September 21, 2015

How Will Google Search Treat My Domain If It’s Not a .com?

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top level domains tnFirst off, what is a top-level domain (TLD) or generic top-level domain (gTLD)? These are website suffixes such as .com, .net, .org. These top-level domains are managed by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), which is run by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). We are all familiar with the few suffixes we see every day, but there are hundreds more out there, and new suffixes being applied for all the time.

When you are searching for a domain for your business or blog, you will want to use your company name and/or most relevant key terms in your domain name. But what if your ideal name has already been registered with the .com suffix? Will choosing a .net or .guru TLD hinder you within Google’s search results?

According to a recent Google blog (http://ow.ly/PXarA) Google states that these gTLD will be treated the same: “Overall, our systems treat new gTLDs like other gTLDs (like .com & .org). Keywords in a TLD do not give any advantage or disadvantage in search.”

With many millions of domains out there, one must choose carefully their domain name, however. There is certainly more brand recognition associated with a .com domain. According to Google, nearly 50% of the websites it crawls use the .com top-level domain.

So from an SEO (search engine optimization) perspective, if your ideal .com domain is taken, would it be better to choose a .net or one of the new region/city suffixes or a less than ideal name with a .com suffix?

To see a complete list of the current top-level domains in use, listed on IANA’s website: http://www.iana.org/domains/root/db

Ross McClenahan

Ross McClenahan is co-owner and Lead Developer at Tree Top Web Design, a Santa Cruz Web Design firm.

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