How to choose the right domain name and extension? Which domain name is most effective for SEO? How to get a great domain name and save cash? What’s the best domain extension for a localized business?
Internet Extensions, Top Level Domains and Country Code Top Level Domains bring considerations to those registering a domain for their business or personal needs. Considerations between .io, .com, .net or .ca, .de, etc. can give advantage or disadvantage in SEO results and can weight heavy on your wallet especially if a domain squatter is holding out on your domain with your desired extension for big bucks. What’s your strategy?
Internet extensions were widely available at one point in time where you could register domains with .com extensions for major cities, companies and so forth. You could pretty much find a domain name with the .com extension easily or if not on the first attempt a couple modifications and you’d have something that works closely related to the one you wanted. This was before domain name merchants found the potential is flipping domain names and it became a business where people would buy and sell domains for profit. Once the business model of buying and reselling the domain names for an interested customer became a massive hit (there have been many domains selling for great money), hundreds of thousands of domain names were registered by these companies and people that really had no interest in owning the domain name. Is that fair?
The outcome of this was simple: if you wanted to buy a domain name that is not available on a registrant like GoDaddy, you can see if it’s available in backorder from the company that has bought it for reselling. You will be asked to pay several hundred or maybe thousands of dollars for some domain names while a few others if you’re lucky can be bought relatively cheaper. However, we witnessed a trend reversal in expensive domain purchases when more internet extensions, especially the country specific or country code top level domains such as .us, .de, .au, .ca, .co, and .uk became very popular. Like the io extension is for mobile developers and apps has caught on from a tech perspective but in consumers’ minds .coms still rule. People are branching out into other domain extensions beyond .com but in the minds of many consumers .com is still king and it most likely will retain its title. A funny aspect of domains is that some of the new domain name extensions can be over $100 with many close to $100 from the registrar which is far more than the cost of a .com.
.ca vs .com which one should you use?
When top level domain name extensions – such as .edu, .com, .net and .org costs you a premium for popular names you can get some country specific extension for a lower price. Secondly domain extensions like .org may not be the best and most suitable for businesses since it represents non-profits or organizations therefore a for profit or corporate industrial company with a .org domain would look silly in the minds of consumers and possibly receive pushback from the community. A corporate conglomerate with a .edu extension would look equally silly since that is the extension for universities and educators.
Also people would likely try the companies name with a .com extension first. In some cases you can buy both or many internet extensions at a nominal cost but beware at renewal time the discounted price may increase therefore think about what domains you want. The advantage of registering a domain with multiple extensions is that you protect it from someone else registering, cloning and, or attempting to complete. This may motivate and urge you to maintain two domain names for the same website and you could simply point the domain with the alternate extension to the main website.
So what’s the right way to deal with this issue? Here are a few basic things that you need know about .ca vs .com domains in comparison:
- If you are not looking at an international market (you exclusively serve Canadian customers), a .ca domain may be the way to go because the name will be typically cheaper and you will have an advantage in ranking your webpage as you are competing with Canadian customers, not international customers.
- Localized domains get an advantage over international in localized searches.
- If you decide to keep both .com and .ca extension for the same website you will likely want to point one to the main website on the main domain because maintaining two websites with duplicate content is a ranking disadvantage and more work.
- Sometimes two domain names to the same website can confuse your customers.
- You can use a 301 redirect if your domain changes and, or you move to a domain with a different extension but it should be done by an experienced SEO professional to get the maximum link juice.
When you are hunting for internet extensions try to get the .com domain with slight variations of the names but if none of the name combinations work, you can get the .ca domain name. In most cases finding a different domain name in .com top level domains may be the best way to solve this problem. For example, let’s say that your company’s name is emartshop. If you can’t get the domain ‘www.emartshop.com,’ try all the abbreviations that will work for you such as ‘www.theemartstore.com’ etc. Sometimes a minor adjustment or even an abbreviation is a good option to consider that will work. Also these are meaningless names with mojo that people invent and work. There are many strategies to use that won’t cost you the bank to purchase a domain aftermarket from a reseller and domain squatter.
However, if you are targeting the Canadian market exclusively and your business is in a very competitive niche then you may not benefit going the .com route but may see more success sticking to a .ca domain name since your market is localized. You can avoid a good part of competition to get ranked high for keywords targeting the Canadian market with your Canadian website and Canadian .ca domain extension. This comes as a cost effective strategy to get more SEO exposure without spending much money. There are many using this approach when focusing on a localized over an international market. So if you are thinking about .ca vs .com, comparing and contrasting options, and how to choose the right internet extensions think about your business and make an informed decision on which domain name and extension is more beneficial for you, your needs and budget.