Which top-level domain (TLD) to choose?
By Clare Lawrence 10th March 2003 Clare is CEO of Discount Domains Ltd a leading UK Domain name registration service.
I am often asked this question. Is it possible that search engines such as google give preference to .com TLD? Or are TLD’s all treated equally?
As a test I picked a random phrase “Technical services” and did a search on Google.com.
1. .org 2. .com 3. .com 4. .net 5. .co.uk
Trying phrase again using Google.co.uk (I am UK based) .
1 .net 2 .co.uk 3 .com 4 .co.uk 5 .org
Hopefully these results show that there is no preference given by search engines.
However there are far more .com domains out there than other TLD – users will be more likely to key in your domain name and add .com extension themselves out of habit.
If your market place is local then your regional TLD can be helpful, this is because a lot of Search engines and Directories such as Google and Yahoo – offer user a choice of “Search web” or “Search locally e.g. UK”
Having a local TLD can therefore be a benefit.
Some directories will use your TLD to categorise geographic content of your site, and therefore exclude a site from inclusion solely because it does not match their local market.
The Open Directory (Dmoz) lists sites by both regional and market segments as Google uses Open Directory in part for its indexing – your choice of TLD will have a bearing on whether your site is selected in a local search e.g. Searching Google.co.uk for UK domain name registrars will bring up our site www.discountdomainsuk.com because it is UK based.
The TLD can therefore have some bearing on how a site will be indexed.
Keywords in your domain name
Search engines such as Google do give some preference to keywords within a domain name, and first keyword in description and Title tags, so if your site’s domain name is www.searchenginedirectory.biz, your site will most likely fair better in searches for search engines than ones without keywords in name.