A Top Level Domain (TLD) is the extension after your main domain such as ‘.com’, ‘.co.uk’ or ‘.org’. Originally they were organized into three main groups: Countries, Categories, and Multi-organizations, but the potential list is growing all the time with new so-called generic Top Level Domains – gTLDs – being approved by Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
This means that you can have extensions to your domain name that are relevant to your business or activity. These could be regional such as ‘.london’ or ‘.wales’ or service specific such as ‘.photography’ or ‘.pizza’ or ‘.pub’. Most can be bought by anyone but some may involve some pre-qualification or the applicant needing show some relevant experience in the area. For example ‘.aero’ can only be bought organisations or individuals that can demonstrate an interest in air travel – see List of top level domains.
Do generic Top Level Domains boost search engine rankings?
While using a gTLD might be helpful for branding and making a website name more memorable does having one make your website rank higher on search engine results.
So while we know that Google probably does like sites hat have a keyword in the domain name:
A ranking bonus is attributed when a keyword or phrase exists within a domain name. The weight given seems to be less significant than when the domain name exactly matches that of a particular SEO query, but more significant than when a keyword appears later in the URL.
Source(s): Patent EP 1661018 A2, Source: Google ranking factors.
…their position on gTLDs is a bit more neutral:
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.
This is also in line with Google’s exact match domains (EMD) update, where the search engine has devalued low quality EMDs that were used as a shortcut to higher rankings. Google will treat new region or city TLDs like .London just like any other gTLD. However, John Mueller from Google did indicate that “there may be exceptions at some point down the line, as we see how they’re used in practice.”
So while Google’s official line is that these gTLDs do not endow a particular benefit there is anecdotal evidence that they may rank higher. The owner of the website coffee.club found that their website was read as coffee club by Google despite the owner not optimising for that keyword.
A study has found that .Berlin domains came 1.18 positions higher than traditional domains when people were searching for things in the city. Another SEO study performed by Total Websites found that “new gTLD domains DO boost SEO rankings and EMDs, even in the new gTLDs, are still favoured in the search engines.”
The use of a country code e.g. ‘.uk’ is will locate a business so while a ‘.london’ generic Top Level Domain does not explicitly boost ranking it is likely that this will happen longer term. There definitely won’t be any penalty if you do swap to a new gTLD.