Which Domain Name is BEST for Top Rankings in Google?
It’s one of the most commonly asked questions from beginning webmasters across the net but one that no one seems to have a solid answer to.
The Question: From the top TLDs, which domain extension has superior SEO Value? Are they weighted equal in the eyes of Google?
The Theory: COM Good – INFO Bad
The most common response is probably that the SEO benefit of .com domains outweigh other TLDs. And, contrastly, .info domains are at the bottom of the spectrum, often considered to be spammers choice due to their cheap price tag, thereby making them equally disliked by Google and other search engines.
The Author’s Opinion
I think its up for debate but from what I’ve seen personally, .com is only truly superior for branding purposes. As far as SEO goes, they’re all pretty much the same. I’d still consider getting a good .com over a great .info because I like to always hold onto the idea of branding a site in case it takes off.
I had one domain I never thought would do well but a month or two later it was pulling $1000/day with little to no work and it stayed that way for 6-months. If it had been a brandable domain from the get go, it could have taken more hold and maybe be doing even better today. Alas, it left the Search Engines as fast as it got there and was never heard from again. Thanks, MSN algorithm change!
But, because Google, The King of Search Engines is also King of Secrets, nobody knows the answer to the forever weighed question.
The Experiment: A Live Study
The only real way to find out the answer to an ongoing debate is to introduce some empirical data into the equation. But, fact is, running tests like this take time and patience, two things most online marketers often lack!
But, the owner of the SEO Empire blog decided to run a little experiment of his own!
I’ve taken the liberty of pulling a little data for our readers. You can see the entire experiment at the following link…
The site author states his Google rankings from the test:
position 2 (.com)
position 3 = (.net)
position 5 = (.org)
position 10 = (.info)
…all with the same content put out approximately the same time, same wordpress blog template, etc. Only major variable being the domain TLD.
The experiment began during the end of July, 2009…
The Results: You be the Judge
All things remaining unchanged, we might have something to go off of, the only real variable left up to debate would then be the varying dates each domain was 1st published to the web and possible effects it may have on duplicate content penalties.
Overall results could have been more solid if all domain content had been published online at the exact same time, not days apart.
Also, the test doesn’t take into account possible backlinks and other off-page factors that might be tugging at the strings.
Now, 2 months later (Oct 2009), the scoring has changed…
.com = 3
.net = 4
.info = 5
.org = 9
The one thing that appears remotely solid is that .com seems to be holding the top spot which is on queue with what the majority of SEO hobbyists and professionals alike, might expect.
If I based my opinion off of this test, it may result in a little added bump to my previous instinctual tendency to lean toward .coms but, not so much that I’d go all in and bet my whole stack of chips on it.
It would need quite a lot more testing to be 100% certain, a test group and all the angles covered, something this single test didn’t do. Still, its one step in the right direction.
Wordpresscloaker.com decided to do a little further testing on this just to be sure…
Upon running a backlink analysis comparing the 4 domains, here is what we found.
Number of Backlinks to each TLD
.com = 28
.net = 4
.info = 1
.org = 0
This would explain it pretty well IMHO.
The .com domain had backlinks pointing to it as early as January 2008, probably by a previous domain owner or some other unknown event. The .net domain picked up a link early on from another site and picked up a few more later a month later and the .info never received a link at all from anyone, ever. Never ever.
Which raises another important point…
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, the real value of .com domains is the brandability that comes along with it.
Most web authors, bloggers and everyday Joe’s across social sites, Facebook, Twitter and the rest of ‘em, have become comfy with .coms. So, when they link, they link to .coms.
With Google, backlinks are the most important factor of all and if I had to bet the farm on any theory, that would be my take.
So, rather than worrying about which spamtastic domain extension you want to drop in your cart next time you visit godaddy, just remember, get something brandable. The price tag may be a couple dollars more but, the payoff may be well worth it.Tags: author states, Bing, com, debates, Domain, domain extension, Domains, empirical data, experiments, Google, google yahoo, Joe, Judge All, Other Search Engines, Per, seoempire, tests, time and patience