and make sure both work (one redirects to another).
  • Don't use coming soon pages because, John Mueller said, "I think the thing with the "Coming Soon" page is search engines will look at it and be like, "Oh, there's nothing here." We should stop looking at this website," he said. "And you kind of want them to look at it when it's ready, not before it's ready," he added.

If you want to read the transcript, you can find it over here.

Here are some points Glenn Gabe took out from this podcast:

Forum discussion at Twitter.


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