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New gTLD study: a new domain name with enough content and links can compete with .com and .org

The Domain Name Association (The DNA) announced today the results of its commissioned study titled “Hidden Advantages of a Relevant Domain Name” to understand the impact top-level domain name extensions (TLDs) may have on organic search engine results.

Commissioned studies is not the optimal way to really understand a market. Especially if the study only looks at 4 domain names. (Seo.agency, Thefun.singles, Rapala.fishing, Diamonds.pro) How were these 4 domain names chosen?

From what I see the study says that a relevant domain name extension and delivering strong user-oriented content, while getting enough link authority to compete against tenured brands, is enough to rank as good as .com and .org. That is not exactly news.

I have no idea what this part below is trying to say. I actually know what it is saying but how it reaches the conclusion is beyond me. All I will say is: “WHAT RESEARCH?”.

Why are these domain name extensions performing so well?
The Domain Authority (DA) required for many of the non-.com domain name extensions to rank highly was statistically lower than the .com sample across the same keywords.
The research showed that .coms had to work harder to rank on the first page of Google results.
Non-.coms required a lower average DA of 4, while .com domains had an average DA of 33, meaning the non-.coms needed less DA to rank well for the same keywords.

Anyway, the study is worth a read:

“Since many tenured domain name extensions, such as .Com and .Org can perform well in organic search, the study specifically set out to find examples of strongly performing domains for less common and new domain name extensions. The research found supporting evidence that meaningful and relevant domain names could rank well in categories with less overall domain authority than more generic traditional extensions vying for the rest of the top page spots.”

The study set out to answer:
  • Are domain name extensions a possible factor in the results generated by search engines?
  • Can new domain name extensions perform strongly alongside traditional and legacy domain name extensions?
  • Is there a potential advantage to using a more relevant domain name extension?

The research was carried out by Chris Boggs of Web Traffic Advisors, who brings nearly two decades of search and domain name expertise, with supporting analysis from Kevin Rowe of Rowe Digital. A results summary and infographic can be downloaded from The DNA website; the full study results are available exclusively to The DNA members.

Key Findings from the Study
  • This study provides strong proof that having a relevant domain name extension and delivering strong user-oriented content, while getting enough link authority to compete against tenured brands, is enough to rank for many competitive and lucrative searches happening each day.
  • While domains stand on equal ground when it comes to SEO performance, choosing a relevant domain name extension can have potential advantages in helping to rank well for specific keywords.
  • Relevant domain extensions performing well in SEO also means saving money on paid search.
  • Marketers looking back and asking “have we tried everything” should consider relevant and meaningful domain name extensions as a viable part of a user-focused digital marketing strategy going forward.

“In the ever-shifting landscape of organic search results across industries, this study provides proof that keyword-rich domains with relevant extensions have the opportunity to take prized real estate on the top of the search page, both in the paid and organic search engine results, as evident by the report’s SEO case studies,” revealed Chris Boggs, founder of Web Traffic Advisors. “Marketers should consider semantically relevant and meaningful domain name extensions as a viable part of a user-focused digital marketing strategy going forward.”

“Additional research findings uncovered a number of benefits relevant TLDs offer when it comes to organic search, such as helping a site to rank well for specific keywords.”

“When it comes to organic search, relevant domain name extensions offer potential advantages from helping a site to rank well for specific keywords to reducing the need for paid search to do all the heavy lifting,” continued Boggs. “Generally, all domain extensions stand on equal ground when it comes to SEO performance, which aligns with Google’s statements over the years. We found no evidence that using a particular domain name extension directly harms organic search performance as a whole.”

“Initiated in late 2016 and completed in early 2017, the study examined examples of relevant domain extensions performing well in organic search, across sports and entertainment, business-to-business (B2B), retail industry and retail shopping categories. SEMrush tool suite and Rowe Digital’s proprietary tool, SEAD, were used to analyze the aggregate data across all industry and keyword samples.”

“The DNA commissioned the study as part of its mission to provide truly independent, SEO expert analysis on the impact that TLDs have on a brand’s search rankings,” said Rich Merdinger, Chair of the DNA. “Based on the study’s findings, we expect to continue seeing marketing agencies and businesses adopt blended domain name branding strategies that use a robust mix of TLDs with their traditional TLD counterparts (e.g., .Com, .Org, .Co, etc.).”

Sold.Domains

About Konstantinos Zournas

Konstantinos studied Computer Engineering and Computer Science in London and lives in Athens, Greece. He works on domain names, websites and software development. Has been online since 1995 & domaining since 2002.

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10 comments

  1. Anyone that uses Google as a case study on domain names is episodic and not panning for the future. Domain names have inherent accessibility and are user-centric whereas Google (in my opinion) has an agenda to control the supply and demand chain of information. With Google; Domain names only serve as a source for that information. One has to consider what DNA’s motive is in their “research” of new gTLDs.

    Most developed and published websites use a .com extension. That is Google’s pandora’s box and it doesn’t have enough money to change the history of the internet’s past and present propagation of websites that use domain names.

    An intuitive domain name with .com will always have the edge over search engine domination and the promotion of thousands of new extensions.

    • This was not a study. It was an elaborate snapshot at 4 models.

      • Yes it’s not proof yet, But I am having a plan to do a deep SEO case study in this regard. I think to have keyword-relevant #gTLD domain name choices may have somehow positive impact on ranking. Shall be sharing same when I am all ready to start this long journey (9 to 12 months).

      • Wait My Study will be better

        Sorry but you are incorrect in your broad statement. You likely did not see the entire study, nor did you understand its purpose which was to simply prove that these domains could perform, not lift them above others. However this is obviously not true journalism but rather pure editorial opinion, along with the comments.

      • 1. It was no study. 4 domains is not a study. 2. “Could perform” could mean perform at 5%. It means nothing. And we already know they “could perform” something… 3. I am not a journalist nor do I want to be one.

  2. And a PIG with enough TNT crammed up his ASS can fly to the moon when the fuse is LIT.

  3. Regardless of extensions, a good domain name is the one that is easy to remember and pronounce. A good thing is not necessarily expensive. I understand Google listing has nothing to do with extensions. What’s important for Google is a website’s contents. That’s all.

  4. “Let’s put lipstick on a PIG” that’s GTLDS today folks!

    Maybe 20 years for now, GTLDs will have value and our kids will understand them.

    10 second test after reading this article: I called a friend and asked him to go to Rapala.(DOT) fishing he went to RapalaFishing.com and he’s like wow it’s for sale for $2.8K.
    I said NO NO, go to Rapala DOT FISHING and he said “wtf is that?” after rapala.fishing loaded his other comment was “why in the world would they not own the .com?” I chuckled!

    Good job DNA, WOULD YOU LIKE SOME FRIES WITH THAT?

    • EXACTLY. hey everyone register DRIED.DOGDICK from uniregistry for $1 dollar with a $30,000,000 Uniregistry renewal then tell people to go to Dried.DogDick only to find out they are going to DriedDogDick.com wow what a great f–king idea wow ngtld’s are f–cking genius!!!

  5. Who made that study is the first question one should ask?

    http://thedna.org/the-dna-leadership/

    Turns out that this association have people from Rightside and Donuts on board, essentially many who have a stake in the new TLD biz.

    The DNA was formed by one of the new TLD applicants btw.

    http://domainincite.com/17997-group-forms-to-stop-new-gtlds-breaking-stuff

    Let’s make it clear: this is not an independent association, their only goal is to promote the new TLDs.

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