When it comes to SEO, domain extension matters, and surprisingly .ORG comes in last place…

Domain Names and SEO

As the domain name ecosystem has expanded beyond .COM and domain extensions like .IO, .AI, .CO and many others have gained popularity, one question keeps coming up – what about SEO? Are all domain name extensions created equal or does straying from .COM mean you’re creating an uphill battle for yourself when it comes to ranking well.

For the last decade my SEO guru, i.e. the guy I go to for all my SEO questions is Bill Hartzer, seriously, Bill knows his stuff. Today I was excited to see an article on CircleID by Bill specifically about this topic, the impact that domain name extensions have on SEO.

Bill decided to run a test across a wide range of domain name extensions including .COM, .NET, .CO, .CLUB, .LONDON, and more. Here’s a bit more about how Bill picked the domains for the test:

I “randomly” chose a made-up word that does not exist. In picking the word for each domain name, I chose the name of a popular domain name conference, NamesCon, and spelled it backward. At the time of domain name registration, there were only 16 search engine results for this made-up word in Google.com’s search engine results, so it was a good prospect to use. It’s important to note that the keywords chosen (one per website) are not related in any way to the made-up word (NamesCon backward). We didn’t try to rank for “nocseman” as a keyword, and that keyword is only present in the domain names. It is not present anywhere on the websites that were built.(Source – CircleID)

To keep things equal he registered all the domains on the same day and then brought websites live also on the same day, below is an overview of the timeline he followed:

December 27, 2019domain names registered
December 30, 2019websites went live
December 31, 2019SEO test software set up and started tracking/monitoring
January 9, 2020No pages indexed
January 9, 2020All sites verified in Google Search Console using html verification file
January 9, 2020One page of each site manually submitted via URL Inspection Tool in Google Search Console
January 9, 2020All submitted pages indexed within minutes
January 13, 2020All pages on all domains submitted via a search engine indexer tool
January 15, 2020SEO Testing concluded. SEO TLD Domain Test Results

I don’t want to give away all of the results, you really should read the whole article, but here are three things that caused me to raise an eyebrow or two!

  • .ORG performed the worst
  • .XYZ indexed the fastest
  • .DE was initially considered to be a website in German and .CO a website in Spanish despite both having only English content on the site

Like I said, I don’t want to give it all away so I recommend you give the whole article a read, this was an interesting one and I applaud Bill for taking the time to run the test.

Morgan Linton

Morgan Linton