Dubbed ‘Big Three’, .com, .net and .org are the oldest and most widely used domain suffixes. Also known as domain extensions, they have grown in importance with the development of search engines and search engine optimization (SEO), which has led to increased validation of each suffix.
Today, there are hundreds of domain suffixes available for business. We discuss why domain suffixes are the key to SEO success and why .com is the best extension to choose.
Choosing a domain suffix is as important as choosing your name
A domain name consists of three parts: a domain suffix, also called a top-level domain or domain extension, a domain name, and an optional subdomain.
The most common domain suffix is .com. In fact, about 52% of all websites use .com domain suffixes.
Your domain name should be easy to remember so that your customers can easily find your website. SEO requires the same. On the other hand, for users to find your website through search results, it needs to be meaningful.
According to Moz, one of the largest and most respected SEO agencies in the United States, strict SEO guidelines must be followed to better rank domain names, especially avoiding the use of non-.com domains. The other key aspects they highlight are:
- Readability – Of course, The domain name should be easy to read
- Use broad keywords – while avoiding intelligent and keyword-rich domain names
- Finding a Brandable Domain Name – Not Just Keywords
- And avoid hyphens
Google prefers a .com domain because it is the oldest and largest
The .com domain extension is by far the most widely used and valuable domain suffix of all domain extensions. To put it bluntly, Google is biased towards websites with .com TLDs.
Although businesses may wonder why .com is still so dominated by Google, the answer lies in the interaction of people with search engines. Cognitive fluency is in favor of a top-level domain (TLD) that is simple and familiar.
A website with a domain name called yourbusiness.com may be given more authority by Google than yourbusiness.co.uk or yourbusiness.business because users are more likely to type in yourbusiness.com than yourbusiness.co.uk or any other TDL.
Despite sharing birthdays with suffixes like .net and .org, .com has become the default domain extension, and so it is the most memorable to people. This is why .com is better than any other domain extension for SEO.
Since .com domains are the most powerful, they have become more popular. Like the custom license plate or the new fad food, it has increased competition for the best .com domains. Many .com domains are now only available at a premium price, or will already be taken, which means it can be difficult to find your ideal .com domain.
Which leads many businesses to find their domain name with less popular suffixes. While this may seem reasonable for branding purposes, it can be detrimental to your site’s online visibility.
New domain extensions can hamper your SEO campaign
Regardless of the value of .com, there are many different domain extension options to choose from For example, a brewery might want to use a .beer TLD. Doing so may be a good example of what your business is doing, but can it be valuable for your site’s visibility online?
In 2012, Matt Cutts, then head of Google’s Webspam, reduced the impact of domain extensions on SEO. He said at the time, “Google has a lot of experience in returning relevant web pages regardless of top-level domain (TLD). Will get the initial choice of type. “
So, we know that you won’t get any benefit from using a new domain extension, but can the opposite be true? Well, opinions are divided here. There are some instances when it comes to websites with new TLD rankings, but it is not 100% certain that this is because they have a domain suffix or not.
This is partly due to search engines like Google not being open about how their algorithms work. This is because every search engine algorithm consists of numerous small ranking factors, which are constantly updated and changed. It is almost impossible to know which ranking factor, be it domain extension or site link, is ranking the new TLD site well. Sticking to a .com domain is therefore the safest option if you want to rank well.