Keyword rich top level domains (TLD’s) have become quite popular in recent years as both individuals and businesses seek to personalise every aspect of their website. You may have come across some of them yourself, either as a location setting (websitename.melbourne), representing a particular industry (businessname.construction), or even as a particular vocation (artistname.artist).
In fact, they’ve become so popular that many are actively seeking to change their current domains to these new keyword laden TLD’s. They’ve been marketed as a boost to both your local and bigger picture SEO performance. One of these marketing examples, a sponsored article published two weeks ago, generated a huge amount of controversy, and even an immediate retort from Google’s John Mueller; don’t do it.
The link between using a keyword TLD and actual SEO results is one that has very little basis, and is one that often relates to a misconception of two well known examples in .gov and .edu. These TLD’s, for example, provide no other usefulness other than denoting an official site of those respective public sectors, making it easier for those to verify the information being provided.
In reality, there is no concrete evidence that a change to a keyword TLD is either favoured, or delivers positive numbers. If anything, such a huge change to the structure of your URL’s can severely affect your organic traffic. If you want to know more about what makes a good URL, we wrote an article way back in March last year which will provide you with all of the information that you need.
The negatives about keyword TLD’s aren’t just confined to SEO performance and ominous statements from Google staff members, however. There are many more reasons to drop the idea of changing your domain looking for that golden ticket to more traffic, of which we have detailed in this article. Overall the little things you do, such as quality control, blog creation & sharing, and using keywords appropriately will help you more than a TLD ever will.
Whilst not applicable to all keyword TLD’s, some of them can get quite long, especially if you’re looking to make the full use out of construction, financial, lawyer, and other industries and positions.
Combining this with your company name, and it can get even longer. If someone wishes to go to your website directly, they will be having to type out this TLD in full – not something that you would look forward to. The length can also affect your landing pages, too, as Google frowns upon url’s that are too long. Whilst this mistake can be made innocently, the inclusion of a long keyword TLD would make this more frequent.
The length and the uniqueness of these TLD’s can also have an effect on how people will use that URL. When we consider that more and more people are using mobiles to surf the net, and that it is impossible for mobiles to have a single click option for every keyword TLD on the planet, we start to see a fatal UX problem. Forcing someone to take longer to access your website directly is a sure way to make sure they never come back again.
An overlooked yet huge problem regarding keyword TLD’s is their very nature of being pure keywords. In the sponsored article that we mentioned above, the example given included the city name, and then the occupation of that business. The name of the business was thus erased from the TLD, and any chance they had of instant brand recognition went out with it too.
Instant brand recognition is one of the most important aspects of marketing there is, and is far too valuable to simply throw away in favour of a perceived view of how to get more traffic. This is the eternal balancing act of SEO and advertising in action, and more consideration to one over the other, and vice versa, will always hurt your overall standing online.