Which Domain Extension is Best for SEO?9 min read
A sudden realization that it’s mid-January now and all the resolutions’ I’ve made at a single midnight are slowly becoming a reality, gave me a surprising sense of pride and dedication. It turned out that it’s not the articulation of my resolutions that mattered but rather the clarity of my own motivations behind my desires. And getting started following an objective has little to do with Earth’s orbit around the sun. Or at least, there’s no good enough reason to think otherwise.
When beginning your journey, however, it is imperative to take as many details into consideration as possible. It is better to have a confident and delayed start than to dive in and lose motivation once you realize how unprepared you’ve been.
When it comes to creating a website, the number of things that will be occupying your mind are endless. Nevertheless, I take a safe bet that SEO will be one of them. While researching on the questions you’re interested in, you might stumble upon an unexpected uncertainty. Which domain extension is best for SEO? Most importantly, does really the choice of domain affect your ranking at all?
Which Domain Extension is Best for SEO?
Before we proceed to answer this question, it’s important to clear a couple of things out.
First of all, when deciding to register a domain name, there are a number of practices to take into consideration. One of the leading aspects here is the name itself which ideally will be your brand name.
When looking for a long-term result, choosing keywords as your domain name is not the best practice. Moreover, the simpler and shorter the domain is, the more memorable it will be to your customers. The only downside here is that most of the word-based domain names are long gone.
Nevertheless, it is still possible to find cheap domains that will help you build the website you’ve always wanted.
The domain name’s effectiveness does have an impact on your overall ranking performance even though this effect is rather indirect. Nonetheless, it is useful to keep in mind that whatever you choose now, might eventually affect your performance.
When it comes to which domain extension is best for SEO, the notion of gTLDs come to play.
TLD stands for Top-Level Domain and represents the end of your domain. For example, in the domain name awardspace.com, the .com is the TLD.
gTLDs (Generic Top Level Domains), on the other hand, are those domains that don’t target a specific country and are widely known all over the world. As Google suggests,
If your site has a generic top-level domain, such as .com or .org, you can help us determine which countries are most important to you. If your site has a country-coded top-level domain (such as .ie or .fr) it is already associated with a geographic region (in this example, Ireland or France). If you use a country-coded domain, you won’t be able to specify a geographic location. You can specify a target country in the International Targeting report.
Some of the most popular gTLDS today include but are not limited to:
These domains represent a small portion of all of the gTLDs that promise a worldwide success. If you website is, for instance, an eCommerce store, you might want to sell globally and therefore, rank high on google.com as opposed to your regional extension.
On the other hand, there are many reasons to choose the local TLDs, such as .de and .es. In these cases you would usually prefer reaching an immediate audience within a certain country where you offer your services, sell products, or write blog posts.
Whichever of these two cases describes you best, it is important to evaluate your future market and aspirations before choosing a ‘witty’ local TLD. Often when a certain memorable domain is already taken in its generic extension, creators decide to go with a local domain just to make sure they’ve got the word intended. This is in no way beneficial for your SEO, as the only thing it ensures is ranking on the SERP of the specific country. And if that is not your initial intention, there’s no reason to do it.
With .com .org, and .net being the global leaders of domain extensions, choosing them where possible is a promising way to start your website and its search engine optimization strategy.
Also, hyphens are the only punctuation allowed in domain names. However tempting they might be, try to avoid them if possible and minimize their use to up to one in case it’s necessary.
Domains and SEO
We often get asked for advice on how to choose a domain name, how to claim it, or how to optimize it. The truth is that there is no single formula when it comes to domains as their ranking impact is mainly indirect. And this is not to say that it shall be neglected. On the contrary!
Their importance lies in the identification of a web page with its URL and because Google aims to serve appropriate content, the better the formulation of the domain, the more favourable to the search engine your website will be.
The most important notions to keep in mind when choosing a domain is whether it is planned to become a global or a local website. Both of these have their own advantages but if not sure, it is always safe to choose a .com, .org, or .net gTLD.
Also, the name of the domain can also affect the overall SEO by turning your web enterprise into a memorable brand with a simple and quick linguistic association. For these reasons, domains can impact the ranking of your website and either help it skyrocket from the very beginning or slow down the SEO process.
Choices and decisions are upon you. Keep in mind that resolutions only become reality when true dedication is its driving force.
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