Everything You Need to Know about the New Domains in 60-Seconds
One of the bigger questions these days is about the new Top Level Domains—or TLDs.
Don’t let this “technical talk” scare you away just yet. A TLD is simply the ending of a domain name, such as: .com, .org, .biz, and .net.
For example, say your website is www.imgoodatcatering.com.
“www.imgoodatcatering.com” is your domain name.
“.com” is your TLD.
The big buzz, however, is that the internet folks have finally given the ok for individuals and companies to register other domains, called generic Top Level Domains, or gTLDs.
gTLDS are just as the name might suggest: generic. This would include web address endings such as: .clothing, .recipes, .shoes and, yes, .catering.
(Side note: if you’re curious about the full list of new gTLDs, ICANN has it.)
This means that as a caterer, you can register a new domain, perhaps something along the lines of: www.imgoodat.catering. It also means that you can fight for the right to register www.city.catering, which, fair warning, will require some hoops to jump through as trademarks and pre-registrations are likely to be involved.
We know you might be super excited about the possibility of having a .catering website.
Hold that excitement.
We want to help walk you through this decision before you jump into something that isn’t in your best interest.
The main question here now is should you register for a new gTLD, or a .catering website?
Should You Get a .Catering Domain?
Should you keep your domain as is or should you go ahead and register a gTLD?
We snooped around and found some credible sources (one being John Mueller’s Q&A on the Google Webmaster Blog). Putting together what the experts are saying with our own knowledge of the topic, we came to some conclusions.
Let’s talk this one out.
Questions and Answers about gTLDs
- Will Google prefer the .catering websites over .com websites for catering searches?
This answer could get long and complicated, but, in short, no they will not. Google will rank new gTLDs appropriately, meaning your ranking will be based on your actual site, content, visits, etc. (the general SEO stuff they’ve always used in ranking), without giving any gTLD a preference over a .com website. So if you’re convinced that a .catering domain will give you a boost simply because you have it, you have been ill-informed.
- But isn’t it a good thing to have “catering” in your domain?
Having the term “catering” in your domain name is essentially a great thing for SEO. BUT, you might already have that in your current domain name, and/or you will likely have it as the name of one of your important pages.
For example: www.ABCcateringcompany.com is your homepage. Catering is there…great! Or, you might have this, www.ABCeventsandco.com/catering as your catering menu page. Also great.
Do you have catering in your domain somewhere? If you do and your site is strong, then you probably don’t need to make the change to .catering.
If you do not, however, and your current SEO is suffering because of it, then you might want to consider it.
- If I got a gTLD, will it rank pretty quickly?
No, it will not. Just because it’s a gTLD doesn’t mean it’s exempt from the rule: new websites (new domain names or sites with no history behind the site) simply do not rank well. Google needs time to crawl through the entire site, and then some, before it will really offer you appropriate ranking. You could essentially have the best-built site in the world for your specific product market and you could still not rank. It simply takes time.
- Is Google indexing gTLDs?
Yes, it certainly is, with no added problems or challenges at that. Google will index a .catering site just as it does any other .com site, so if you’re looking to build a brand new site (of value), then keep a .catering domain in contention.
- Does social media pick up gTLDS as links in posts and tweets?
They may have had a little trouble at first but social media sites, specifically the big three (Facebook, twitter and Google+) now recognize the new gTLDs and will direct users to gTLD sites through your posts and tweets.
- Is there any long-term benefit to having a gTLD?
This answer depends on your business, your current website and your plans for future online presence.
There could be long term benefits to registering a gTLD, but you must have plans to build a strong website, have the patience to build up significant history and have the ability to properly promote your website. Just having the domain won’t help you. If you have a well organized, smart, strategic website with a gTLD, then perhaps, in the long-run, you might have a slight advantage.
Additionally, over time, consumers might come to recognize and expect websites to end with a gTLD, i.e. they will expect lawyers’ websites to end with .lawyer., pharmacies’ websites to end with .pharmacy and caterers’ websites to end with .catering. So that means .catering websites might come to be as valuable as a .com website over time.
- Is there any merit to region-specific gTLDs?
Probably, but again, this answer would be more for the long-term. Will www.catering.yourcity impact search results? We can only speculate that it might, based on how Google currently treats the domains .it (for Italy), .uk (for United Kingdom), .ca (for Canada), for example.
Right now, there is no region-specific boost, but if there is anything that we anticipate that might become a competitive advantage, it would be region-specific .catering domains. This means that people searching for “catering in [your city]” who are actually located in your city at the time of searching might, just might, have a slight advantage because Google could deem that as more relevant.
This, however, is already true with .com, .biz and .org sites that use a city or region in their domain (for example, www.yourcitycatering.com).
Do not buy a .catering domain unless you are planning on making a new, kick butt website that consumers will love.
Consider buying a .catering domain if your current domain has no indication that you are a catering company.
Don’t worry about a .catering domain if your current site is doing well—the transfer to a new domain might actually negatively affect your SEO.
Remember, the value of a website comes from what exists on that domain.
www.Google.com comes from a made up word, Google, but that domain is worth hundreds of billions of dollars. Any other made up word could be worth absolutely nothing. It’s all about what value you offer on your website!