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:
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.
As of 2019, I’m testing a Keyword Tool that attempts to go one step better than Google’s Keyword Planner Tool.