Is .Com the Best Domain Name Extension for Google Search Engine Ranking?

What are the best domain name extensions?

What are the best domain name extensions?

Is .com the best domain name extension for the highest Google ranking? The answer is yes from my experience.

Here’s how I did an my casual empirical study mixed with a little of my own anecdotal evidence. Every time I publish a blog with a .com extension, it shows up on page one within a month or two if there are only 100,000 or less competing broad match sites in the search results. Often, a new .com site works its way to the first position on page one of a Google search if the exact keywords are in the domain name. I’m amazed that since the beginning of 2008, I’ve been enjoying this phenomenon. It sure does make optimizing my sites a lot easier. Usually, I don’t have to build more than about 5 appropriate back links to get in the top position on a Google for local businesses in a city of 500,000 or less.

What about the other domain name extensions like: .net, .org, .info, .biz, .me, .mobi, .tv, .us and .ws?  To test it, I published multiple blogs at the same time with all of the same domain name, meta tags, h1 titles and descriptions and the only two that were hot in the summer of 2009 were .com and .org. The others showed up on page 50 or deeper. I know that this isn’t a scientific test, but I have been witnessing this trend for at least 2 years. So, my preference would be .com, .org and then .net. The others, well good luck, you’ll need to get familiar with additional search engine optimization strategies if you use .info, .biz, .me, .mobi, .tv, .us or .ws. I do buy and use them, but I try to avoid them if possible because they are more of a challenge to rank well.

To galvanize my point, I have several blank websites at the number one spot on Google with nothing but an h1 tag and the meta tags. So, content isn’t as important as some preach even though SEO gurus often say, “Content is king”. I believe with the current Google algorithm, content is not king. Links absolutely beat content with Google. Great content does not get you to the top of the search engines, SEO does.

Brad Fallon of SEO Research, one of my most admired SEO experts, said on his famous “Stomping the Search Engines” SEO course, that it didn’t make any difference to Google which domain extension you used. “Stomping the Search Engines” is over 5 years old and I believe that it does make a difference today what your domain name extension you secure. I’ll bet Brad has seen a shift as well. I’d love to hear his latest thoughts on this as I respect his opinion on search.

On a similar issue, as I mentioned above, it is prudent to secure a domain name with your primary keyword phrase. That will give it a boost as well. So many go for branding, but I go with keywords in domain name whenever possible. If I have to go with branding on the main site domain name, then I’ll simultaneously promote a blog or another site with the primary keywords in the domain name, then point the traffic to the main branded website.

Most know that getting some age on your domain name and website helps in your rankings as well. If you purchased a domain name and you’re leaving it as a generic parked page at GoDaddy, then publish it with meta tags and at least an h1 title tag to start getting some age on the site. When you are ready to create the rest of your site, you’ll climb to the top even faster. I used to leave everything on Cash Parking at GoDaddy, but those sites have become a mere fraction of what they used to bring in revenue, so now I say, publish early and publish often, forget Cash Parked pages unless you are making a bundle.

Ranking of Domain Name Extensions:

1. .Com

2. .Org

3. .Net

4. .Us

5. .Me

6. .Biz

7. .Info

8. .Ws

9. .Mobi

The .co domain name extension came on in the last year and was marketed as the new .com. I tested it and it’s a dog. They were trying to sell it for a $30 premium, but don’t fall for the hype.

2011 is coming to an end, I’ve been finding the top 3 domain name extensions remain to only ones with an SEO boost. A domain name reseller tried to tell me that the new .co is the new .com, but after testing, it’s just a sales ploy because it kind of sounds like .com; it did not fare any better than .biz. The price was a whopping $28 with no added benefits. If you are grabbing all your domain name extensions to protect and control your name online, then I recommend buying it. I own all mine for that purpose.

What have your experiences been with domain name extensions and Google ranking? Please share them with us.

As of July of 2011. The .com, .org and the .net varieties remain the best top level domain name extensions for seo. I have seen no notable boost for all the others. GoDaddy.com sales people were pushing the .co extension as the new .com; however, after testing, it became clear it was a dog and simply a sales ploy to take advantage of the naivety of the public. Unfortunately, they were selling it off at a premium price (around $20 or $30 a year as I recall); sad, indeed.

For an authoritative discussion of top level domain name, one can go to the Wikipedia’s discussion of it at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Internet_top-level_domains.

To rank in a foreign country, you should consider this discussion of International domain name extensions: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internationalized_domain_name.

 

This post is still accurate as of December of 2011.

The .xxx domain name extensions are now on sale for about $99 a year at: http://bit.ly/xxx-domain-name-sale.

 

Off the wall: Who is the Coolest Guy on the Planet in the SEO landscape?

147 Comments

  1. Thanks Glen,

    I also have a .info domain. People say that .info can’t rank? I’m not to sure about that so im guna give it a try :)

    Thanks again
    Ty

    Reply
    • A .info domain name extension can rank well; it’s just more difficult. You’ll need to do some ‘one page optimization’ and solid link building with anchor text. .Info extensions are attractive due to their lower price, but I’d recommend a .com, .org or .net for easier ranking.

      Reply
    • I would add a throw-away word to the domain name like MyKidneyPain.com, KidneyPainSolution.com or KidneyPainCure.com before I would buy a .info and try to compete against others when you’re already behind the 8 ball.

      Reply
  2. Thanks Glen, I saw a website avail for .org and not .com so I did a search and your website popped up. It helped clear things up. I guess I’ll grab the .org.

    However, as far as branding goes, .com is definitely better hands down.

    Reply
    • Wise decision; I buy and use .org domain name extensions routinely and enjoy their high ranking.

      Reply
  3. Great post Glen. One question though, I read in another blog about the .Me extension being a replacement for .Yu which is Yugoslavia could this be true? I thought the .Me extension is suppose to be personal? As in yourname.Me?

    Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    • The .me simply stands for Montenegro, where it was first established. It has an interesting derivation, you can read more about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.me. Many sites use the .me extension, like I have one at http://about.me/glenwoodfin. It’s cute for branding because it’s a personal pronoun used in the English language, but it doesn’t mean, me, as in me and you. It represents the location it was established.

      Unfortunately, it’s got one of the lowest seo boosts for any domain name extension. I’d say it was equivalent to a .info or .us.

      Reply
  4. Thank you for this usefull post, it’s clear that .com is the best. But why google is giving more importance to .com and not to other extension. I have some french blogs and i host them all in USA servers (because of good server prices and support) and i see that google don’t pay attention to where your blog/website is hosted. why it’s no the same for domaine names extensions?

    Reply
    • If you wish to be number one on Google in a particular country, there is evidence to show that you should go for the most powerful domain name extension in that country and even host your site in that country. For example, in France, it would be the .fr domain name extension and in the UK it would be .co.uk and so on. If you can’t get that, then a .com would be the next best thing. If you are in the USA, go for a .com, .org or .net extension when available.

      This is not required to be number one in your country, but it seems to give you a boost thus saving yourself a lot of link building. Good content, basic on site and off site optimization can overcome almost any domain name extension. Buying a domain name with the with your exact keyword phrase can help a lot too. For example, if you wish to be number one for: Coolest Guy on the Planet, go for CoolestGuyonthePlanet.com. In fact, I purchased, http://www.CoolestGuyonthePlanet.net and it gave me a boost for that keyword phrase. The .com was not available. Adding throw away words in the domain name is a fallback position like: MyCoolestGuyonthePlanet.com. Google barely notices the word my in the ranking.

      I believe the most powerful domain name extension for global dominance is the .com.

      Reply
  5. Hi,
    I read this article but the best .com domain names have already been purchased. After .com , is the the country domain name extension (like .ir in Iran) the best choice or is .net and .org?

    Thanks.

    Reply
    • If you are wanting your site to rank well in Iran, then I believe the best domain name extension for a search on http://www.google.com/intl/fa/ (Google of Iran) would be your country’s primary domain name extension. If .ir is the primary one for Iran, then go with that one if you wish to be number 1 on searches within Iran. The second choice would be .com. If you wish to come up number one in the United States, you’d want to buy a .com with your primary keywords in the domain name. If you wish to be number one in the world without regard to country, I’d recommend a .com domain name extension.

      Reply
  6. could anybody tell me if i register a domain name having keyword of my niche . So will be useful if i use hyphen ” – ” and long domain name . If my website niche is about women health and i use domain . e.g ” women-health-fitness-guide.com “will this kind of domain be helping u to rank high ?

    Reply
    • I first buy KeywordPhrase.com, KeywordPhrase.net and KeywordPhrase.org. If those aren’t availble, then I buy Keyword-Phrase.com, Keyword-Phrase.net and Keyword-Phrase.org as a second choice. They’re good, but not as good as the non hyphenated urls.

      Reply
  7. I would like to do a website for my name and perhaps a few other people… Could I use TreWatts.org instead of .net or others and if so, would I then need to make sure all proceeds from work I do is not-for-profit in some way? Does that make sense?

    Thanks!
    T

    Reply
    • I’m not aware of any restrictions forcing you to use .org for non profits. That is the tradition and stigma, but I’ve seen tons of commerical sites selling products on the .org domain name extension.

      Reply
  8. I’ve had the same experience. My “.net” extension site appears at position three on the first page of google and the “.in” one appears much deeper even though the domain name was the keyword i was searching.

    Reply
    • Like you, I came to the same conclusion. It’s hard to explain why Google chose the .com, .org and .net domain name extensions to be king, but it’s become obvious. I’m guessing, but one day I think they will become more flexible. The web is growing exponentially. Children who are born today will never have the selection of domain names or extensions that we have had and that’s ridiculous favoritism. 10 years from now, could some upstart lawyer present a class action lawsuit with teeth?

      Reply
  9. hey Glen my name brother!

    There is alot of buzz about .ws now.
    It ranks faster blablabla.
    Have you exp that?

    Also like to learn from u about SEO.

    Reply
    • Hi Glen, wow, you even spell it with one n. I think my parents knew I’d be too lazy to ever write out two n’s.

      I have never seen any advantage to the .ws domain nmae extension for seo, but there are times when I buy it. For example, when I’m trying to completely own an exact keyword phrase, then I purchase all the domain name extensions for that keyword or keyword phrase. I also do it for brand protection.

      In answer to your question, I’ve never had any indication a .ws estension has any power in the Google algorithm. You can still get it to rank, but it will be extra work.

      From my memory, the .ws extension got bought out by a mulit-level marketing company and they created an awesome website telling you how great it was, therefore, it created a bunch of recruiters that would pump up its value, but their motive was profit, not seo. The .ws extension is as close to the bottom of my list for seo benefit as the .info.

      I remember when Godaddy was promoting the .co extension, they gave me a call trying to get me to buy into it. They said it’s the new .com. I told them I would test it and get back to them. Unfortunately, the .co was at the bottom of the pail for seo, so I let them know my results. They asked me to name a price to have them fly me in and talk to the Godaddy employees about what works and what doesn’t and why. I never accepted, but I saved a recording of the voice mail because I considered it a compliment.

      Reply
  10. You say it’s best to have your main keyword in the domain, which I agree it is best. But, do you think a .com with part of the keyword (for example) can still rank better than a .org or .net that has the full keyword in the domain? Given their SEO is set up the same way? I’m just trying to get an idea of how much a .com will dominate others.

    Thanks Glen,
    Tom

    Reply
    • I do think that having your exact keywords in the domain name is fine if you can get it in the .net or .org extensions when the .com is already taken. If you put part of your primary keywords in the domain name of a .com, it’s also good, but not the best.

      Use my site for an example, the domain name url is: http://www.glenwoodfin.com and yet it ranks on page one for ‘reputation expert’ currently. GlenWoodfin.com has no relevant connection to keywords about ‘reputation expert’ yet I’m ranking highly in a competitive field. If you can’t find anything with a .com extension that has an exact match for your primary keywords, then you just have to do the best you can and bridge the gap with other SEO methods. I created GlenWoodin.com first, then later decided to offer content on ‘online reputation management’. I bought GlenWoodfin.com to have a voice using my name, then later decided to feature content on reputation management. Therefore, your selection of the keywords in the domain name are not the final chapter in your story.

      It’s not the end of the world if you can’t get your exact primary keywords in the domain name with the .com extension, it just gives you an advantage. If you put up solid content and do additional off site SEO, you can beat most other sites; however, if you publish a site and that’s the last thing you ever do to promote your site, don’t expect great things if it’s a competitive market.

      Rust never sleeps and if you are going up against other active SEOs, then it’s an arms race. If other sites publish a site with an exact keyword match and immediately beat you, it doesn’t have to be the end of the story. You can still beat them if you care for your garden with planting, watering, fertilizing and weeding.

      Cut and dried, yes it helps you to buy a .com url with only part of your keywords in the domain name. There is a boost there. I would have an advantage with my site if I bought GlenWoodfinReputationExpert.com, but it’s not the end of the story.

      To look at a bigger example, do a search for: ‘purchase a domain name’. Right now, Godaddy.com comes up number one because they bought a domain name thinking of branding rather than generic keyword searches, but they made up for it with other factors and have now become a household name. They would have been better off in the early stages to have purchased the domain name: DomainNames.com, but they didn’t, yet they are probably the number one seller of domain names.

      The proverb about the tortoise and the hare is true…if someone has beat you to the feeding trough early in the race, the tortoise can still win with diligence in the long run.

      Reply
  11. Great article. Thanks for the info. I have found the same thing with sites ranking with no real content. I just bought google1.co and have been very surprised that it is starting to rank with virtually no content. I was wondering if .co’s were doing better, but from your results I guess not.

    I have had good luck with .org’s and after reading your article will try and stick with them as a 2nd to the .com. Thanks for the advice.

    Reply
    • I tested the .co domain name extension when it first came out. It didn’t perform well. As far as I know, it is still not doing well for seo. However, with Google in the domain name, you might get some traffic.

      Let me know.

      Reply
  12. In my experience i can tel you that com and net domains is the best.I don’t now why but sometimes net domain is better than com domain.About org domain.Must say that with this domain i have so many problems usually because i can’t get this domain in first page higher than in 5 place one time i get this domain name in page 3 and that’s it. I always check domains net or com.That is my experience.

    Reply
  13. Matt Cutts in a statement describe that it does not matter that what extension you are using to optimize your website. All domain extensions having same reputation. Many of the popular domain extensions are .com, .biz. .info, .org, .com is the world top level domain, .biz represents Business domain and its demand also increasing very rapidly.

    Reply
    • Matt Cutts is wrong if he said that a .biz is as good for seo as a .com. I don’t have to get input on this one; I’ve tested it over and over.

      Reply
  14. Great work on this article! I wanted to buy KeywordPhrase.com but it is not available for my exact keyword. I’d like to know which is the better alternative: KeywordPhrase.org, MyKeywordPhrase.com, or Keyword-Phrase.com?

    Reply
    • KeywordPhrase.org is good, so is KeywordPhrase.net. I’ve had success with Keyword-Phrase.com with a little extra offsite link building. The one with a hyphen is probably a little less potent.

      By the way, I love your domain name: Oxford Moron. That’s hilarious!

      I’m jazzed because recently I bought http://www.GoogleGuru.com by using a Godaddy backorder. I can’t believe it came back on the market. It’s not great for SEO, but the branding is awesome.

      Reply
  15. Very good content to learn from here. Just want to mention that many of my .info sites beat out my exact keyword domain name in .com. when I published them at the same time. Its only been a few months, so that may change in the long run of course.
    Heres a question for March 19, 2012.
    If I am selling a product that has 675,000 mo. searches and 30 million competing sites, which extension will be easier to rank with, .mobi or .tv? I own the .tv extension, but wonder if I should switch to .mobi for the long haul, or use both. I am trying to cut back on my hundreds of names at the same time. I hope you will answer this before that .mobi name is no longer available.

    Reply
    • I’d say they are both equal, but neither is good for an SEO boost.

      I’d prefer a hyphenated .com if available, like: Glen-Woodfin.com.

      Reply
  16. I am using .biz domain extensions for all of my domains, this represents my business & i am getting good visitors to my websites and getting good rank for all of my keywords. Some of the best .biz domains are 9.biz, profit.biz, up.biz and tips.biz

    Reply
    • You would rank even higher if you owned the .com, .net or .org versions of those domain names, but I’m happy if you’re happy.

      Reply
  17. Hi Glen,

    I was wondering how .ca would fair in the scheme of things? I have a keyword in mind, but the .com, .net, and .org extentions are already taken. Would it be wise to go with .ca, or should I try with a different keyword?

    Thanks for your response!

    David.

    Reply
    • All the other domain name extensions don’t rank well without a bit of link building except for the .com, .net and .org extensions.

      Domain names are only $8 and Google does not penalize you for duplicate content on different sites, so you could buy both and clone the content. For example, you could buy a .com and add an extra relevant word and at the same time buy a domain name with the .ca extension and see which one works best. My guess is if you choose well, the .com variation will persorm slightly better in ranking, but you’ll know for sure by testing. Then, when you find out, put your emphasis on the one that performs better in the search and you only spent $8 extra to find out what works best with the latest Google algorithm.

      An example would be GlenWoodinSEO.com when going for GlenWoodfin.com.

      Google only penalizes you for duplicate content on your own site, but even that can be mitigated with the canonical tag (http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=139394).

      However, if you live in Canada, the .ca domain name extension could perform well on Canadian based searches, but it won’t rank as well outside of Canada.

      Reply
  18. .co ranks fantastic. Maybe the author of this site doesnt understand seo very well.

    Reply
    • Could you give me an example of a .co ranking well? I wrote you a couple of weeks ago asking you for an example. If it does rank well, I’m happy to share this discovery of yours.

      Reply
  19. Hi,

    If we don’t have the desired .com name available but the regional one available , does it help if we register a similar .com domain and point it / redirect it towards the regional one , just for the sake of getting higher rankings on google … Ex if …. http://www.happylife.com is not available and if http://www.happylife.co.uk is available would it be worthwhile to register a secondary preference such as http://www.happy-life.com and redirect it to http://www.happylife.co.uk and still manage to get higher ranking in google against only using the regional one solely.. even if audience target is global as well as regional..

    Reply
    • I have only limited experience with this, but I think if you live in the UK, then your alternate is a good one. It’s possible even to be better if you want traffic from the UK.

      Another good thing is you can do link building from any country and all the links can help boost your ranking. I did link building in the United States for a Russian .ru site and got it to rank number one for my primary keyword phrase in Russia using links based in the USA.

      Reply
  20. which better domain and high rank domain

    .co
    .info
    .org

    i will create a songs site which is the better for me

    Reply
    • The .org will perform much better in the search engine rankings.

      Reply

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