KPMG, the multinational professional services agency that was born in 1870, says it will abandon its .com domain and switch to its own .kpmg top-level domain (TLD). And one of the reasons the company gives is an expectation that the new domain will help the company’s search engine optimization.
David Green, KPMG’s chief of digital marketing, revealed the company’s plans in a recent interview with World Intellectual Property Review (WIPR).
“We won’t immediately drop .com; there will be a phased migration,” Green said.
In making the switch, KPMG is set to become one of the first — perhaps the first — major brand to adopt one of the new generic TLDs (made possible by ICANN’s significant domain space expansion) as its primary domain.
KPMG says there are a number of benefits to switching, some of which are highly technical and based on being able to operate a registry system at the root of the internet. But Green also says that using .kpmg will “increase consumer and client trust,” and he cites possible SEO benefits, too:
“Google uses many different criteria in its relevance and ranking algorithm. One of those is the domain name: if a domain is a key term, it will have a greater relevance for people searching for that key term. So any website under a .kpmg domain is clearly owned and managed by KPMG, and the domain should have a higher ranking in that regard, although this will not mitigate the need to address other SEO considerations.”
KPMG may have missed the news from early 2012 when Google’s Matt Cutts debunked the idea that using one of the new gTLDs would provide a ranking boost in Google’s search results.
“…as an engineer in the search quality team at Google, I feel the need to debunk this misconception. Google has a lot of experience in returning relevant web pages, regardless of the top-level domain (TLD). Google will attempt to rank new TLDs appropriately, but I don’t expect a new TLD to get any kind of initial preference over .com, and I wouldn’t bet on that happening in the long-term either.”
For more on SEO and the new domain names, see Danny Sullivan’s article on Search Engine Land: What The New ICANN Domain Names Mean For Google Rankings & SEO: Nothing.
ICANN hasn’t yet approved the company’s application for .kpmg, but Green says the company is planning for that to happen in the new year.
Many other companies — like Google, Amazon and countless others — have also applied for their own brand names as new gTLDs. In many cases, the companies are doing it as a matter of brand protection. In other cases, those new domains will likely be used in some capacity. But Google hasn’t announced plans, for example, to move its search engine from Google.com to something using .google. Ditto for Amazon and the others.