Three Tiers of Top Level Domains

Posted by webigg02 on July 20th, 2018

There are three general quality tiers of top level domains. The high tier domains are the most valuable for use in marketing, search, and website optimization. These are domains like .com, .gov, and .edu. They’re recognizable, they’re common, and they have benefits to SEO in terms of authority. Restricted domains give you that authority, because they’re implicit proof that you are who you claim to be. They aren’t as valuable as many people say they are, but they still have a bit of value to the owner of such a site.

The middle tier are top-level domains that work for hosting a site, and that are perfectly functional, but aren’t necessarily doing you any favors. Most country codes, most generics, and most sponsored domains all fall into this category. It is, frankly, the bulk of the domains available. No one is going to be better than any other, not really.

The bottom tier are actively detrimental domains. They are often used for spam, and simply using one will give negative associations to your brand, and can possibly come with an immediate SEO penalty or lack of trust.

Which Domain Extensions Rank The Best In Google

There’s an interesting phenomenon with regards to the internet that the more tech-savvy among us might not notice, and those less educated in the world of the web are prone to doing without realizing.

The usual URL format is www.example.com. We all recognize this as a website URL. However, there’s one thing missing from that URL that is, in fact, critical. That’s the HTTP:// part of the command, the hyper text transfer protocol, with or without the S for secure. At the same time, the www is not actually necessary for almost all websites.

The www is a relic from a time when subdomains ruled access to a server. The www was the world wide web access, the front-facing page. The same site at ftp.example.com would be the file transfer protocol access, which the site administrator could use to upload and transfer files. A similar URL, pop.example.com, would be the post office protocol, which usually directs to an email server.

However, these days, most web servers relegate this to ports on the domain. Instead of www.example.com and ftp.example.com, you might have example.com:80 for traffic to port 80, web traffic, and example.com:21, traffic on port 21, which directs to the file server. Alternatively, they might replace the HTTP with FTP://example.com, or whatever other protocol they need.

Why do I bring this all up? Have you ever tried to get someone in their 80s to use the internet properly? One thing you’ll often encounter is how engrained the idea of www.example.com is for a URL. Even if your site is http://example.co.uk, getting someone to type that in can be unnervingly difficult. You’ll see a surprising number of people typing in http://www.example.co.uk.com.

This is the primary reason why, when you’re discussing top-level domain extensions, .com is always going to be the winner. The .com TLD, standing for “commercial” as opposed to educational (.edu), governmental (.gov), or what have you, is the default for many, many people.

So, when you ask the question “which domain extensions rank the best,” you’re adding the invisible subtext, “after .com.” The .com domain extension is always, always going to be the number one extension for as long as extensions are commonly used at all.

How Many TLDs Are There?

There are a lot of top-level domain extensions. There are so many that, as of 2015, they are divided into six categories. These are Infrastructure domains, Generic domains, Restricted domains, Sponsored domains, Country Code domains, and Test domains.

Before the addition and reorganization of 2015, all the way back in the early days of the internet in 1998, there were only a relative handful of domains. You had .com, .org, .net, .int, .edu, .gov, and .mil. These are for commercial sites, organization sites, network sites, international organizations, educational sites, governmental sites, and military sites. The latter two are restricted to the United States, as well.

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