If you’ve been paying attention to the latest buzz in SEO (who hasn’t?), you’ve probably heard about all the new generic top-level domains – especially the “.lawyer” one.
What Are Generic Top-Level Domains?
Top-level domains, or TLDs, are the three-character extensions at the end of a web address, such as .com, .edu and .gov.
Generic top-level domains are top-level domains that have three or more characters. These are typically called gTLDs, and they include all of the newest top-level domains, such as:
Many attorneys were initially excited about the .lawyer domain names, but rumors started circulating about Google treating these gTLDs differently from the way they treat .com addresses – and that took the wind out of many lawyers’ sails.
How Does Google Treat .lawyer Domains?
Google recently came out and said that they treat gTLDs the same way they treat all of the other domain extensions.
What that means is that you won’t gain an advantage by having a .lawyer (or .guru, .expert or .company) domain extension. You won’t be penalized, either.
Google’s Gary Illyes said that having a relevant TLD won’t give you a bump in the search engines, but he did say, “Users might trust them more and hence you might get more traffic, but there’s no inherent ranking benefit at all.”
How Do You Get a gTLD to Rank in the SERPs?
The same things that are important with TLDs are important with gTLDs, including:
- Working toward appearing in organic results
- Creating strong social signals around your site
- Building a healthy backlink profile
You also need to ensure that you have solid content across the board. It needs to be informative, engaging and useful to searchers.
Should Lawyers Buy New Domain Names?
Because there’s no difference in the way that Google treats TLDs and gTLDs, you could buy a new domain name with one of these interesting extensions. However, if you do that, you’ll need a separate website with separate content from what you already have… and then you may have to worry about competing with yourself.
You’ll also need to remember that people are used to saying “dot-com.” It could be tough for people to remember these new gTLDs, at least for a while, so if you’re considering buying one, that should be part of your decision.