There are many new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) available, so we would like to give some insight into how they are handled in Google’s search engine. We will also address the many misconceptions, and questions regarding the treatment of new top-level domains (TLDs) such as .guru, .how, or any of the .BRAND gTLDs.
Question: How will new gTLDs affect searches? Is Google changing their search algorithm to favor these TLDs? Will the new gTLDs and TLDs give an advantage or disadvantage in keyword search?
Answer: Overall, the system regards new gTLDs the same way they treat the older ones, such as .com or .org. Keywords, in the new TLDs, do not give an advantage or disadvantage when searching.
Question: What happens with IDN TLDs such as .????, can Googlebot crawl and index them. Will they be able to be used in search?
Answer: Yes, those TLDs can be used the same way as other TLDs. You can check with a query site, like site.????, with the same ease as any other site. Google deals with the Punycode version, of a hostname, equivalent to the unencoded version. You do not need to redirect, or canonicalize them separately. You must remember to use UTF-8 for the remainder of the URL. This is critical for the path and query string, in the URL, when using non-ASCII characters.
Question: Will a .BRAND TLD be given more or less importance then a .com?
Answer: No, all TLDs will be treated the same as gTLDs. They will require the same geo-targeting configurations and settings. They will not influence the way we crawl, index, or rank URLs.
Question: How are the new region and city TLDs, such as .London or .Bayern, handled?
Answer: At this point, they will be treated as gTLDs, even if they look region specific. This is consistent with the handling of regional TLDs, such as .eu, and .asia. There may be exceptions at some point in the future, after the evidence of how they are used in practice. Please see our help center regarding additional information on multi-regional , and multi-lingual sites. Please make sure to set geo-targeting in the Search Console where relevant.
Question: Regarding real country code top-level domains (ccTLDs), will Google favor ones like .uk, or .ae as local domains for people searching on those countries?
Answer: Most ccTLDs, by default, result in Google using them to geo-target websites. It informs us that the website is probably more relevant in the appropriate country. However there are some exceptions. Please see our help center for more information regarding multi-regional, and multi-lingual sites.
Question: Will Google support SEO efforts to move domains from .com to new TLDs? How are websites moved without losing any search ranking or history?
Answer: Our Help Center contains extensive site move documentation. We treat these moves the same as any other site move. However, domain changes can take additional time to be processed for search. Outside of search, users should expect email addresses to remain valid over a longer period of time. It is generally best to choose a domain that will fit your long term needs.
We hope this question and answer session gave you good additional information about how top-level domains are handled. If you have further questions, please drop them here, or ask about it in our help forums.