In this article, we’ll explore a statistical analysis of how TLD domain extensions rank in Google based on search results for common keywords.
One of the most commonly asked questions on webmaster forums is “Which domain extensions rank best in Google?” and the answers given usually provide no statistical analysis, just opinions. After a recent purchase of several non .com domains, I started thinking about the question and decided to conduct an experiment to see how other TLD’s fare in Google search.
In conducting this analysis, I wanted to use a broad spectrum of search terms across multiple keyword niches and use the top 20 results from each search to count the occurrences of each TLD in the SERPS.
Google Uses Local Search
Being that Google uses localized search results by default, before conducting this experiment, I made sure to Disable Local Search as I didn’t want Google showing me local results that wouldn’t be seen across the board.
Let’s Started With Experiments
Below is a table of the search terms used in this experiment and the total results by domain extension. It’s important to note that results from both Wikipedia and YouTube rank in the top 20 results for each and every search. The Wikipedia entries are .org so this will add to the .org results for each search.
Results -What We Get Through This
As you can see, the first five searches for one word generic keywords produced a generous distribution of results across TLDs. While it is more likely that one word domains are registered and developed across all TLDs, it’s still encouraging to see that Google ranks TLDs other than .com high for the most competitive searches.
Search for Auto Insurance was obviously dominated by .com domains and only the largest commercial companies (Geico, Progressive, etc) were represented in the top results. This was also one of the few searches that a Wikipedia or YouTube result didn’t appear.
Another search completely dominated by .com domains was cookie recipe. Once again, we have exclusive results given to certain corporate sites such as Food Network and AllRecipes (owned by Taste of Home) who completely dominate the cooking recipe niche.
Cashmere Sweater also was 100% .com dominated with all of the top 20 results being from shopping sites such as Amazon, eBay, Overstock, JCrew, etc.
As for scientific terms, search for Combustion yielded the largest number of .org, .gov and .edu domains in this list. It is also the only search that turned up a .ws and a .co.uk domain in the first 20 matches. Solar Power also turned up a lot of .com.au and .co.uk results.
Favicon, Obituary and SEO were unique as a .cc domain came in at first position. Favicon also produced a .ru domain and Obituary produced the only .fm domain seen in this experiment.
Social Media was the only search to turn up a .biz domain in the top 20 rankings.
Also interesting, there was not a single occurrence of the popular .me, .co or .in domains found in these search results and despite the mass use of .info domains for MFA sites, only one .info domain was seen in this experiment.
While this statistical analysis of domain extension rankings is by no means gospel, it does imply that Google puts less emphasis on the domain extension than other ranking factors.