SEO Question: What Are Top-Level Domains?
The term ‘top-level domains’ is used a lot, but what does it mean?
Top-level domains refers to your main URL & only the part of your domain after the last full stop. You might have numerous sub-domains within your TLD, but it is just the last part that is your top-level domain.
There is a hierarchy to TLDs as some carry more strength than others. There are also different types of top-level domains;
Open Generic TLDs such as: .com, .org, .net
Closed Generic TLDs: .edu, .gov, .mil
Country Code TLDs: .co.uk, .eu, .cn
ICANN ERA TLDs: .accountant, .adult, .marketing, .seo, .photography
ICANN era TLDs were created to meet the needs of new sites not being able to find a suitable domain because they are beginning to run out.
Dot com’s are still the most powerful Top-level domains for search purposes, in the UK, a .co.uk is powerful too as are .net, .info and .org’s.
Newer TLD’s don’t carry as much weight in search, although this is expected to change in coming years. It is still quite unusual to see ICANN Era TLD’s ranking well for competitive search terms.
If you are choosing a new TLD and you want to rank well in SERPs then choose wisely. As a UK business, choose either a .co.uk or a .com without hyphens.
If you can’t find a suitable domain then your next choices are .net, .org or .info.
ICANN ERA TLDs will require more SEO link building to get the same result because they don’t carry the same authority in SERPs currently although this might change in the future.