New gTLDs still don't offer an SEO edge - at least according to Google...... BHW what have you seen? The latest generation of generic top-level domains is more popular than ever. In fact, according to domain name industry blog TheDomains, 2015 was the first year in which new gTLD registrations rose above 5 million. There's a lot to like about these gTLDs. For starters, they help make websites more identifiable with just a quick glance at the URL, offering information about regions of focus, topic areas, business sectors, brand affiliation and more. According to nTLDStats.com, .club, .berlin, .science and .realtor were all among the top 10 most registered new gTLDs earlier this year. Although the new gTLDs are growing in popularity, they're still unusual enough to be memorable, as well as a great way to directly associate websites with their primary purpose. But do they offer any SEO advantages? Google says no John Mueller, webmaster trends analyst for Google, recently made a post on Google's Webmaster Central Blog to address misconceptions about new gTLDs' search benefits - or lack thereof. "Overall, our systems treat new gTLDs like other gTLDs (like .com and .org)," he wrote. "Keywords in a TLD do not give any advantage or disadvantage in search." In an article for The Register, Kieren McCarthy, former general manager of public participation at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, pointed out that Google is no stranger to stressing that new gTLDs don't represent a silver bullet for search rankings. In fact, July's blog post marks the third time someone over at Google has felt the need to set the record straight. It was SEO guru Matt Cutts who first tackled the issue back in 2012 via a Google Plus post. "You shouldn't register a TLD in the mistaken belief that you'll get some sort of boost in search engine rankings," Cutts said. Late last year, Mueller responded to renewed buzz about the SEO benefits of the new gTLDs by resharing Cutts' post on his own Google Plus account. "There still is no inherent ranking advantage to using the new TLDs," he confirmed. However, a swath of studies suggest otherwise, which is a big part of the reason why the rumors just won't die. Other analysis says yes Bill Hartzer, senior SEO strategist at Dallas-based consultancy Globe Runner and UnGagged Las Vegas 2015 speaker, conducted an experiment last September that seemed to prove Cutts and Mueller wrong. By running a Google AdWords analysis, he found that the new gTLDs garnered more impressions at a lower cost. And Globe Runner's findings are by no means a one-off. McCarthy cited research from Total Websites and Searchmetrics that came to a similar conclusion about position improvements. Even though Google is sticking to its guns about how the new gTLDs are currently being handled from an SEO perspective, the door is still open for it to change its algorithms in the future - and Mueller even acknowledged as much in his post on the Webmaster Central Blog. McCarthy predicted that this shift will likely occur within the next couple of years. Do you agree with McCarthy's timeline? Have you experienced any positive SEO effects associated with the new gTLDs? Let us know in this thread. .