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The acronym gTLD stands for generic top-level domain. You are likely familiar with Web URL extensions .com, .net, and .org. These are gTLDs. In 2012, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) began taking applications for new gTLDs. As a result, there have been 1,903 applications filed for new gTLDs since June 13, 2012.

The addition of these new domain name extensions has some serious implications for search. For instance, each gTLD could have its own search engine to allow searchers the ability to find information on that specific gTLD. If you type search.jobs into your Internet browser, you’ll be redirected to jobs.jobs, which is a search engine for the .jobs gTLD. Search.travel allows you to search .travel gTLDs, and I’m sure you can guess what you’ll be looking for if you search search.xxx.

Currently, there are 23 gTLDs. There will soon be hundreds. As the number of domain extensions grows, the need for more sophisticated search tactics will grow.

Google also allows you to search for information by domain extension. You have to use the Advanced Search features, which few people know about but are available nonetheless. When there are several hundred domain extensions to search through and each one has thousands of domain names vying for attention, you can bet that demand for domain-specific search will be a lot higher than it is today. It would not surprise me to see Google set up domain search verticals at each of the gLTDs as they are rolled out. Bing and Yahoo! too.

While domain-specific SEO is not something you should worry about right now, know that in five or ten years it will be.

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