Picking the right top level domains

You’ve found the perfect business name for getting on Google, now you want to ensure that the little grouping of letters that occur after the final dot of your domain name, known as the top level domain, does the same.

New top level domains

With a whole host of new top level domains, such as ‘.app’, ‘.home’, ‘.pay’ and ‘.buy’ available and large corporations like Google, Amazon and the BBC willing to pay top dollar to secure them, you should resist the temptation to just rush out and buy one of these and instead consider which type of top level domain is right for your business.

Country and area specific top level domains

When choosing a top level domain, give some thought to what sort of business you are and where you are based. If you are operating in a particular country or city, a country or area specific top level domain, such as ‘.co.uk’ or ‘.london’ might be best. Taking these two as examples, if someone included ‘UK’ or ‘London’ in their search for a particular product or service, Google will try to provide relevant sites from companies based in these areas in the results.

Consider user perception

Traditional top level domains, such as ‘.com’ and ‘.org’ are familiar to users. They are used to seeing them and attach credibility to websites that have them. A more established top level domain has already earned the trust of potential customers so you might want to go for one of these as customers will be more wary of the new top level domains.

SEO value

Nobody knows the true SEO value of having one of the new top level domains yet because they haven’t been around long enough. There is every reason to think that websites with a new top level domain will do well on Google, it’s just that it might take longer than it would for a more established top level domain.

Top level domain variations

If the domain name you want is not available you might be able to buy the same one, but with a variation on the top level domain. If the domain name you wanted has been taken by a competitor, ask yourself if people are likely to visit their site by mistake when searching for your business or product. If it is, then it is probably worth rethinking your domain name.

Bulk buying domain names

If you want a specific top level domain but find that other variations are available it is worth buying all the applicable domain names. This stops competitors from establishing websites that can steal your traffic or people setting up spam sites to trap your customers. All of the top level domains can be directed to your website so customers will find you whatever variation of your address they come across and click through to.