Generic Top-Level Domains (gTLD), Marketing & SEO

Wise Old Sage

The oddest bit of advice I ever received in both its obviousness and insipidness came as a teenager from my then 2nd team cricket skipper. The guy was known as a bit of a hard taskmaster as opposed to a man manager, so being taken to one side for sage counsel was unheard of. He came from the finishing school of hard knocks where boys became men.

Anyway, I forget what day or night it was, and I don’t really recall any conversation prior to it, but it kind of occurred as we were both vying for position by the bar – and no, nobody was particularly tipsy.

Out of nowhere, I was transfixed in his steely gaze and was told in no uncertain terms that he was going to give me the most valuable piece of advice – EVAH.

As I anticipated his imparting of the knowledge of his trademark up-n-over pull / scoop shot, he quietly said as he took a sip of his pint: “You’ll get plenty of advice throughout your life, lad – but only you can sort the good stuff out from the bad.”

And with that he turned his back on me and continued to sup his pint and talk to his mates.

While it hardly shook me to my existential metaphysical core, I will always remain partially bewildered by what the devil he was going on about.

Not until I became embroiled in the world of SEO and deciphering and decoding advice from various SEO sources on the Web and trying to compare it to my own empirical evidence did I suddenly get an inkling of what he meant.

Second guessing search engine algorithms and sorting out good SEO advice from the bad might not have been exactly what he was referring to, but I’m taking his advice to mean what I need it to mean in this particular instance.

Now you may or may not be aware that in the not too distant future some new gTLDs (generic top-level domains) will become available to companies and organizations alike (individuals or sole proprietors need not attempt to cyber squat).

Instead of the existing format where you simply have .com, .co.uk, .net, .org or some variation thereof, the new domains will dispense of those entirely and allow for the usage of a single brand and / or keyword. Therefore, you could have .sport or .london, or something containing .nike (owned by Nike, of course).

Now the clincher is that these bad boys are going to sledgehammer your pocket to the tune of around $186K – and that’s if it doesn’t go to a bidding war.

Nothing is finalized as yet, so if you’re interested in the details thus far, go and have a look round ICANN.

But, what I’m interested in are the SEO benefits of such a domain and whether you’d advise somebody to purchase one. Just a few things to consider:

1. Would you be better off spending close to $200K on some other aspect of SEO?

2. Considering the rarity of these domains, what kind of CTR (click thru rate) would you anticipate?

3. Will these new domains operate the same as any other new domain such as a .com or will search engines deem them more trustworthy from the get-go? Would you deem them more trustworthy if you saw them in the listings (see #2)?

4. Do you consider .com (or other domain extension) to be an integral part of an online presence, or is it too much of a mouthful in general?

Your thoughts are much appreciated; after all, I’m just trying to sort out the good advice from the bad.

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