To launch any site, you will need to register its domain name first. This domain name is nothing but the internet address which will comprise of a name with an extension like .in or .com. The extension is referred to as the TLD or Top Level Domain and choosing the right extension will influence your site’s SEO rankings. The main idea behind these domain name extensions was to help users browse easily across different domains.
Among the popular domain name extensions, the .com is the most widely used. Besides the general domain name extension there is also an extension with a country code. This is the country code TLD or ccTLD which contains the country code for which this extension is applicable like, if the extension states .uk, then the intended country is the UK. Ever since 2001, newer gTLDs had been introduced like .pro or .info following the ICANN creation. The list has been growing since then and a complete list is displayed on the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority website.
How choosing the right domain name extension can benefit SEO:
The ccTLD allows Google to understand the origin of a specific site. So, given that all other factors are equal, when a site has an extension like example.com it is likely to be ranked before a site with an extension example.in. But the drawback in this case is that you will need to purchase a new domain extension for every language. This result in steep costs and Google web crawlers which are designed to scan sites cannot view multiple sites as one since they have different extensions. When a site has more authority, Google will stay longer there in order to index more pages. So, higher authority which is the value Google assigns to a site will result in better scope for sites to get higher ranks in this search engine. But this is not just one factor which ranks sites on Google; Google uses more than 200 factors for determining site rankings.
With emergence of the new domain name extensions like .club or .pizza, sites can make themselves easily identifiable. Here, the extension will help you understand what the site is about. People feel that these new age extensions may not be useful when it comes to ranking websites. The new TLDs will not necessarily give better rankings.
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But, there are others who feel that these new extensions are benefitting the SEO rankings of websites. There have been quite a few success stories where sites with the new extensions have found to get rankings in the first page of the search engine results. The trick is to make sure that the extension or at least a part of it matches the keyword you type in Google. So, TLDs which have relevant keywords in them tend to have an edge over traditional TLDs such as .com.
In spite of these success tales, Google maintains that having new gTLDs really offers neither any advantages nor any disadvantages in terms of SEO rankings. Google states that every TLD can rank well.
How to choose a domain name extension:
The type of extension that will benefit your website in terms of SEO rankings will depend upon many factors. It is recommended that you opt for the Top Level Domain or .com for the best ranks. However, if you are selling your goods in a specific country only, you may choose the country-code specific extension.
Sometimes an extension is used not because it will help your SEO ranking, but because it sounds nice and is easy to recall. So, when you work for a company which repairs car damages you will be keen to use the names auto and repair when choosing a domain name for your website. This will ensure that your client knows what the website is about even if Google may not rank it well. When you use a gTLD, you must understand that you are going to have to communicate this with your buyers and clients. The people you are targeting are likely to search for a company’s name with an extension that is specific to that country. So, when you select a gTLD you should ensure that your target audience knows that.