Hi Dave! I have a question regarding search engines and top level domains. Do you think that search engines look at this when they rank the site? Is it possible that .com has bigger value and caries more weight than, let’s say, .net or .cc (my TLD)
This is a darn interesting question, and one that clearly isn’t cut and dry because there’s a lot of debate in the SEO community on this topic.
The question is really: everything else being equal, would a “.com” be ranked more highly than a “.cn” or a “.fm” or similar?
My answer: yes.
Of course, since Google uses at least 180 different factors when it calculates Search Engine Results Placement (SERPs), the odds of having two pages with the exactly same score other than domain name seems exceptionally unlikely: if two pages were the same, then the newer file would suffer from a duplicate content penalty!
Nonetheless, I believe that there’s also a psychological issue too, and know that I have a higher degree of confidence buying from a “.com” company than a “.cn” or “.cz” company, though I own “.com”, “.net”, “.org” and “.info” domains. No “.mil” yet. 🙂
So if you have the choice between a splendid non-mainstream TLD domain name and a crummy, obscure name that’s a “.com”, I would suggest that you pick the former, not the latter. But then again, I believe that the vast majority of people come to a site because of the content, through search engines, so a human-readable domain might not be that important anyway.
I think you’d also find the following article worth reading:
• Does your domain name affect your search engine ranking?