5

If someone is located in the USA and they search for a unique pronoun or brand name as it would appear in the domain name URL (a name recognizable enough that it is already reserved with various domain suffixes by different, unassociated domain hunters), how likely is it for the following unconventional TLDs to appear near the top of the search results?

  • suffixes from foreign countries (.fr)
  • suffixes with professions (.doctor)
  • suffixes for venues ( .club)
  • suffixes for personalities (.me)
  • suffixes for mobile phones ( .mobi)
  • suffixes for adults (.xxx)

Do search engines somehow discriminate against any of these unconventional TLDs, or in some cases ignore, have difficulty, or are incapable of indexing them altogether?

Why this question? because this would heavily affect a webmaster's choice of diverging away from conventional TLDs, .com. If the unique name is available for an unconventional TLD, does the trade-off in accessibility and being found via search engines by that desired name outweigh the fact that the same name is already taken for conventional TLDs?

7

There are only two cases I am aware of where Google treats domains differently.

  1. Google automatically geotargets ccTLDs to their corresponding country, except for ccTLDs that have been genericized such as .tv, .io, or .me.
  2. There is a rumor that Google's algorithm may be less forgiving to TLDs that are free-to-register and/or historically associated with spam, but it's just a rumor.

For the most part, Google treats all domain names equal:

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.

https://developers.google.com/search/blog/2015/07/googles-handling-of-new-top-level

Basically, sites built on suffixes from foreign countries (ccTLDs) may find it more difficult to rank outside their country, since Google treats the domain as geotargeted. But there should be no roadblocks to ranking with gTLDs.

Google cares the most about your site's reputation, and they understand that a reputable site can live on any domain name extension.

1

Not very likely to show up at all. It'll get drowned out by locally relevant results. Google is smart enough to know that someone in Texas who searches for "Bob's Taco Soup Stop" is probably not looking at traveling to France for lunch. If there's a company by that same name in France, just with a different TLD, it may never be shown to anyone outside of France (or whichever part of France it serves).

Google has always claimed it does not favor .com domains or penalize other TLDs. In reality there are more .com domains that dominate the top places, but that's not because of the TLD. It's just that .com domains have been around for so long and there are more that have built up 20+ years of organic presence and links that a much younger alternative domain is incapable of having.

I own all kinds of TLDs. I still look for the .com first, but I'm not worried about being penalized for using another.

EDIT: Oh, and your question about accessibility: I've never personally seen a case where a browser or any website has failed to recognize the TLD.

1
  • 1
    thanks, i have also observed from experience that search engines are very locally oriented, i guess based on the searcher's IP address
    – user610620
    Feb 3 at 0:51

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