Do not choose cheap TLDs, avoid spam risks
3 mins read

Do not choose cheap TLDs, avoid spam risks

Google discourages cheap TLDs due to the risk of spam and says TLD keywords do not improve SEO.

In a recent podcast, Google’s Search Relations team discussed how website owners should go about choosing a top-level domain (TLD).

The discussion weighed the dilemmas of expensive .com domains versus affordable alternatives like .xyz and emphasized the need to balance cost, credibility and spam risks.

Team members John Mueller, Gary Illyes, and Martin Splitt advised against going for the cheapest TLD options, warning that spammers tend to target free and cheap domains, which can negatively impact search rankings.

Additionally, they busted the myth that TLD keywords provide SEO benefits by stating that matching keywords in the TLD does not directly improve rankings.

This article looks at Google’s Search Relations team’s advice on choosing the right TLD to boost your brand’s visibility and reputation.

The Dangers of Cheap TLDs

During the discussion, Illyes made it clear that he advises against choosing the cheapest TLDs.

In response to Mueller’s question about whether to go with a cheaper domain like .xyz or invest in a more common domain like .com, Illyes replied:

“My gut feeling is that people should stay away from the cheapest TLDs, especially if they’re free.”

The reason for this advice? spammers.

Illyes explained that cheaper and free TLDs attract more spam and may reduce your legitimate website’s visibility in search engines.

He said:

“Because of spammers…if the TLD is filled with spam, search engines might have trouble finding your content.”

The danger is that search engines will associate your site with the prevalence of spam in this TLD.

Illyes further elaborated:

“[If a TLD] is inundated with spam and over 99% of the content there is spam, we may not want to pull sitemaps from these domain names as the likelihood of them leading to spam is far too high.”

Illyes recommends spending more on a TLD that doesn’t get inundated with spam.

However, he added that a large investment in a .com domain name should be a business decision focused on branding and marketing rather than SEO.

No SEO benefit for TLD keywords

Google’s Search Relations team has dispelled the misconception that having a TLD that matches your keywords has an inherent SEO benefit.

When Splitt asked if owning a domain like Fantastic.coffee could provide SEO benefits for a coffee shop, Illyes resolutely replied “no”.

In total

When choosing a domain, resist the temptation of cheap or free TLDs as they are prone to spam, which can hurt your search rankings and reputation.

Focus on choosing a reputable TLD within your budget. Keep in mind that keyword matching of your TLD doesn’t directly improve SEO.

For more information on best practices for website domains, watch the full episode of the Google podcast.


Featured image: MailHamdi/Shutterstock