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Thread: How important is the domain to a websites popularity?

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    How important is the domain to a websites popularity?

    Hi all,

    I'm on the verge of purchasing some domains for this website that I have been working on.. It occurred to me; How important is the domain for establishing traffic and a good reputation?

    I'm thinking of buying a .net (due to availability) and .org.uk (because I'd get it free). I suppose a more specific question would be whether google will see these as less important than the .com or .co.uk equivalent or if it is simply an address?

    The only downside I can think of is that it is a less memorable address than the equivalents.

    Thanks,

    James

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    I think the standard top level extensions .com, .org, .net, .co.uk, .org.uk are all on a par with each other. I have plenty of each and I've never had a problem ranking with them in Google, if that's your main concern.

    If your site is, or will be, a brand name then I would say .com is the way to go because it's the most universal one and the quickest to say. I don't think the TV ads for WeBuyAnyCar.com would have been as memorable if it was WeBuyAnyCar.co.uk.

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    Very good point about webuyanycar.com!

    It's not a brand for a product, more of a free information service. I didn't want to be at a disadvantage with a lesser extension! Also, as it is an information site, I was thinking or visitors perceptions of the site i.e. can it be trusted? etc. This is my first website so I'm more than ready to make mistakes and learn from them.

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    How strong are the brands with the other extensions? If they are well known they will likely get a lot of your traffic simply because people go to them automatically even if it is your site they want

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    Site content is far more important than the gTLD or ccTLD. The four TLDs, .com, .net, .org, and .info will receive a boost over other extensions when it comes to ranking factors. For a cc (country code) top level, those are most often country specific.

    You are more likely to rank better on Google.co.uk with the .co.uk ccTLD. G also uses the geo-location of the site's server as an indicator for which of their sites should have results. For G users in Canada, they are more likely to see the .ca country code in results than we would here in the states.

    The answer really depends upon how and where the name is to be used. If you're advertising, buy a .com. If you are going to spend the additional money to brand a site, you can avoid an EMD, but a .com is recommended. If your site is country specific, you can go with a gTLD and geo meta tags (which seem to work with Bing but not G?), or the ccTLD.

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    In this article https://plus.google.com/109412257237...ts/4VaWg4TMM5F Matt Cutts says it doesn't matter.

    On the Bing website in the 'Webmaster Center blog' section in the 'Is your site ranking rank? Do a site review Part 5 (SEM 101)' article in the 'Geo-location is everything' sub-section found at http://www.bing.com/community/site_b...5-sem-101.aspx it says "Hosting a website on a TLD that is external to the target audience can negatively influence its ranking in that target audience market due to relevance factors."

    I didn't find anything on Yahoo!

    There are a ton of threads on EP discussing this topic. Some threads are more relevant than others; but they all provide some insight into the debate.
    Here is a partial list:
    SPOILER ALERT! There is no consensus.

    Hope this helps.

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    I'm on the verge of purchasing some domains for this website that I have been working on.. It occurred to me; How important is the domain for establishing traffic and a good reputation?
    There are probably as many opinions as the number of people you ask !

    I like sticking to .com and .co.uk . People have been conditioned over the years to see these as the 2 main extensions in the UK, so you could lose traffic to these if you don't use them. You didn't mention whether the .net / .org.uk variants are EMDs for the terms you are targeting which also plays a factor.

    Also, for me a .co.uk gives the perception that its a UK based site, and .co.uk can benefit from a boost from Google.co.uk versus the .com .

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    Of course, the .com or .co.uk would be best in most cases, but as there's no SEO penalty for using a .net, I'm quite fond of them for keywords (I would avoid them in branding though). I picked up a keyword .net this year for a client for $250, and a few days later received a "take it or leave it offer" to buy the .com for $180,000. (That was from a top domain broker, not just a dreamer.) You can get some wonderful .net domains on the cheap, and use the savings for better things. They're especially nice if you know the .com is being held for a king's ransom and unlikely to be sold to your competitors anytime soon.

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    Thanks for compiling that very helpful list, succor. I've promoted your post to the frontpage.

    But I notice that the emphasis in the replies here seem to be about SE traffic i.e. answering the latter part of the OP.

    I think it would be tail wagging the dog to buy a domain for SE reasons. What you want to consider is whether

    1. the domain already has some branding from a prior life (before it was dropped) and whether it was associated with something unsavory
    2. your customers are ultra-nationalists or your niche is local ("Welsh organic butter") in which case you need to go for a ccTLD
    3. the TLD is perceived favourably by the people whom you would like to give you backlinks
    4. all your competitors are on a particular TLD in which case it would make sense for you to use that as well....

    in other words - worry about everything else except the search engines! The SEs are moronic machines, not intelligent life. They will follow whatever is working. Have the best site in your sector that is recommended widely and the lemmings (SEs) will follow. Doing it in reverse - making the site for SEs in the hopes that visitors will follow - is not a very good recipe.
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