SEO and the new top level domains
The internet will soon change forever following a decision from ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) to open up the number of top level domains by allowing companies to register their brand.
What does this actually mean?
Soon we could see brands having their own domain – such as .google, .facebook or .microsoft. ICANN will make the decisions on who is granted a name and how many are given out each year (it’s expected to be 300 – 1000 per year), and it’s not easy to get one.
In the first instance, brands will have to pay a $5,000 deposit when registering their interest. They will then have to pay a $180,000 evaluation fee and there could be additional fees on top of that.
The costs involved mean that only bigger businesses will be able to afford to have their own top level domain and even if a company can afford it, many brands are uncertain about spending such a large amount of money on something which may not have any benefit for them. Some big brands including Pepsi and Ikea have already stated that they won’t be applying for their own top level domains, with many other companies choosing to start quiet on the matter.
So what will this mean for SEO?
Techies and SEO gurus expect that this will have little or no effect on SEO, but only time will tell. Google updates their algorithm all the time, so who knows if they could add more weight to these domains in the future over regular .com or .co.uk websites.
But domains released in recent years such as .travel have had no notable impact on Google rankings, so the new top level domains could just be used for branding rather than SEO purposes.