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SEO Benefits of .com Versus Everything Else

SEO-Benefits com vs. orgShould you go with a .com, .info, .org or dot-something else? Except in very rare instances, it’s almost always best to go with a .com domain name. Sure, you might need to do a .gov or a .edu, but for the vast majority of businesses a .com in your URL is best—for the reasons you may not be aware of.

Domain names have a long history in search engine optimization (SEO) strategies. It hasn’t always been for the “best” reasons and over time Google has adjusted for spammy SEO domain efforts. Today, the top-level domain (TLD) can still play a part of an overall search engine optimization (SEO) strategy and helps move websites up in the rankings.

You should be aware that SEO encompasses many things including high quality content, organically placed keywords, link building, the speed of the website, and a host of other things. However, a .com—instead of other options—is also great SEO fodder. It helps with “brandability” because let’s face it: a .com looks more authoritative, is more common, and is more popular than any other option. It is memorable – our minds are wired to think “dot com”!

Building Your Brand

 Your website is the pillar from which you build your brand, and it starts with the URL. When users find you online, it’s the URL they remember, and it’s what they share with their friends on social media. It’s a rookie mistake to think that only links and keywords matter with SEO—the truth is that Google has an affinity for brands. This is evident in our Rankings Factors Study where we highlight the brand effect.

“The analysis shows that brands rank better, with the number of domains steadily decreasing from positions 2 to 10, with only position 1 showing different results.” Essentially this highlights that brands can control high position even more so when the keywords are generic. Brands and branding can vary between niche and global presence. Your domain plays a part in the brandability of your business.

Don’t Get Too Creative

 Excepting .org for non-profits, .gov for government sites, and .edu for educational institutions, .com should be your only option. It’s the norm, and it’s nearly standardized. Did you know that 75% of all websites in the US have a .com extension? It’s what people assume your website will end with, even when it is not using this extension. You want to be memorable in a good way, and getting too creative with the URL can cause trouble.

One goal of SEO is to link users with the best, most relevant websites out there. Unusual domains create a challenging dynamic, something which can be overcome with strong content marketing and media. However for every unusual domain that succeeds many more fail in gaining the necessary recognition. You’re basically signing up for a handicap and that’s the last thing you need (there will be plenty of other challenges in the SEO game, so choose your battles wisely).

Still on the fence? Ask yourself why you’re considering anything besides a .com. There’s a good chance the reasons don’t make sense—and ultimately don’t make sense with your online reputation and branding. Here is the data to back up this justification.

 

dotcom vs dotorg in search engine 

Jordan Koene

Jordan Koene

Jordan Koene is the CEO of Searchmetrics Inc. a wholly owned subsidiary of Searchmetrics. Previously, Jordan was the Head of SEO and Content Development at eBay. During his time at eBay, Jordan focused on utilizing eBay content to improve user experience and natural search traffic.

25 thoughts on “SEO Benefits of .com Versus Everything Else


  • I agree with most of your data, however expanding on the concept of name and brand recognition there are a lot of opportunities to have a different TLD that is memorable. As an example join.me has done well with that combination of words. Options like .construction and .consulting allow for some memorable URL’s. Admittedly, the off web marketing will need to be a little more aggressive to drive the point home that they don’t have a .com, but it will stick better. I’m not a big fan of the .co because it is to close to .com and therefore people will just automatically add the m and get to the wrong site. However, in general I think having a creative TLD if for no other reason that print and other non-web advertising is a very good idea. The domain can just be a 301 redirect to the regular site. Then when the brand recognition is strong enough you can make the non-conventional domain the primary domain.

  • I would like specific answers, based on SEO experiments, regarding how much search engines use TLDs as a factor while ranking results.

    1. For informational queries, does a search engine like Google favor certain TLDs while ranking results?
    I think it is the content of the web page or the website as a whole that matters to Google rather than the type of TLD.

    2. What is the difference in ranking TLDs when it comes to transactional queries?
    I think even in case of transactional queries, the content of the web page can be optimized to rank well in Google, if Google discounts a specific type of TLD.

  • Good way to sum up the importance of a *.com domain, though I will also agree with Brad on this one, too. It doesn’t have to be an either/or decision–why not snap up both domains? Use your *.ly and *.me domains for branding, and then redirect the site.

    Last I checked, one domain’s just at less than $10 a year (cheaper if you get a longer term plan), so snapping up a novelty domain shouldn’t be a huge budget concern for all.

  • I definitely agree to your opinion about .com domains. However I think Brad has touched a good point. If you want to eypand your brand, you should take into consideration to use different domains to catch more customers. With a seo agency it is not complicated to launch a new page.

  • I’m going to take the contrarian position here. Though .com is king today, .com will be dead in the not too distant future for a few reasons. The new TLDs are here, and they are coming at such a blistering pace. Why would a company use a .com when they can use the entire domain to reinforce their brand or create a call to action. Here are 2 examples: http://www.enjoycoke.com and http://enjoy.coke.

    What creates more of a reaction with the brand? What is easier to type? What takes less room to print, or room in an ad, or room on a screen? Big brands are going to make the change.

    But, think about small businesses as well (you know, the ones that drive a huge % of the economy, and are constantly being created every day across the nation). Small businesses cannot get memorable .com domains. Whether because a larger brand has it, or domainers have it and are holding it ransom, it doesn’t matter. Small businesses want a domain that is as memorable and brandable as big companies’ do, but are forced to create long domains because nothing else is available. They are going to embrace the new TLDs.

    Finally, though we all think about .coms as the authoritative domain today, that wasn’t always the case. Can you remember when you first started using urls in a browser. We have trained ourselves to use the option that is unintuitive and cumbersome. But, people can undo that training pretty quickly (I know I have), and the upcoming generations who don’t know any better, will judge .coms versus the new TLDs by their merit… and the new TLDs will win in their minds.

    .coms are on their way out.

  • If your company buys a content management system, make sure that the system creates pages and links that search engines can crawl.

  • Ouwwhh!! Nice Post…. Well Done..Awesome…Thanks for the sharing..Wish you best of luckk… Tech Androiding

  • how if the case, another brand rank 1 with .ME and i buy .COM for fight with him? can i won this competition with .com and replace them rank?

  • Hello!
    I just discovered this post, and I can’t agree with You. I do SEO for seven years, I tried tons of white hat method to get higher rank in less time. I think, the TLD is very important factor for a new project.
    When I make new project nowadays, I search tld from the new, unusual tld-s: .online, .digital, .today, etc. But I bought a one letter “.tips” domain more days ago, I see, the one letter domain is very rarely in SERP, and I think, the website will get boost from Google.
    In my experience: Google very-very loves the unique, unusual, and expensive ($50+) tlds in SERP (if the content is well).
    I think the “.com” is very commerce tld now, and Google wants to show variable interesting results for search terms.
    Maybe this is unbelievable, but when I move a .com or .net website to a new, interesting TLD, I get higher organic traffic in a short time.
    Regards,
    Attila

  • Great post there sir, I am not too SEO savvy, thx 🙂

  • It make sense when we consider remembering domain name then .com will do its best. if it is some non standard domains it will loose direct traffic a little bit. Even major browsers automatically append .com at the end if press ctrl + enter.

  • Manoj Kumar Sethi 2017/03/02 at 6:07 am

    Thats what I was looking for. Thank you for sharing this useful article on domain. I was bit confusion whether to go for .com or .info for new projects.

    Thanks once again.

  • Very Nice article Jordan Koene, I have few points to add

    .com domains are the most used domains so that they remain in most positions in top 10 pages in searches.
    For targeting geolocation like India, .in is the best, but the same can be done using .com domain with geolocation targeting in webmaster tools in google.

    .in will not help for international targeting.
    .net,.org will help you to target international locations similar to .com

    But overall there is an upper hand for .com domain everywhere.

  • Google will take the location of the business into consideration as a ranking factor if it deems it necessary and will present local results to local searchers, regardless of the domain extension. There is no real SEO benefit to choosing one domain extension over another. What will determine the success of your website is the content within. Again Google have confirmed this.

  • What is the difference with .com same .net or others if using SEO plugin ??

  • Actually it is better to use. Com because of the domain that .net .org and others as well as .com but better and faster readable in the search engine is .com

  • difference between .co and .co.in??

  • Google will take the location of the business into consideration as a ranking factor if it deems it necessary and will present local results to local searchers, regardless of the domain extension.

  • Thanks for the info. Like me, i’m still confuse either to use .com or .ccTLD. After reading your article, now i’m going to use .com anyway. I read many article about ccTLd is better for targeting specific country. However, this article make me clear why i should not considering anything beside .com.

    Thank you again.

  • So, between an old .info domain name (2005, my nickname on internet) i have and a new .com domain name (2017, my last name), i’d better go on the new one because it’s a .com ?

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  • I totally agree with the author but their are some scenarios where a regional country specific domain will have an edge over .com domain. It totally depends on the purpose of the website. Thanks for writing, I really enjoy reading it.

  • I completely agree with your view point. In General when we share about our organization or company with someone they ask for website and they assume it its.com . Thats the most crucial thing becoz if we have chosen a domain which generally users dont assume it will be hard for them to remember and in that process we can loose valuable customers . Thanks for sharing

  • You have explained the benefits of .com in an excellent manner. Thanks for sharing this article.

  • Tracking System Direct 2019/04/22 at 4:19 pm

    google should NOT put more value on a .com over a .net because all people do now is buy domains and sit on them to resell. And the first thing they buy are .coms


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