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What are the Best Domain Extensions for SEO? | ClearPath Online
Search Engine Optimization

What are the Best Domain Extensions for SEO?

domain extensions for seo

Updated on April 1, 2021

There are hundreds of different domain extensions you can choose from when selecting the domain for your website. They all vary in availability and popularity. How should you choose the right one for your website and which ones are the best domain extensions for SEO?

What is a Domain Extension?

Before we start digging into the best domain extensions for SEO, let’s discuss what a domain extension is. A domain extension is also referred to as a Top-Level Domain or TLD.

The domain extension is the part of your website URL that appears after the last dot. So, in the URL https://clearpathonline.com, the domain extension is .com. In the URL https://clearpath.online, the domain extension is .online.

Most Common Domain Extensions

The most common domain extensions are .com, .net, and .org. The .com TLD is used by 52% of all websites. Since .com is the most common, it’s also the most memorable and least confusing. That also makes it the most popular and makes it difficult to find the desired domain name.

What TLD Should I Use?

Try .com First

If the .com domain is available for the domain you want, then go with that. Since .com is the most common, it’s the expectation and is the easiest for people to remember. If it’s available, that’s the best bet. However, it’s becoming more and more likely that any desirable .com domain names will already be taken.

Use a ccTLD if You Have a Local Business

If the business you’re purchasing a domain for is a local business, consider purchasing the domain extension for your country code. A country code domain extension is also referred to as a ccTLD. Some examples are .us and .uk.

Use an Industry TLD to Keep it Relevant

Depending on your industry, there are hundreds of different domain extensions that you can choose from to help keep your domain name relevant to your industry. A few examples are .game, .beer, .app, and .health. If there is a relevant industry term for your business, this can be used to keep your URL shorter. For example, https://clearpath.online is shorter and easier to say than https://clearpathonline.com.

Don’t Use .co

The .co and .com domain extensions are confusingly similar. If you use .co, expect a certain percentage of people to type in .com by mistake, which will cause them to end up on the wrong site. They will either forget that your domain was only .co, or they will assume you forgot the m in .com.

Don’t Use Hyphens

When your first domain choice is taken, you may be tempted to add hyphens. Don’t do it. You want your domain name and website URL to be easy to remember and easy to tell people, whether you’re in person or on the phone. Don’t add confusing characters such as hyphens, or intentionally misspell anything.

Get Ideas with Domainr

If your first choice isn’t available, and now you feel stuck and need some domain ideas, use Domainr. This site allows you to enter the name you’d like for your domain, and then it suggests all of the different combinations of TLDs and even directories that you can use to get that domain name. For example, if I want a domain name that includes the phrase clearpathgame, it suggests that I can use clearpathga.me, clearpath.games, or clearpath.fun.

This is an easy way to see what other TLD options might be a good fit if .com isn’t available.

How Do TLDs Impact SEO?

No Boost From More Relevant TLDs

There are hundreds of factors that influence your rank on Google, and if domain extension is a factor, it doesn’t play a big role. When the industry-specific TLDs were released years ago, Google stated that they won’t provide a boost in search. They will return the best result for the user, regardless of what TLD the site is on.

Can Impact Credibility

The TLD your website uses does have a chance to impact the credibility and branding of your business. It’s hard to say what the future will bring. If you choose a TLD that is often associated with spam sites you can be negatively impacted. Even if Google doesn’t penalize you for it, people may start to recognize it as potential spam and stay away.

You can view which TLDs have the highest percentage of spam at Spamhaus. It’s common that they’ll all have some spam, but before you buy a TLD for your business, check and make sure it isn’t overflowing with spam.

Why I Choose ClearPath.Online

Here’s my own experience and my own reasoning that I went through when choosing the domain name for ClearPath Online.

As with many website name ideas, the .com was already taken for the name I wanted to use. I didn’t want to add a hyphen. I also didn’t want to change the name and I wanted the domain name to match the business name.

That’s when I started looking at different TLDs. I decided to go with .online since that would allow me to use the same original domain name idea (minus the .com) and even make it slightly shorter.

Years later, the .com domain became available. I bought it and redirected it to the existing .online website. I didn’t make it the main domain even though it was my initial choice years before. Since the website was already ranking there was no reason to try to change it. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.


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About the Author

Jennifer Rogina is the Co-Founder & Lead Marketer of ClearPath Online, a DIY SEO tool for entrepreneurs to grow their own website traffic. Jennifer has been a digital marketing specialist since 2008. In that time she has focused on search engine optimization, digital analytics, and conversion optimization.

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