Does using new domain extensions negatively impact SEO?

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A few years ago, there weren’t many options for domain name extensions; the only options of registering a domain were .com, .org, or .net extensions. However, recently, many domain name registry companies have expanded the list of options due to growing demands.

Before investing in a premium new domain extension, we need to understand its effects.

The general consensus is that using .com, .edu, and .org is best for ranking on search engines. Many SEOs have also indicated that using new domain name extensions is a bad idea because you risk damaging your search engine rankings.

There hasn’t been many cases to support the assumption that new domain name extensions are a bad idea. Daniel Negari, CEO of .xyz, who is a domain registry operator for a scope of new extensions, express in a case study that there is inaccuracy with negative hype abut using new top-level domains.

Findings of Negari’s case study

Negari’s objective was to prove that the .car extension can rank as well as a top level domain like .com. He collaborated with Lucra Cars, an automobile manufacturer in Southern California to replace its old domain, Lucra.com, with Lucra.cars. All Lucra.com URLs were redirected to the new domain, and the site structure was kept intact in order to eliminate other factors that might affect Lucra’s search engine results page.

Even though the domain initially loses its search rankings, it subsequently rebounds back where the company regains its number one ranking for its own domain name. Negari’s conclusions of his case study is that new domain name extensions do not harm SEO.

Limitations of Negari’s case study

Although Negari’s case study shows that it is possible for a brank to rank on the top of Google’s search result page with a new domain extension, there are some limitations with his case study:

  • Findings are only anecdotal and not scientific. A larger sample size of websites would be needed to draw concrete conclusions.
  • Negari conducted his case study based on a brand name term rather than a generic keyword phrase such as “boutique car manufacturer.” It is difficult to gage how Lucra would rank in the industry with other keyword phrases.
  • Negari pointed out that other domains using his extensions are ranking for more general terms such as abc.xyz for the term “alphabet” but this keyword is not a highly targeted term.
  • Negari’s findings indicate that brand names can rank high even with new domain extensions.

 

Google algorithm could change to reflect new domain extensions

Even if Google’s current algorithm does penalize domains using these new domain extensions, Google may change its algorithm in the future. Many specialists believe that search engine users will eventually prefer shorter and more relevant domains where Google may change its algorithm to meet user preferences.

Although the jury is still out on whether or not these new domain extensions will affect your rankings, it does appear that the expected negative impact is actually lower than predicted.

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