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Google Claims All Top Level Domains (TLDs) Treated Same.

Any Extension Carries Same Weight and Keyword in Domains (EMD) Don't Help

     
8:39 pm on Jul 21, 2015 (gmt 0)

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It's official in this episode of myth buster...

Google clears the air today claiming they any top level domain is weighted the same and keywords in domains,, such as exact match domains, don't carry any weight.

Q: How will new gTLDs affect search? Is Google changing the search algorithm to favor these TLDs? How important are they really in search?
A: Overall, our systems treat new gTLDs like other gTLDs (like .com & .org). Keywords in a TLD do not give any advantage or disadvantage in search.

[googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.ca...]

I've been saying forever that the domain extension didn't matter but a lot of people had that idea stuck in their head which left me some very cherry domain in other extensions.

Of course some people read the horoscope, visit psychics and listen to Enya too. :)
7:55 am on July 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Google clears the air today claiming they any top level domain is weighted the same and keywords in domains,, such as exact match domains, don't carry any weight.


I'm sure they have not explicitly scored EMTLD, but then I doubt they explicitly score EMD- it's an epiphenomenal result.

Unless they take a suppressive approach (as they did recently with EMD), I would be surprised if there was not any real-world impact (as opposed to algo scoring).
2:11 pm on July 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Pffft, yeah, right, and there is absolutely no bias towards US companies in non-Google.com SERPs?
2:54 pm on July 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Nice find. Even though they are side stepping the whole, "Do EMD's benefit more from brand name anchor text links than other domains?" thing.
3:52 pm on July 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Yes, and these words could be meaningless with an update tomorrow. As an aside, EMD's actually seem to cause negative effects rather than be treated equally.
2:29 am on July 23, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I don't follow keyword positions much, but a quick look at some terms seemed to return a fairly even mix of authority sites mixed with partial match domains.
I wouldn't expect any real preference in example.com vs example,info vs example.whatever other than users who are fairly accustomed to .com
4:50 am on July 23, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Doesn't match what I've seen.

I had a contract not so long ago to advise on a rescue package following a switch from 'brandkeyword.com' to 'brand.co', done 100% correctly, using WMT, all 301s correct (over one hop). They even picked up some media links from the switch because the domain purchase was noteworthy. All internal urls unchanged, no new content, no change in hosts, no Google updates around that time, new domain squeaky clean history. Immediate and permanent 25 place drop in the SERPs for their two biggest terms.

I was forced to conclude it was either the domain or the domain extension, so I think Google are fibbing on at least one count.
7:56 pm on July 23, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I would also agree with Google doing a bit of fibbing.

I've moved from 'exampleuk.com' to a 'example.info' domain, done 100% correctly, all 301s correct, over one hop. New domain a nice clean history. Horrible slash in traffic which I've never managed to recover from.
5:58 pm on July 24, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Wow james007 - what time frame are we talking about?

I redirect 50-100 domains per month with 2 hops 5-14 days for the first and 5-14 days for the second. In fact, with the most recent domain that had a very well established link profile the 2 hops happened in 7 days... it's rare but it has happened before.

I can honestly tell you a single hop actually feels like two since the PageRank dampening factor the links you got from other websites at about 85% of passed PageRank is actually 72% with a redirect and because that is about 12% difference across the board if your competition below you were only marginally below you that is where your horrible slash in traffic went. Just a thought from someone that does this almost every day of the month for the past 10 years.
6:17 pm on July 24, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Google claims FUD.

Let's say you have a domain that's MajorKeywod.com

Now, if million scrapers (including Google) scrape your site and make links to your domain ... what would their "click a button to make spam", auto website generating software do? "MajorKeyword.com" and "Major Keyword". Now , buddy, aren't you a bad spammer, your link count with KW "major keyword" is blowing past Google's secret limits indicating a typical link spam, generating all kinds of alarm bells in Google's algo. Boom, Penguin just ate your lunch.

This doesn't work for brandable domains as links like Amazon, Amazon.com etc. considered to be good regardless how many there are.

And there's nothing you can do about it.
6:33 pm on July 24, 2015 (gmt 0)

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What they are saying is that your sites majorkeword.com , majorkeyword.info, majorkeyword.sometld etc. are going to sink in SERPs equally, regardles of .com, .info or some other .sometld versus Brand.anything.
7:20 pm on July 24, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Google can claim whatever it wants, but it's not infrequent where what they say and what the reality of search is match up perfectly. Yes, EMD are not what they used to be, but they are still 'liked' by Google. As far as domain extensions, I rarely see anything other than a .com/.net/.org (and maybe a .info once in a while) in the search results. Perhaps in really low competition categories the TLD does not matter, but I've experienced otherwise. If there is concrete proof (other than Google spouting off) then I'd love to see it as it'll save me a ton of money on domain purchases.
8:15 pm on July 24, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@smilie your keyword example is somewhat far-fetched as no scraper would intentionally split up a domain name like searchengineoptimization(dot)com or search-engine-optimization(dot)com thus the link anchors are not unnatural so no major aid to ranking the keywords and no penalty plus you are likely to already rank for your domain name.
9:45 pm on July 24, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@fathom. I've been de-Penguining 10+ sites , analyzing down to every single link on several, with a several tools and with several very high end math people looking over our shoulder. It takes one line of php code especially on Major-Keyword.com domains. There are other major factors in play, such as your title tag , which may be "Major Widgets on MajorWidgets.com" or "Major Widgets - MajorWidgets.com" etc . numerous combinations when you can shoot yourself in the foot there, including you doing something on one page that can affect the whole site or set of KWs penalized or devalued. Most danger in this regard is for EMDs.

Spammers who are above level 1 are more sophisticated than you think and will do their best to scrape and create UNIQUE content easiest AUTOMATED way possible. So let's say a spammer just scraped 10,000 sites (him and another 500 spammers), how does he differentiate himself against content being identical to everyone else? (guess what , they use these one-line-of-code pieces in a bundle to generate "unique" for Google).

Google's penalty algo however is not that sophisticated in recognizing small bus sites and giving them a slack. These have been doomed since Penguin 1.0 because to do it right is like walking in the mine field, step on one of 10,000 and it's a Game Over.
1:29 am on July 25, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Are You sure ? I got some high value keyword within my .science domains !
3:14 am on July 25, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@smilie won't go into the Negative SEO side topic but you implied Google was doing it to? If you have 10 websites devalued by PENGUIN maybe your solution was just flawed. I supposed you merely developed click here anchors.
9:21 pm on July 25, 2015 (gmt 0)

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All i know is that none of my exact match domains work anymore, they still rank, but they don't hit #1 even when using the same phrase without spaces or even quotes, so the EMD advantage is history as far as I can tell.

no bias towards US companies in non-Google.com SERPs?


I've ranked everything from .info, .me, .co, etc. including .com, .net and I have never noticed a difference.

All of my domains have privacy registrations so I'm not sure if Google get's the real data thru their being a registrar or not so not knowing that, I have no clue. The sites are all hosting in the US but I've worked with non-US sites in my consultancy days and they easily ranked as well.

I think it's simply you match the rules for ranking or you don't, domains, IP and location appear to be irrelevant, otherwise they'd truly be biased and eventually some irrefutable evidence would have surfaced long ago and the EU would be all over it.

I'm not saying they don't have bias in their index, but it doesn't appear to be location, TLD or IP, but other stuff which we mostly already know about.
10:16 pm on July 25, 2015 (gmt 0)

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My EMDs do hit #1, or #2, or#3 , so IME EMDs do still rank..
Plus yesterday I was searching for an OEM label supplier for a new line I've designed ( truth be known I found one a month or so ago on Alibaba, but couldn't find where I put the link to them,so I searched again ) ..my search was KW1+KW2+KW3+KW4...
Guess what shows up at #3 position on SERP..( SERP of around 12 million or so for that "combo" ) ..
An EMD..KW1-KW2-KW3-KW4.com...index page..
With the EMD KW1+KW2+KW3+KW4 repeated at least 6 times on the page..and synonyms sprinkled throughout the text..( text total about 500 words split into 8 short paragraphs each paragraph heading was also KW1-KW2-KW3-KW4.com in addition to the other 6 times )..the company was UK based, and from it's images, was obviously reselling labels made in China..

Point is..not only do EMDs still work..but that keyword stuffing ( like was going on , and working over 10 years ago ) is still working ( or at least is not being "penalised" ) in some pretty competitive SERPS..

Of course..YMMV ;)

Google ( as has been demonstrated in the past by their actions ) does not always tell the truth, and does intentionally mislead..

Because Google says something ( about what they do, or don't do, or can spot, or penalise, or wish to encourage, discourage ) definitely doesn't make it so..

My reaction when Google say something, is .."Why would they want people to think that"..Like the "magician"..says ..don't pay any attention to what my hands are doing , look over there instead"..
Getting you to think that they are omnipotent and omniscient, saves them having to do a lot of work themselves..
11:07 pm on July 25, 2015 (gmt 0)

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re the TLD ( extensions ) aspect..
I search when using Google using Google.com, Google.uk, Google.fr and Google.de, and occasionally others..
IME how Google handles TLDs depends upon where one is and which Google.TLD one is using..
I have seen some .infos rank ( I have a handfull, hangovers from when they were free with a dotcom ) I have never seen a dotbiz ranking, and have never bought any..I have no intention of buying any of the myriad new TLDs "invented" by ICANN to swell their coffers ..I see .coms ranking far more than .nets ( I rarely see a dotnet ranking, again I have a handfull, had them for over a decade )..and see some .orgs ranking..( more so than .nets )..

I rarely see a .fr ranking outside of a search done on Google.fr, but on searches made in Google.fr, the .frs are about 50/50 with the dotcoms..similar situation with relation to the .de and other "national" TLDs if one searches from their national Google TLD..

But obviously if one is searching in French one is likely to get back more .fr domains with the .com ones..

Most French businesses ( myself included ) buy the dotcom and the dotfr..others I buy if the destination countries are close enough to ship goods economically to customers there..Where we have OEM manufacturing ( "overseas" ) done I also buy the "brand" name in the respective country's TLD..But, never seen any of my "overseas" TLDs show up higher than my dotcoms or dot frs etc for either the "brand" or the keywords, then again I tend to keep the overseas sites pretty bare..

The UK is an odd search market..I would expect a lot of .coms to show up in SERPs there, and , as I have said here in the past , I never gave the .co.uk TLD any "cred"..because anyone in the world could buy one, and make believe to "Brits" that they were a British business, so I only ever bought a few "defensive brand protection " ones..I also have a registered business in the UK, it uses the same "brand" so I bought the .UK..

IME Google SERPS in English ( wherever you are searching from , Google.com or Google.uk, ) are not like any other language version, for a start they are far more "competitive", It would appear from some comments here that a high percentage of U.S.A dot coms show up in searches made from the UK..But I do not hear of the U.S.A Google.com SERPs having a high percentage of United Kingdom .co.uk or .uk sites showing up in them..

French SERPs also have a large number of French language sites from Canada appearing , ( usually with .ca ) depending on the search query, whether one searches in Google.com or Google.fr..the "trigger" is the language..

I hardly ever see any non dot coms ( including .us or .in. or.co or .co.uk etc ) when searching Google.com in English..

What Google says..is not what I see, nor what I have seen since Google came into being..but as we all get results depending to a degree upon our localtion, YMMV..

I would say that Google would be likely to say that all TLDs are treated equally, if they didn't say that, no-one would buy any of the new ICANN "fantasy" , "junk" or "shame if someone else bought your brand name in this new TLD"..

Google do not want to "rock the boat"..and there is much money to be made from selling the new TLDs, so those who are able to whisper in Google's corparate ear would wish fror Google to say this.. ;)

Would you buy a dothorse TLD or a dotparis etc if Google said "look guys, these junk domains are just a way to scam defensive registrations out of folks, so we are going to treat them as such, and it is gonna be real hard to rank them"..

Google's friends who are selling these TLDs don't want Google to say that..so Google just said what Google's friends want their customers to hear, so they'll keep buying the new TLDs..

As the British say..."trebles all round , eh chaps" ;)
1:36 am on July 26, 2015 (gmt 0)

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What Google says..is not what I see, nor what I have seen since Google came into being


Always enjoy your post Leosghost. Interesting they say all TLDs treated the same, so if your on .uk.com or .us.com would this indicate different treatment as there not TLD's?
4:01 am on July 26, 2015 (gmt 0)

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The fact that Google suggest they have no preference which domain extension ranks or does not rank is their position.... The fact that you only care about your own domain and not every other competitive domain is a bias. An EMD can rank the same as any other domain and the fact that if you are ranked proves that but doesn't prove your choice of name has any better chance without using other ranking factors.
5:03 am on July 26, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Maybe I'm no seeing what you guys are.

I'm looking at G (and B and others) will do when BRANDS are the tld (example .LONDON or .NYC)

If that don't ramp it up, I don't know what will.

So far, all the above is piddling around the edges, and not if it will actually "get there".

Just another look at the future of the web. :)
4:33 pm on July 26, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Not sure why this is even a debate. It has always been very clear that a tld has no direct affect in the algo and never has. What people don't understand is cause and effect. It seems like .com and US companies have a leg up but it has more to do about how Google looks at links. They can say that the algo does not see tld's and be correct. What causes this is what they feed the PR algo. I think an argument could be made that they are indirectly giving .com and US companies a leg up because of how they feed the algo. The algo is not really that smart. A human has to give it data to get started.
4:39 pm on July 26, 2015 (gmt 0)

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All the examples given do not prove anything. You can have a #1 .info with tons of links then move it perfectly to a brand new .com domain that has the same base name and you would tank in the rankings as well. Starting over is starting over. People give .com domains more value not Google. You are less likely to get a link to a .info than to a .com. Human beings devalue non .com domain names and therefore Google does because of the nature of the algo. The algo is based on how "Human Beings" link to things. J
8:17 am on July 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Keywords in the domain weight very heavily for long tail. I don`t know what Google are smoking, but bostondivorceattourney.com (just an example) has, have and will continue to rank superb based on the keywords within that domain name.
9:56 am on July 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@Nutterum the example you pick uses a typo thus no matter how good the ranks it has, have and will continue retain I question the amount of traffic such ranks produce.

Even if you spelled it correctly it rank dismally for the 3 keyword phrase (but #1 with the [dot]com on the end) and I still question the amount of traffic such ranks produce with all the longtail from a single city and singular type of practice.

I'm sure avvo and findlaw do well with that strategy but not because of the keywords in the domain name.
3:23 pm on July 30, 2015 (gmt 0)

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>> @fathom If you have 10 websites devalued by PENGUIN maybe your solution was just flawed. I supposed you merely developed click here anchors.

We actually did not build ANY links for 8 of them because they weren't really our main business.
Two that had, one hasn't had any link building for years, one had but in a very MINOR way, more of a PR type.

We actually had to start link building (oh irony of Penguin) because as you mentioned "anchor counts per Google were off" so we had to "balance" them with "right" links. Never knew I had to work for Google to fix their flawed algo. That's what I am referring to - if you have an EMD (and EMDs specifically are susceptible) you were in danger of being "a link spammer" that you did not even know about.

That's why small businesses are doomed - the idiocy of having negative weight for a link in an algo and protecting this idea with all they've got. Because at a click of a button a spammer can auto-generate 100 times more links than an average small business website has, and once that happens you can't recover, as another algo prevents you from building enough "right links". Versus a brand site where even if spammer auto generates stuff it is a link with a brand, and that's considered to be ok.

Or sites with staff who DO link building and watch the anchors, which is ironic as Google claims they don't want you to build links, yet Penguin forces you to do so or to face a random penalty at any given moment.

The above is why small businesses are randomly dropping like flies.

Someone has to say it how it really is, otherwise you people would be dancing around it for years and will never actually discuss this problem.
4:25 pm on July 30, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@smilie you are so far off the topic of this thread... Start a new one will gladly post.

To address your concerns, would you operate on a family member if they needed brain surgery?

Would you learn some tips & tricks from forums and blogs to perform the surgery yourself?

Not sure why anyone thinks they can be gifted in EMD, TLD, or any SEO oriented theory whether a best practice or webspam just by eyeballing the web.

Once you make a mess of a brain its game over, a website doesn't suffer the same permanency. But clearly if you didn't understand what you were doing before a devaluation actually getting devalued isn't a major increase in your surgery knowledge, skills or experience... But it is wisdom if you care to get wiser.
4:34 pm on July 31, 2015 (gmt 0)

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So, I'm really supposed to believe I could put a site for Scooby Snacks on either:

supercalafruckinbullshotica.xxx or scoobysnacks.com and they'll both have the same chance of ranking for the Scooby Snacks I'm selling? C'mon, seriously. How is "keywords in a domain name don't matter and TLDs are all treated the same" even close to believable?
5:01 pm on July 31, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I think it's a good idea to keep in mind that the Google post referenced at the top of this thread dealt only with Top Level Domain names, specifically that the newly created TLDs would be considered to be Generic Top Level Domains (gTLD) that would provide no benefits in indexing or ranking over other gTLDs and would be treated like all other gTLDs for geotargeting. They didn't say anything about keywords elsewhere within a domain name.
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