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We Called It: Google Ignores Top Level Domains

Photo credit: Flickr
Photo credit: Flickr

Just like in the legal field, there are so many factors and uncertainties that go into “winning” and “losing” in online marketing that definitive victories are often difficult to find. This is largely because, while a civil lawsuit proceeds through the court based on rules clearly stated in the Rules of Civil Procedure, an online search engine marketing venture plays by rules actively kept hidden by search engines. Marketing professionals are forced to try figuring out what the rules are through inductive means, and typically have to do it with feedback consisting of nothing more than an increase or decrease in rankings.

This is why we would like to celebrate a small, but definitive victory here at Myers Freelance.

We Called It: Top Level Domain Names Are a Poor Investment

On June 6, we ran a blog post that discussed top level domains (TLDs), and how there was no way they were anything but a poor investment.

TLDs are the letters in the URL that come after your domain name and the dot, like:

  • .com
  • .net
  • .gov

There was a recent trend in the legal field towards TLD names like “.attorney” or “.law” after studies had shown that it worked for a Jacksonville personal injury attorney.

TLD names, however, do not add anything to a website. They don’t make it more relevant or important for any given search, and don’t provide any reliable signals that they’re any better or worse than any other website. So it flies in the face of all that search engines stand for, if simply changing your site to a specialized TLD name boosted your search rankings.

Google Expressly Says it Ignores TLDs

In a recent video chat conference with some of the top minds in online marketing, Google’s John Mueller was asked about TLDs. How much weight do they carry for search engine optimization (SEO)? Are they like using keywords in the rest of the URL?

The response was shockingly simple: No.

“The TLD is not something we take into account,” Mueller stated.

There Is No “Google Juice”

The powerlessness of a TLD for a law firm’s SEO ranking is just another example of how there is no “Google juice.”

Many entrepreneurs and business owners who want to market their venture online come face-to-face with a serious problem – struggling to get web traffic by being buried in the search results, and facing steep prices for paid listings. Some turn to SEO methods that make broad proclamations of success, claiming to have found “the secret” to jumping to the top of the search page for high volume searches.

This is “Google juice.” If it really does exist, why are there so many websites that don’t use it? If it really does exist, why hasn’t Google, whose business interest is to prevent poor websites from reaching the top of their rankings and disappointing its users, stopped it from working?

Myers Freelance Legal Blogging

The simpler answer is that there is no “Google juice.” There is no magical talisman that you can add to your website to bypass all of the other websites out there, and vault to the top of the most competitive searches. The notion that there is one fails even rational basis review. Instead, filling your site with top-notch content through legal blogging – creating a site that is both relevant and important to search engine users – is how to grow your online reputation and prominence.