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domain extensions

Discussion in 'Website Design Forum:' started by bigdave, Mar 19, 2015.

  1. bigdave

    bigdave Moderator Staff Member

    What are peoples thoughts on domain extensions such as .dentist or .media? Would you ever buy one for your own business?
  2. Paul Murray

    Paul Murray Moderator Staff Member

    If it was something I could tie into my branding (and not too expensive) I probably would. For example, I like how Jessica Hische's site uses the .is extension, but she ties this in to the directories of her site, such as or

    I'd worry that it may be confusing for the average user (who far outweighs those tech-types who know about this sort of stuff) and you'd have to reply on a standard domain as a back-up. If you saw or for example, unless you knew there was a .dentist extension, would you know it was a domain name?

    Until they become a little more familiar in the general usage, I'll stick to .com or, but by the time they become accepted by the masses, all the best domains will probably be gone!
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2015
  3. Stationery Direct

    Stationery Direct Administrator Staff Member

    I agree with Paul, they can be used in conjunction with an existing .com or domain to do some pretty fancy things (as mentioned above) but I would not buy one as a sole URL for my business; 1) Not popular enough for people to understand at the moment 2) Have you seen any at all rank on google? I don't think I have.
  4. Corrosive

    Corrosive Moderator Staff Member

    I've seen some .agency domains starting to rank well in the Bristol area.
  5. Daniel

    Daniel New Member

    Yeah, there's no reason for a new extension not to to rank as well, and if it means you can have a domain with more relevant keywords or a better name, then it'd arguably be the better way to go.

    However despite that, and the lack of good .com and domains left, I'd still like to have a classic extension for the domain personally.

    I think it depends on what sector you're in as well. If most of your visitors are expected to be tech savy, I'd be more inclined to embrace a new extension.

    A web designer or creative agency could get away with a newer extension I think, at least if you're not targeting small business owners like plumbers and so forth.
  6. Paul Murray

    Paul Murray Moderator Staff Member

    There's an argument against not striving for an EMD unless you have the .com/ to go with it, otherwise you may actually be penalising your site yourself. Extensions like .info, .biz, etc are often seen as spammy/weaker than their .com/etc counterparts, resulting in the site itself appearing lower in quality to engines right off the bat. I don't know what weighting (if any) search engines are giving to the new domains (presumably at least some) but I wouldn't rely on a fancy new extension for SE juice.

    I agree, I almost see these new extensions as gimmicks, or simply a way for people to own keyword-rich TLDs, regardless of whether they carry any SERP weighting or not, though I think there's a lot to be said for using a memorable domain, rather than a keyword-rich one. Domains should be for the audience, not the search engines, though obviously it would be nice to be able to please both. :)
  7. Daniel

    Daniel New Member

    My understanding is that search engines don't apply any weight to an extension, other than country codes for region weighting.
    I've also seen Google highlight keywords in the extension - although only for the the uk in and .uk - e.g. UK Web Hosting
    They may well do it for the new TLDs.

    My understanding is that .biz and other spammy/weaker looking domains as you put it are seen that way by users, but not by the search engines. And it should have no impact on ranking.

    Yes, the thing is there are so few good names left on the traditional extensions, that to have a nice memorable name one may want to go for a new TLD.
    And you may well want a keyword in there to help your audience.

    But yeah, I'd still want the traditional extension. But I think they might catch on, and could work for non business websites etc.
  8. Paul Murray

    Paul Murray Moderator Staff Member

    I read something recently that contradicts this, and states that search engines do in fact see these links as spammy and weaker (likely because they typically are, and because that's the perception people have of them), but I can't find it at the moment. This however is from the Moz SEO guide to domains that sort of backs it up:

  9. Daniel

    Daniel New Member

    That's stating not to buy them as a means of increasing traffic. It'd be wrong to infer from that that the actual TLD is treated any differently.

    Everything I can find regarding this indicates that all TLDs are still treated equally in terms of search ranking.

    The New TLDs are still treated the same:
    There Is (Still) No Ranking Advantage To Using New Top-Level Domains - Search Engine Journal

    This answer from Yahoo answers sums up what my understanding was, in that Google will will give some ranking weight to a domain if the search is from the UK/for something related to the UK - as a means of localising results:

    The closest is Matt Cutts of Google stating that they are thinking of giving less weight to .biz and other "spammy" domains (mentioned in the Yahoo answers post):
    However, it still doesn't look like this has happened:
    Technical Programming and Design: SEO Myth: '.info,.biz,.com,.org,.net,.name' domain extensions do not affect the page rank or score. But '.edu,.gov,.int,.mil' do!

    Most of the posting these days is about people thinking the new gTLDs give an advantage, for example if .media would help if the search contained the word media. However as John Mueller of Google stated, this isn't the case.

    It's important to distinguish the cause and effect. More spammy sites tend to have "spammy" TLDs, and rank poorly. However they rank poorly because they're spammy - their content, dodgy linking etc, not because of the extension.
  10. Paul Murray

    Paul Murray Moderator Staff Member

    Cheers for those links. This is the things with SEO, you can often read opposing opinions on what does and doesn't affect rankings. I heard of an SEO agency (I'm sure others do this) who actually have a department solely for testing theories, they attempt to rank sites using different methods and techniques, record the results and feed these back the their colleagues.

    The article I was referring to (still haven't found it) talks about the relationship with the domain to the extension. So something like .biz for example typically would refer to a business, and algorithms would perhaps think that the content they feature is of less importance to a wider audience. I'm sure it specifically stated that these were seen to have less importance than a .com or and were treated with slightly less weight due to them often being 'bottom-feeder' domains. The extensions themselves weren't the problem, it was that they are typically the last available domains to purchase, and are seen to relate to lower quality sites by algorithms.

    Is it safe to speculate that perhaps a .com domain gets more natural traffic than a .biz, .org, etc domain since .com is more common and easier to remember/try first. Could this then perhaps lead to a site ranking higher than it's equivalents due to it simply getting more traffic?

    On a side-note it actually makes sense for something like a .gov extension to have a greater importance, since the information it provides in itself is important (and accurate). If I was looking for advice on a tax return for example, I'd much rather be served with a .gov article on the subject, than an article from an accountancy firm's blog. If the 'official' article doesn't tell me what I need, then I'd probably start to look further down the list until I found what I was looking for (HMRC aren't exactly fond of using plain English anywhere) but for me that government article should be the first thing I'm presented with.

    Essentially though, for me it comes down to usability. Like I originally said I'd be put off using a new extension mainly because I worry that (for the time-being at least) it would confuse a great deal of users, and therefore I wouldn't be getting as much use out of it (it would essentially just end up parked). However, this will obviously change over time the more people become accustomed to them.

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