Whether you are a current website owner or launching a site soon, you know that choosing a name for your business, idea, project or site is one of the most significant decisions you’ll make in the development process. When it comes to your website, you need to plan a domain name that will not only stand the test of time, but will be memorable, unique and rank well for search engines. The question that arises a lot in this phase of planning is how will a non-.com domain extension effect my SEO? Do Google and the other search engines treat it the same? Does it have the same potential to rank high in search engines? The answer is yes, and major industry experts agree including Matt Cutts, Google’s former search quality engineer. Looking for more details? Let’s start with the anatomy of a domain.
So what does matter?
If content is king when it comes to websites, then relevancy is king when it comes to domains. The most relevant thing your domain can have is your brand name. A large part of your search traffic comes from people searching for your brand name. These searches are referred to as “Navigational Searches”. Making sure you appear in these search results and having a URL that matches the search makes your domain more relevant.
Take Away: Use your brand name as your domain name when possible
All TLDs are created (almost) equal in the eyes of Google:
Experts agree no TLDs have more authority over any other in the eyes of Google. Neil Patel says. “TLDs have no SEO advantage. No TLD is inherently better than any other.” Google has also published information on its treatment of non-.com domains, or new Top Level Domains. According to the article published by John Mueller, Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst, Google systems treat new TLDs (Top-level domains) like any other TLD (.com, .org, etc) – are all weighted equally.
Take Away: TLDs matter to the business owner, but not to Google.
Trust and Spam- How it matters in SEO and .CO
If people trust a link that appears in search results then they are more likely to click it when they see it. The more legitimate clicks a website receives, the more authority Google gives that site. Authority in turn, helps Improve SEO. Generally speaking, users trust short domains over long domains. A short, branded domain improves a user’s perception of a link and in turn the likeliness of it receiving a click in the search results, which improves a website’s click through rate. And THAT improves SEO.
Again, we see Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst, John Mueller, confirming this in an SEO Rountable session, saying when Google notices two URLs on a site with the same content, it will tend to go with the shorter URL. “There are lots of exceptions there, different factors that come into play, but everything else being equal – you have a shorter one <domain> and a longer one, we <Google> will try to pick the shorter one.”
Take Away: Using a short, branded domain improves click through rates, which in turns helps with SEO.
There are many factors that can affect SEO. Your domain and your website should work together to build credibility for your brand while building authority with Google. The goal is to provide a quality experience for your users. While all sites can follow search engine best practices for content, site architecture, metadata, etc. the one unique element no one can duplicate is what you use for your domain name. The right domain promotes:
- Higher click-through rates (Thanks to relevancy and trust)
- Appeal within the search engine results pages (Short and brandable name)
- Brand recall (Easy to remember)
A .CO domain has the same potential as other TLDs to rank well within search engines, and offers some additional unique advantages:
It’s Available. It is extremely frustrating for people in search of a domain name they really want and find out that it—and many of its similarly named counterparts—are already taken. .CO domains allow site owners to obtain the domain they need in order to succeed.
It’s Short. SEO best practices also outline that not only is branding relevance important, but so is length—the shorter and more streamlined, the better.
Get on the web the way you want to with a .CO domain. Search your next big idea here.