Choosing the Right Top-Level Domain (TLD) for Your Website: An Easy Guide

Top-Level Domain

Every website has a domain address, like dailyseo.id or detik.com. Dot id (.id) and dot com (.com) are two examples of top-level domains, among 1,591 top-level domain options that you can use for your website.

With various options available, selecting the right top-level domain can be a confusing task. However, choosing a top-level domain for your website should not be done arbitrarily. Several crucial factors need to be considered to ensure you choose a top-level domain that suits your website’s needs.

Additionally, in some cases, the choice of a top-level domain can also affect the search engine optimization (SEO) of your website. Read the discussion below to understand the basics of what a top-level domain is, its relationship with SEO, and some simple tips for choosing it.

What Is a Top-Level Domain (TLD)?

A top-level domain (TLD), commonly known as a domain extension, is the part after the last ‘dot’ symbol in a domain name. This part occupies the top hierarchy in the Domain Name System (DNS) on the internet, hence the name top-level domain.

For example, in the domain support.google.com, ‘.com’ is the top-level domain, ‘google’ is the second-level, and ‘support’ is the third-level domain (commonly called a subdomain).
Types of Top-Level Domain

According to the Internet Assigned Number Authority (IANA), TLDs can be categorized into three types based on their use.

Generic Top-Level Domains (gTLD):

This type of top-level domain is the most commonly used as it is generic. Some popular gTLDs include .com, .co, .net, .org, and many others.

Country-code Top-Level Domains (ccTLD):

These domain extensions are specifically used for geotargeting purposes or targeting specific geographic locations. For example, .id for Indonesia, .my for Malaysia, and so on.

Sponsored Top-Level Domains (sTLD):

sTLDs are top-level domains intended for specific entities such as businesses, government, and educational organizations. Examples include .gov and .edu.

Is the Choice of Top-Level Domain Important for SEO?

Have you ever heard that ‘.com’ is the best domain extension option that can have a positive impact on SEO? Although partly true, it does not mean that a domain with the gTLD ‘.com’ has a higher chance of ranking in search results compared to alternative gTLDs.

Google itself states that they provide equal opportunities for popular gTLDs (such as .com and .org) and alternative gTLDs (such as .site and .jobs) to rank on Google.

However, the choice of TLD can still affect the SEO performance of your website in specific cases and aspects, such as brand perception and geotargeting.
Brand Perception

While Google treats all gTLDs equally, the use of ‘.com’ is more advisable due to its stronger brand perception. ‘.com’ is more familiar to users and widely used by major brands like Apple, Microsoft, and Facebook.

The use of popular gTLDs can enhance the credibility of the domain in the eyes of users, potentially positively impacting the Click-Through Rate (CTR) on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Conversely, some domain extensions like .zip, .click, and .xyz are often associated with spam or scams, which can lower the credibility of the domain.
Geotargeting

Google treats ccTLDs as a signal that a website is intended for users in a specific country or region. By using ccTLDs, a website has a better chance of appearing in search results in that country or region.

For example, a website with the ccTLD ‘.id’ will appear more frequently in the SERP for searches in Indonesia compared to other countries. Therefore, choosing a ccTLD like .id can be a good strategy if your website targets users in Indonesia.
Tips for Choosing the Right TLD

Choosing the right TLD can have a positive impact on the branding and SEO of your website. Here are some simple tips to help you determine the TLD for your website:

Use popular gTLDs when possible:

Choosing popular gTLDs like .com or .org as the TLD for your website is a safe option to avoid unwanted risks. Alternatively, you can also consider industry-specific gTLDs like .tech or .healthcare.

Use ccTLDs to target specific countries:

If your website targets an audience in a specific country, using ccTLDs can be the right choice. ccTLDs signal to search engines that the website is explicitly targeting an audience in that country.

Be cautious with alternative gTLDs:

Some ccTLDs are treated by Google as gTLDs due to their common use in specific industries. Therefore, pay attention before choosing alternative gTLDs to avoid unwanted surprises.

By understanding the role of a top-level domain and considering factors such as brand perception and geotargeting, you can make a wise decision in selecting a TLD for your website. Remember that the choice of a TLD is not just a technical aspect but also contributes to the overall image and performance of your website.

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