Do you want to get a domain extension that’s best for SEO?
If you want your site in the top ranks on Google, you have to optimize your site for SEO in every way you can. And your domain name and its extension can be the foundation for an SEO-friendly website.
In this guide, we’ll discuss which is the best extension (TLD) for your website’s SEO.
If you’re unfamiliar with the TLDs and the different kinds, you may want to read this post first: What Is a Top Level Domain? (TLDs Explained + Popular Extensions)
Now first, let’s see how the domain extension affects SEO and by how much.
Do TLDs (Domain Extensions) Affect SEO?
Domain extensions can affect SEO but it’s only one of many ranking factors. So it may or may not make a difference to your SEO.
In the past, website owners used domain names with specific keywords and this worked in their favor. But then marketers started to exploit this tactic and Google took notice. So they changed the way they rank websites now.
So if you want to get to the top ranks of Google, then you need to make sure you have a brandable domain, user-friendly responsive website, useful content, and the user’s trust.
But even though Google says they don’t give the TLD much weightage, .com domains and other popular TLDs like .net and .org seem to rank better than other extensions. Take this search results for instance. All the top posts are from .com websites.
So if Google isn’t paying attention to the extension, why do other TLDs not perform as well on SERPs (search engine results pages)?
Why the .com Domain is Thought to Be Best for SEO
There are 1500+ TLDs (Top-Level Domains) but the .com domain remains the most popular. In fact, it’s used by 52% of all websites.
Now we know that Google doesn’t consider only .com sites and instead, ranks sites based on the actual content and other ranking factors. They have even confirmed that alternative gTLDs (Generic Top-Level Domains) do not affect a website’s ranking. So why do people think .com is best for SEO?
While the TLD (such as xyz or biz) itself may be safe and legit, users may see it as spammy. So for instance, .com is automatically trusted as a secure, credible, and professional brand. Since .com is also familiar, it signals to the audience that the website owner has done everything right.
But when the same visitor sees a .zip extension in the URL, they might think the site is harmful. So even if the site is ranking on Google, users who notice the URL might not click on it. If they do click, they might be quick to bounce when the site’s address loads in their browser.
So in SEO terms, you could lose traffic and have a high bounce rate simply because of a misconception about TLDs. It all lies in the audience’s perception of your brand.
Now that you know this, you could use other extensions as long as it compliments your brand. If you’re in the tech space and your website is all about tech, then a website like digimag.tech will likely gain the audience’s trust without any problem.
Similarly with ccTLDs, if a bakery in New Zealand had a website called jamesbakes.nz, no one would question its credibility but instead would know that the bakery is located in New Zealand and is catering to local folk. If people in the area are looking for a bakery near them, you have a better chance of showing up in their results.
There are also websites that have creatively used their domain extension like parse.ly. It’s a software-oriented company so its audience would automatically get the pun on “parse” – a term that’s so commonly used in coding languages.
So it’s not that other extensions are not an option. You just have to make sure that it enhances your brand.
Best Domain Name Extensions for SEO
Since Google isn’t ranking websites based on their TLD, you’re free to use any domain extension for your site. But there’s a right way to go about it and in this section, we’ll explain how to do that:
The .com Domain
Since .com is so well perceived by audiences around the world, if you can get the .com version, it’s the #1 choice.
It’s common, familiar, and easy for people to remember. Most site owners who have websites with other TLDs like .net, also get the .com domain. They then redirect the .com domain to their original site. That way, they catch the traffic that’s accidentally heading to .com and send them to the right address.
That said, it’s also really hard to find brandable .com domains because there are already millions registered. If you’re having a tough time with that, we recommend using our Name Generator.
You can enter a few keywords and the tool will run an AI-based algorithm, mixing and matching synonyms, alliterations, prefixes, suffixes, and more. Then you’ll get a list of results of the best available ideas for your domain name and you’ll be able to register the domain instantly before someone else does.
Local Domain Extensions
Local domain extensions are also known as ccTLDs or country code TLDs. It’s meant for businesses that want to cater to their region of local area. Some of the most popular ccTLDs include:
- .CN – China
- .TK – Tokelau
- .DE – Germany
- .UK – United Kingdom
- .TW – Taiwan
- .NL – Netherlands
- .RU – Russia
- .BR – Brazil
- .FR – French
There are also 39+ cities that have their own domain extensions. They include .nyc, .london, .berlin, .tokyo, .moscow, .melbourne, .quebec, .paris, .miami, .vegas, and .taipei, to name a few.
Typically, when you search locally, you type in your area or use the term “near me”. That helps search engines know where you’d like to see search results.
Having a country code top level domain helps the search engines and the users find your location.
Industry Relevant Domain Extensions
There are tons of extensions that are relevant to specific industries and it can work extremely well when used right.
It can also help you shorten your domain name. So for instance, instead of onlinetech.com, you could make it online.tech.
Here are the top industry-specific domain extensions you could use:
- .app – Apps
- .beer – Breweries and beer brands
- .blog – Blogs
- .buzz – Marketing and social networking
- .cafe – Coffee shops, cafeterias, delis, food and beverage vendors
- .car – Cars and vehicles
- .career – Jobs and job searching
- .club – Nightclubs, communities, networks
- .dev – Developer
- .eco – Sustainability minded companies, non-profits and professionals
- .edu – Education
- .express – Transportation, messenger, delivery & shipping services
- .faith – Religion, churches and religious institutions
- .fitness – Gyms, fitness, exercise
- .game – Gaming
- .health – Health, hospitals, clinics
- .info – Information
- .live – Live streaming sites
- .network – Social networks and groups
- .news – News and publications
- .org – Organization, non-profits, NGOs
- .pet – Animals and pets
- .press – Publishing and journalism
- .sport – Sports and related institutions
- .tech – Technology
There are thousands more to choose from but you need to stay away from extensions that are often associated with spam sites.
This can negatively impact your SEO, email marketing, and people may avoid your site in general.
Which Domains are Considered Spammy for SEO?
According to Spamhaus, the most abused TLDs include:
These domain extensions are flagged as bad because the ratio of bad to good domains may be higher than average. Some large TLDs may have a large number of bad domains on account of the enormous size of their domain collection.
So it’s best to stay clear of these spammy domain extensions. Added to that, we also suggest checking the domain’s history before you buy it.
This will show you what the domain name was used for and its SEO potential. Follow our guide: How to Check a Domain’s History Before Buying it (Steps + Tips).
Which domain extensions rank the best in Google?
Everyone including Google loves the .com as it’s the oldest and most popular. What’s more important in ranking is to create a website and content that’s relevant and useful to your target audience. You’ll also want to make sure you use an SSL certificate to secure your website’s data. This will ensure that Google recognizes your site as secure.
How many TLDs are there?
There are over 1,514 top level domains according to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
Should I use an .XYZ domain?
You can use .xyz as it’s gaining popularity. They are 100% legit and are categorized as top-level domains. XYZ domains remain uncategorized and aren’t meant for a particular domain or industry.They are not associated with any area like commercial, non-profit, or technology so you can use .xyz domains for just about any website. The downside is that the trust factor for XYZ isn’t any where close to a .com or .net. Read more here: Should You Register an XYZ Domain (Are They Worth It?)
Should I use a country-code extension?
If you are catering to a local audience then a country-code extension is a good idea. Google will recognise that you’re a local business and prioritize showing you in local SEO results. So people in your region will find you easily.
Which domains are considered the spammiest?
The spammiest TLDs include surf, cam, tt, ml, gq, top, cf, cn, and win. However, audiences automatically associate domains ending with .click, .adult, .xxx, .party, .cheap, .chat, .hot and similar domains with bad websites.
That’s our guide on the best domain extensions for SEO. We hope you found it helpful. Before you register a domain, you’ll want to read 5 Things You Need to Do Before Buying a Domain Name.
Up next, we’ve handpicked these posts for you:
- 8 WordPress Plugins to Step up Your SEO Game
- What Is Private Domain Registration? (Pros & Cons Explained)
- How to Register a Domain Name for Your Website (Beginner’s Guide)
These posts will help you get the best domain name for your site and step up your SEO game.