Top Level Domains : Which TLD To Choose For A Better SEO?

December 6, 2023 | Basic SEO

Even a decade ago, we were only familiar with surfing a website ending with ‘.com’.

If the website ended with any term other than that, many of us used to feel reluctant to open that site even.

However, the scenario has changed, and we are familiar with thousands of TLDs other than ‘.com’.

The primary purpose of TLD (Top Level Domain) is to describe the main characteristics of your website.

The short string plays a significant role in how searchers perceive your website.

In this article, we will discuss various top-level domains and the one that will suit your business.

What Is A Top Level Domain?

A top level domain is the word string located at the rightmost end of a domain name after the last dot (.)

Parts of a URL

TLDs are also known as domain suffixes, or domain extensions, or URL extensions. They describe the category of the website to the visitors.

For example, ‘.com’ denotes a commercial website, or ‘.org’ denotes an organization.

How Does Top Level Domain Affect SEO?

Google prioritizes the quality of content that a website offers irrespective of the type of TLD used by the site, as confirmed by Matt Cutts.

In fact, Google also confirmed that a website using a custom TLD that includes targeted keywords does not impact the ranking.

That implies the top-level domain does not affect your SEO directly.

But it indirectly affects your overall marketing performance and decides the amount of trust visitors will have on your site.

That really matters!


Visitors find a few top level domains more trustworthy than the others. Study shows that .com and .org are top level domain examples visitors trust most.

Popular top level domains

If your website has a trustworthy top level domain, visitors will click without a second thought. That, in turn, will increase your click-through rate and organic traffic.

How To Check The Trustworthiness Of Your TLD?

Now that you know visitor’s trust in your website’s top level domain plays a vital role in your site’s performance, you must be eager to check the trustworthiness of your website’s TLD.

The easiest way to check that is by using RankWatch’s SEO backlink checker.

RankWatch backlink analyzer

If you go to the ‘Backlink Overview’ section of the tool, it will show you the total number of referring domains.

Total number of referring domains in RankWatch backlink analyzer

If you scroll down further, you will get the TLDs and quality of those referring domains.

TLDs and quality of referring domains in RankWatch backlink analyzer

If a lump sum amount of good quality domains with trustworthy TLDs are referring to your website, visitors consider your website a trustworthy source of information.

List Of Top Level Domains Which Are Most Popular

The list of top level domains is vast. This section will discuss the most popular top-level domains that searchers trust the most.

Top TLDs distribution

.com – The ‘.com’ is the most popular TLD and refers to ‘commercial’. That is the first choice for most of the website owners. Visitors consider websites having this top level domain as the most trustworthy. For example,,, etc.

.org – The second most popular domain TLD is the ‘.org’, which stands for ‘organization’. Nonprofit organizations like,, etc frequently use this TLD domain.

.net – Though the ‘.net’ top-level domain is meant to be used precisely by networking websites, it has become a versatile top-level domain many businesses prefer. For example, is a website that offers the latest online games.

.gov – The ‘.gov’ top level domain is exclusively reserved for the government of the United States. This TLD can only be used by federal agencies and national institutions of the United States. For example,

.edu – ‘.edu’ is another top-level domain reserved exclusively for United States educational institutions. For example,

.co – The ‘.co’ top level domain is often considered as an alternative to ‘.com’ by many companies. It denotes ‘company’ or ‘corporation’. For example,

.io – The ‘.io’ top level domain was initially invented for the British Indian Ocean Territory. It became a preferred TLD by various businesses, especially tech startups looking for a trendy domain name. For example,

.me – The ‘.me’ is the best TLD for businesses that want to provide a personal touch in their domain names. Bloggers often use it for their blogs. For example, offers personalized domain names with ‘.me’ TLD.

.blog – The TLD name ‘.blog’ clearly indicates a blog site. As the name suggests, it is popular among content creators and bloggers for their blogs.For example,

Types Of Top Level Domains

The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) regulates the top level domain names. IANA is operated by The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

IANA divides top level domains into the following six categories.

Generic Top Level Domains (gTLD)

Generic top level domains are the most popular TLDs, as anyone can register for them. 

gTLDs usually have three characters or sometimes more than that.

Following is the most common generic top level domain list,

  1. .com
  2. .net
  3. .org

Generic top level domains are sufficient enough to provide website information to the users. For example, .org indicates organization.

IANA has also allowed giant companies to apply and register for their own generic top level domains.

For example,

  1. .apple
  2. .google
  3. .amazon

Geographic Top Level Domains (geoTLD)

The main purpose of introducing geographic top level domains in 2014 was to provide geographic, geopolitical, linguistic, ethnic, and cultural information about a website to the users.

As anyone can register for geoTLDs, they are considered as gTLDs too.

Following are a few examples of geoTLDs,

  1. .wales
  2. .africa
  3. .istanbul

Generic-Restricted Top Level Domains (grTLDs)

IANA put some restrictions on the registration and use of a few generic top level domains.

A website needs to prove their eligibility to register for them.

These gTLDs are known as generic-restricted top level domains.

For example,

  1. .biz (Restricted for established businesses)
  2. .name (Restricted for bona fide individuals)
  3. .pro (Reserved for individuals with solid credentials)

Sponsored Top Level Domains

Private organizations and agencies propose and sponsor specialized top level domains. These are known as sponsored top level domains.

Sponsored top level domains are reserved for groups, businesses, and organizations.

The sponsoring authority decides whether applicants can register for the sponsored top level domain.

Following are a few examples of sTLDs,

  1. .gov
  2. .travel
  3. .edu

sTLDs serve the same purpose of providing information about the website to the users. For example, .gov stands for any website of the government of the United States.

If you want a trustworthy sTLD for your business, you need to apply with an ICANN-accredited registrar and meet their eligibility requirements.

IANA presently offers 14 sTLDs in its database.

Country-Code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs)

Country-code top level domains consist of two characters restricted for countries, territories, and sovereign states.

Businesses from a specific country or organizations that have a business presence in a specific country or region are eligible to register for ccTLDs.

IANA presently offers a total of 316 ccTLDs in their database.

Using country-code top level domains also assists Google in geotargeting. That, in turn, boosts the chances for the website to appear in local search results.

Following are a few examples of ccTLDs,

.de (Germany)

.ie (Ireland)

.in (India)

Test Top Level Domains (tTLD)

The top level domains reserved for testing and documentation are known as test top level domains.

No business can register for tTLDS. 

The purpose of tTLDs is to reduce the chances of conflict with other domain names while testing software changes.

Following are the four main tTLDs offered by IANA,

  1. .test
  2. .localhost
  3. .example
  4. .invalid

Infrastructure Top Level Domains

The type of top level domain invented first was the infrastructure top level domain.

It consists of Address and Routing Parameter Area (ARPA or .arpa)

These top level domains are solely reserved for Internet infrastructure purposes, and businesses cannot register for infrastructure top level domains.

Which Top Level Domain To Choose?

Which TLD to choose?

When you select the top level domain for your website, you must consider the following two fundamental aspects,

  1. The TLD must clearly describe the purpose and intent of your website to the searcher.
  2. The searcher should not doubt the trustworthiness of your website.

However, you need to consider the specific requirements of your business as well.

If your business targets a specific country, then ccTLDs will work for you best. On the other hand, choosing a generic top level domain will be ideal to target a global audience.

If your online business already achieved a different height, you can also register for a generic-restricted top level domain. That helps to gain users’ trust in many folds.


Choosing the right top-level domain is essential to your website’s performance.

The top level domain of your website helps users to understand the purpose of your website. The TLD also decides the user’s perception of your website.

A generic top level domain is the most trusted one by most users.

If you use a country-code top level domain, it can help you rank better in local search results.

The correct top-level domain selection should get more importance than it usually gets from many website owners.

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