Which Domain Extension Should I Use? .Com .Net .Org .Info or .Us

So…which domain name extension should you use? .COM, .NET, .ORG, .INFO or .US? The answer depends on your business model. If you want to learn more about these extensions (and their ability to rank on Search Engines), read on.

.COM Domains, History and Ranking

You should always pick the .COM before any other extension. This is because .coms have become the industry standard for domain names. Whenever you hear someone start saying www…you naturally expect a .COM at the end. It also ranks best because, in the beginning (1985), .COM was created to represent commercial usage. Since businesses naturally embraced the domain extension, it’s presence and familiarity took off. This large presence of .com domains helped establish its reputation forever on the Internet.

.COM domains rank easily and quickly. I always pick .COM domains whenever possible. I even prefer a long .COM to a short .NET or .ORG. More examples are given near the end.

.NET Domains, History and Ranking

This domain is .com’s ugly brother. The .NET extension is an abbreviated version of the word ‘network’. The .NET domain was created in 1985 and originally intended to be used by network providers such as Internet service providers. Unfortunately, this domain name never really took off. Yes, companies like Comcast.net (internet service provider) used it…but consumers didn’t care much for it. As a result, .NET became the default 2nd choice if a .COM wasn’t available.

It is difficult to rank a .NET domain. You’ll need much more time and incoming links (backlinks) to start ranking properly. If you’re planning on building out a large business with lots of great content, .NET is a good choice. If you’re building small niche sites and are hungry for fast rankings….stay far away.

.ORG Domains, History and Ranking

The .ORG (organization) domain is a generic top-level domain and was one of the original top level domains that was introduced in January 1985. Anyone can register a .ORG domain; there are no requirements for registration. The .ORG TLD is usually associated with non-profit organizations, charities and open-source programs. In addition, many political parties also use the .ORG  extension.

Now that you know it’s history, it’s easy to understand why a .ORG domain ranks as well as a .COM. Yes…I’m serious. they both rank quickly and easily. So if you’re looking for quick ranking, .COM and .ORG are your best bets.

.INFO Domains, History and Ranking

The .INFO is meant to be an informational domain, to be used for sharing information. Unfortunately, GoDaddy completely destroyed the domain’s purpose (and it’s ranking ability) with hundreds of $0.99 domain specials between 2006-2008. The result? Nearly every spammer and affiliate marketer started buying $0.99 .INFO domains in bulk to create top-level domain redirects for articles, spam and autoblogs. Google quickly took notice and penalized the domain heavily. If you purchase a .INFO domain, you can expect significant frustration trying to rank (even with backlinks). Google simply hates this TLD. Stay far away. Only use this as a “throw away” domain you don’t plan to develop. For example, if you’re advertising in someone’s paid newsletter and don’t want your original website being flagged as spam, use a .INFO domain redirect to protect your original site’s URL.

.US Domains, History and Ranking

This domain was created for US based individuals, companies and websites. You must be a US citizen, a permanent United States resident, or a US entity such as organizations and corporations. Additionally, any business or corporation with a bona fide presence in the USA may register. Lastly, you cannot WHOIS protect a .US domain which makes it a deal breaker for almost everyone.

You would think these strict, exclusive requirements would improve ranking, right? Wrong. I personally bought a .US domain and waited for months in order to achieve ranking. I watched junkier .NET and .INFO outrank my articles day after day. I finally gave up and retired my .US domain name in favor of a .COM. Needless to say, traffic and ranking immediately shot up after creating my suitable 301 redirects and getting indexed.

.US? Never again. Not recommended for anything or anyone. It’s high price and restrictions don’t allow the “throw away” usage recommended for .INFO domains, either.

.LY .SY .TV and Other Country Domains Are Risky! Do Not Buy Them!

I’m updating this post to include a warning about .LY and other vanity domain names that belong to foreign countries. For example, .LY belongs to Libya and in the past, the registrar has been shut down due to wars within Libya. In 2011, this resulted in the company Letter.ly getting shut down because their domain expired during that shutdown and the domain was quickly snatched up by another company when they returned. These foreign-based registrars do not abide by US law and are extremely risky to purchase.  For the record, .SY belongs to Syria and .TV belongs to the Tuvalu Islands, a series of nine slivers of earth in the middle of the South Pacific, with a population of about 10,000. Buy these extensions at your own risk.

Conclusion

So why do some domains rank better than others? Here’s my theory after 200+ domains and 15+ years of experience.

#1 Pick for SEO Ranking: .COM

Firstly, people trust .COM domains. Google recognizes this and allows this “trust” to continue unaffected. As the most popular, .COM always wins in terms of ranking and recognition. This is always my first pick. I never use hyphens. Google stopped liking hyphens a while ago.

#2 Pick for SEO Ranking: .ORG

This is only my 2nd pick for online marketing and SEO ranking purposes (see Important Note below)

.ORG was always meant to communicate to people…with charities and non-profit groups. As such, .ORG immediately carries trust and respect. This makes .ORG is my 2nd pick…even for extremely commercial properties. I know it goes against the original idea behind the domain…but my sales aren’t lying. People don’t care. It was intended for non-profits…but people just don’t care. They’ll visit and buy from .ORG domains in a pinch. There is nothing unethical about using a .ORG domain for a commercial website.

Important Note: If you’re running an offline or semi-offline business, get .COM or .NET. Telling people you run a commercial .ORG over the phone kills integrity. In these cases, slow ranking are preferred to integrity-killing conversations and business cards.

#3 Pick for SEO Ranking: .NET

.NET was never intended to be commercial. As such, it’s an awkward domain to communicate to people. This awkwardness carries over in it’s ability to rank. I pick .NET domains as my dead last 3rd choice regarding SEO ranking. To be honest, though, I can’t remember the last time I bought one. These days it’s all .COM and .ORG. However, if I’m creating an offline business that includes phone calls or business cards, I will pick .NET before .ORG. for the purpose of retaining integrity. Offline businesses truly expect .ORG domains to be non-profit.

How I Pick Domains

Here’s my dirty secret. I use http://www.domainsbot.com or http://www.leandomainsearch.com.  They both use an Ajax interface to show you available domains asap. So, if I’m looking for a domain called “Brokalicious” (fake name), here’s what I’ll look for in order of most preferred to least.

  1. Brokalicious.com
  2. BrokaliciousSite.com
  3. BrokaliciousBlog.com
  4. BrokaliciousHQ.com
  5. Brokalicious.org
  6. BrokaliciousSite.org
  7. BrokaliciousBlog.org
  8. BrokaliciousHQ.org
  9. Brokalicious.net (I only pick exact matches in .NET)

Hope that helps clear up the domain name debate.

P.S. I’ve received a lot of emails asking me where I register my domain names. I currently use Namesilo to register my 50+ domains names after Namecheap raised their prices. They have the cheapest domains anywhere and they give you free WHOIS Privacy for LIFE. Everyone else charges for WHOIS protection from inception or after the first year. I’ve used them since 2014 with zero problems.

Update: It’s now April 2016 and I still enjoy using Namesilo. I’ve slowly moved all my domains from Namecheap over the past year and currently have 30 registered with them. Transferring them over is always a breeze and usually takes around 1 day to approve all the requests and 2-3 days for Namecheap to officially transfer them. Make sure you unlock them at Namecheap first!

namesilo-domain-list

About Jesus Perez

I've been marketing online since 1999 in the field of product creation, email marketing, affiliate marketing and integration marketing. I live in South Florida with my beautiful wife and family.

Comments

  1. I doubt this comment will get posted by the moderator, but.. wow.. why would you feed people a load of bologna. If you’re good at SEO, you can rank anything with any TLD (domain extension). This post is total garbage. Sorry.. Myself, along with many others have .biz, .info, and .us domains ranking # 1 for both non and competitive keywords. Don’t believe everything you read on the internet.

    • Jesus Perez says:

      Danny, although it is possible to rank most domains with a TLD, it’s substantially harder (much, much harder) to rank a .biz, .info and .us domain with Google in the US. I know this from personal and direct experience over many, many years.

      Simply put, .Com, .Org and .Net are the easiest to rank (in that order). I’m sure at some point Google will change it’s algorithm, but until that day arrives, I’ll stick to my first 2 choices: .com and .org to rank a domain in record time.

      In fact, you’re posting your comment on my .com domain in order to desperately improve the ranking of your .net domain that’s being hammered by .coms. That’s pretty funny. I’m removing your backlink, btw. 😉 Good luck outranking those .coms….even with an exact-match .net domain.

      • Hi Jesus:
        I enjoyed your article, but please note a telling experience I had with .org verses .com extensions where .ORG performed far and above .COM in ranking with same dn. Heres my true story: I had created watchdogcollar.com in 2010 using WordPress. I did great SEO and dedicated much time to ranking. Yet I could not rank above the 30th page (first 300 suggestions) for my primary or secondary key words. After 2 years of disappointment, as a test, I created the same name in .org extension using the all same content, (using same name “WatchDog Collar”) I only changed the placement of all text and pix in different locations on respective pages. The .ORG was found on Google search in #1 position within a week (for my key word) on first page. Whereas the .com did NOT show up on the first page for 6 years (remained way back in search between page 20-30, while watchdogcollar.org remained in its #1 position without budging all these years. Later in the 6th year, the .com finally appeared on first page, but not always above the fold. My .org remained in #1 position. Now in the 7th year the .com is finally #1 placement and org #2. (but I believe this to be only due to the fact that in the 3rd year I changed the .com DN from a WordPress to a well known eCommerce site, which may be the reason it finally came to be #1 years later.) But note, it still took 7 years for .com to gain the #1 position while .org found its placement at #1 within a week and remained there until last year when .COM became #1 and .ORG #2. That is where they both remain in a Google search today in March 2017. This experience gave me a true and blatant perspective of the ranking power of a .org to a .com. After creating hundreds of websites, I found .org always outrank my .coms. richdog.org is another example. Thanks for accepting the analogy for your readers to learn from. I am not trying to spam with all the link references…was necessary.

        • Jesus Perez says:

          Fantastic comment and thanks for posting! You get a backlink 😉 I’ve had similar experiences where the .org beat out the .com by a large margin. And yes, I have a theory that the platform you host on can have a big impact on ranking as well. I think it has a lot to do with the speed-optimization of larger ecommerce sites. WordPress, in comparison, can be terribly slow if not optimized properly.

  2. I don?t even know the way I finished up right here, but I thought this publish was good. I don’t understand who you might be but definitely you are going to a well-known blogger if you happen to are not already 😉 Cheers!

  3. inflatable hot tub says:

    So if your trying to rank a new website that has commerce on it, and can’t get the exact match domain in the .com, doesn’t it look weird to have the exact match .org domain trying to sell something on it, over the .net domain? I always thought the .net looked better for commerce over the .org. Thanks
    JR

  4. Ill have to agree I only use .com/.net/.org! Thanks for the tip though I did not know .org can rank faster than .net! Plus they are cheaper & more available :}

  5. Just be aware of the legal risks of having a .COM domain

    http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/have-com-web-address-know-legal-risks-ck-113355

  6. What is your opinion about the upcoming .web TLD or .pw
    that is for business or personal use

    Thanks

    • Jesus Perez says:

      Hi Lamis! I wasn’t aware of these new TLD’s. I personally have zero hope for .pw. The pw TLD belongs to Palau and Google tends to make foreign domains an uphill battle. It will take time before the SEO weight of .web can be discovered. It definitely has potential for being catchy, though.

  7. Hey man, wonderful article. You know… you cornered it bro… Plus you re-assured me on .org, I didn’t know that it could rank as good as .com… Thanks again.

  8. Hi Jesus. My question, please be honest.
    If you had a non-profit organization and you would have .com and .org available would you pick up a .com, just because of ranking? Don’t you think that being truthful for the visitors is also important? We have a calaculator for car costs, and we’re really planning to use .info but now I got confused.

    • Jesus Perez says:

      Truthfulness has nothing to do with picking a .com or .org domain. Any company can pick either for any reason. Simply pick the one you like the most! Whatever you do, DON’T get a .info! They are difficult to rank due to their lower cost (and thus, higher popularity with spammers).

  9. Angel Hilley says:

    I just renewed my companies web domain .com and I’m wondering if it’s a good idea to buy the .net and .org as well?

    • Jesus Perez says:

      It’s always a good idea to secure the .net version at the very least. Securing both is even better.

    • Jesus Perez says:

      Always a good idea. I always tell my friends: “Would you like a competitor registering those, instead?”

  10. It’s really a great and useful piece of info. I am glad that you just
    shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this.
    Thank you for sharing.

  11. Ralph Goodwin says:

    Needed a quick assessment before continuing checkout with GoDaddy, pulled up your article quickly… and boom, just the info I needed.

    Your explanations for your assessments were cogent and quite informative. Great Post!
    Thanks!

  12. Agus Wahyudi says:

    Been struggling to find the answer and found it way too late and I guess I’ve made a bad decision on selecting .net as my web extension. Been trying to implement every SEO tips and tricks I read on the Internet, and nothing seems to be working on my site.

    • Jesus Perez says:

      Agus, I hear ya! My struggles with .net led me to never use them again. For me, everything these days is .com or .org.

  13. Hello JesusP,
    which domain you would like to suggest for EMD longtail KW targetting.
    Example are
    1. which-is-seo.com or 2. whatissseo.com

    • Jesus Perez says:

      No dashes. I haven’t seen websites rank with dashes in a while and all my personal efforts were way harder with the dashes.

Trackbacks

  1. […] other day, I received a comment on my .Com, .Net or .Org article by Lamis asking if .pw is a domain name worth buying. So I did some research and started […]

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