TLD(Top Level Domain) may sound like a daunting term if you are a novice to the domain names! Here’s a quick reference to almost everything you need to know about it!
TLDs and Identification
TLD is the last part of your website name, the one, which usually appears after the last dot in the website name. For eg., www.google.com has ‘com’ as the TLD. There exist pre-defined TLDs identified by IANA(Internet Assigned Numbers Authority). You will choose the one suiting your website’s purpose!
There are basically three types of TLDs:
1. gTLD – Generic Top-Level Domains
gTLDs are the most common and widely identified TLDs, like .com , .net, .org and usually adds authenticity in minds of your viewers. Thankfully, Google doesn’t see it that way, it just adds the purpose of your website. ‘com’ stands for commercial websites ‘org’ is for organizations, and so on. These can be obtained by anyone. There are many others added to this list like ‘google’, ‘oracle’, ‘money’, etc.
2. sTLD – Sponsored Top-Level Domains
These are the TLDs identified by the sponsored organizations like the government(TLD is ‘.gov’) or the military(‘.mil’). The list of identified sTLDs is compact and has around 14 TLDs. These are usually not for private businesses.
3. ccTLD – Country Code Top-Level Domain
You might have noticed websites ending with ‘.us’, ‘.in’, ‘.ae’, and more. These refer to the countries these websites belong to. Most of these 312 ccTLDs are available for everyone(except for those countries where restrictions are imposed on domain purchases).
Apart from these, there are few other sub-categories like gccTLDs(Generic Country Code Top-Level Domain) but those are not really necessary for common identification.
Effects of TLD on your website & Why choose wisely?
Let’s reveal the truth: TLDs hardly have any effect on your website rankings! WHY? Because Google tries to rank relevant content irrespective of the domain names of the websites.
However, our recommendation will still be to get a TLD that is more user-enticing. By this, we mean users usually judge the authenticity of the website by its name itself. Your website name is the first impression. Why not make it the best one? Not that it matters, but statistically, websites with gTLDs are more likely to be remembered by users and are 33% more clicked.
Similarly, unfamiliar TLDs may impact your site’s ranking in the search results as it might be perceived as spam (in turn, this lowers your CTR rate).
Nevertheless, TLD may not directly affect the SEO, but indirectly it does make a lot of difference in the traffic, which your website attracts. Hence, it is important to choose your TLD wisely.
Does changing TLD affect the website ranking? Should you?
Well, an easy answer is it does affect your website ranking indirectly. Hence, if you have all the best SEO practices applied to your website, both on-page, and off-page, apart from other technicalities handled properly, and you still face difficulties attracting the right traffic, we recommend you have a look at your domain name again!
Maybe your customers’ trust in your brand is being decided by your domain name, and the adverse results are due to your low CTR score caused by improper and less trusted TLD. Studies suggest that 70% of users find it hard to trust new TLDs and rarely click or visit websites with unfamiliar domain names. Therefore, it is recommended to select a pre-existing easy-identifiable TLD, unless, of course, you have an outstanding reason.
Changing your existing TLD may help you to entice traffic but you must be sure of using the best SEO practices and must keep your website updated with the right optimization and relevant content.