So you’ve decided to start a new website for your business. You’ve got the perfect name. But you’re wondering – what extension should you use? There are so many! And more are being added all the time. Should you go for something traditional, or make it flashy? Let’s take a look at some of the nuances.
Is There Any Impact SEO Wise?
In general no. With one MAJOR exception, domain name extensions have no impact on your rankings in search engines. We can use a bit of common sense here. If your choice of extension did have any rankings impact, then everyone would use the one that had the most influence and ignore all the rest. It’s also an incredibly easy signal to manipulate, so it doesn’t have much meaning.
I know I’ve said in the past to not pay too much attention to what Google says, but in this case, I think they’re being utterly honest about the lack of impact of domain extensions on SEO. The reason is that they have no reason to lie. Any signal that’s easily manipulated can’t be expected to be a magic bullet to SEO because it would quickly be swamped by everyone doing the same thing all at once.
The Exception – Country Based TLDs
Note in the above paragraph I mentioned that there was one major exception to the rule? That exception is country-based TLDs. So if you have a website that primarily serves residents in the UK, a domain extension of “co.uk” indicates greater local relevance to Google and you will get some extra mileage in the SERPS from visitors in that country.
Here we run into some conflicting advice from Google. In a video on Youtube, John Mueller said that TLD (including country-based ones) have no search impact. On the other hand, Google’s page on internationalization of websites states that having a country-specific TLD indicates to Google that the website is localized, and will therefore have greater visibility to users from that area.
From personal experience, I can confirm that TLDs do have an SEO impact in the area associated with them. Of course, if your site is an international one, then using a country TLD will prove costly when targeting visitors from all around the world. So if you want users from everywhere, it’s not worth it.
Stick with “.com” for the Most Part
Short of a country based TLD, I suggest you stick with the regular “.com”. With no SEO benefit, using another TLD only interferes with brand name recognition. If your customers type in your website URL directly into the address bar, you don’t want them to remember whether it’s a “.net” or a “.org” domain or something else. In fact, you might end up sending them to someone else’s site by mistake!
Redirecting All Other TLDs
If you can manage it, try and get the “.org” and “.net” TLDs for your domain name and redirect them to the main “.com” extension. So if your site is:
then purchase these as well:
And redirect these two to the main “example.com” website. With NameHero, you get unlimited parked domains, so you won’t have to upgrade to a new plan to do this. Redirecting in this manner will ensure that you don’t miss out on people who remember your main domain name, but think you have some other extension. It’s also a good idea to reserve these names so that a competitor doesn’t snap them up and steal your traffic.
So in conclusion, try and stick with “.com”, with the sole exception being country-based TLDs if that’s where your customers lie!
I’m a NameHero team member, and an expert on WordPress and web hosting. I’ve been in this industry since 2008. I’ve also developed apps on Android and have written extensive tutorials on managing Linux servers. You can contact me on my website WP-Tweaks.com!