One can define a TLD also known as “Top Level domain” as the last segment of a domain name. A very common example of a top-level domain name extension is .com. Although, it would be important to state that there are other varieties of top-level domains, which we would cover in-depth in this article. We would also look at how these TLDs affect your SEO efforts. Without much mouthing, let us delve in.
Detailed Explanation of what a TLD is
In a bid to understand what a TLD is, you should be well versed with what the structure of a domain looks like. If you took a quick grasp at a domain name for instance, you would see a combination of letters that are separated by a dot. It is usually three words separated by two dots.
With the dot in the domain name structure, you can tell the segment type of the domain name. It would be important to state that a domain has three segments namely: the top level, the second level, and the third level.
Understanding What a Domain Name Structure is all about
One can define a top-level domain as a formal terminology for the suffix that is used at the end of a domain name. As stated earlier, the following are good examples of top-level domains; .com, .org, . net, etc.
In a domain name structure, the domain name is the second level in the hierarchy. Domain names that can be classified under a specific TLD can be purchased from any registrar of your choice; These specific TLDs are used to represent the location of your website. In the examples listed below, the domain names are highlighted below.
It would be important to state that search engines do not rank websites based on the domain name.
The first application of the term “root domain,” was in the context of domain name servers. Your root domain in any domain structure can be regarded as a combination of the top-level domain and the domain name. it is important to note that the highest page in the site’s hierarchy is the root domain. It is officially the homepage URL of any website.
A typical example of a root domain would be;
Sub domains can be regarded as the third level of any domain hierarchy and consist of the larger top-level domain. A typical example of top-level domains includes; blog.example.com and English.example.com.
Using www.google.com as an example, the top-level segment is the .com. The second segment is “Google”. In addition, the third level which can also be called the sub-domain is the www.
In practice, there are stances where there are more segments in a domain name structure.
According to the IANA, there are three types of TLDs;
· sTLD- sponsored top-level domain
· gTLD- Generic top-level domain
· ccTLD- country code Top Level domains
Taking a Dip at the Three Types of TLDs
Did you know that your TLD is an essential part of your Domain name system? In the past, choosing TLD had a lot of limitations attached to it. However, due to changes in some policies that regulate TLDs, there are over thousands of TLDs to choose from. A vast majority of these TLDs fit into one type of TLD; “the generic Top-Level Domain”. That is the first type of Top-level domain that we would be reviewing
#1. The Generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD)
The generic top-level domain type can be regarded as one of the most recognizable TLDs around. This TLD type boasts of options like:
Other popular options of generic TLDs include:
It would be important to state that these days, there are arbitrations on the purpose of some of these TLDs. For instance, anybody can register a .org site and still not have any organization to support the existence of the site.
Did you know that the ICANN established policies that allow companies to have their own generic TLDs? For instance, there are TLDs such as:
The ICANN did not stop at allowing organizations to have their own TLDs registered, they also allowed registration for niches. Some of such examples include:
There are also TLDs for certain geographic locations. They can be classified under generic TLDs as GeoTLDs. An example is “.nyc”, which stands for New York City. This can be used by organizations that want to float an online presence in New York City residents only.
Other examples include;
Thanks to ICANN, there are over 1200 TLDs that are available to choose from.
#2. Sponsored Top Level Domains
One can regard a sponsored level domain as a digital entity that is reserved for government bodies, business organizations or other kinds of groups.
Some of the most common examples of sponsored TLDs include;
I would like to do a brief review of three sponsored level domains that interest me the most. They are .gov, .mil and .edu.
The .gov domain extension is used by the USA government worldwide. Other than that, other countries add a country extension so that it would relate to them. For instance, is .gov.in for Indian government-based sites. Also is the .gov.ng for Nigerian government-based sites.
The ICANN regulates these domains in a way that only government bodies can only register for them.
The .mil and .edu domains appeal to usage by the US government and can be used by other countries with a country domain extension. Speaking of country-code domain extensions, we would take a few paragraphs and review what they are all about.
#3. ccTLD. Country code Top-level domains
Simply put, a country code is a domain extension that is used to represent specific countries.
Below is a list of some common country codes for domains:
.us – United states of America
.ng – Nigeria
.uk – united kingdom
.ca – canada
.jp – japan
With the aid of ccTLDs, human visitors to your website can be able to tell what country your website content serves. It is also used by search engines to geo target your website.
A lot of fortune 500 companies use ccTLDs to localize their website content to geo-specific visitors. An example of such implementation is:
Did you know that a Keyword that was hard to rank for with a generic TLD like .com might be easy to rank for with a country code Top-level domain?
If you write an article on “how to make moringa oil”, it would be difficult to rank with a generic TLD. However, with a country-code domain extension like .in or .ng, you can rank for Indian or Nigerian visitors respectively. So, instead of fighting for impossible global competition, an SEO expert can settle for traffic that can be gotten with the aid of geo-specific domain name extensions.
How does your Domain name and TLD Affect Your SEO efforts?
This is a question that a lot of SEO experts have been pondering over for the last few years. Truth is, there are over 200 Google ranking factors, and I am about to give a conditional answer to this question.
First off, let me iterate that a domain name has three parts. They are the subdomain part, the domain name, and the TLD part. Your domain name and subdomain name have little or no effect on your ranking, but your TLD does.
And how? You might wonder; location-based SEO! TLD. Although not all TLD affect SEO, only the ccTLD affects SEO.
A .com site that sells Video Marketing tools to a UK audience would take more time to rank than a .co.Uk site. With the aid of a ccTLD, you can signal to search engines what countries your content should be served to.
With ccTLD are other SEO efforts in place, you can speed up Google user testing and start ranking soon.
In light of speeding up Google user testing, which is something that most happens before Google ranks your content, Google with your ccTLD knows whom your content is meant for. Google is putting up a lot of effort in improving local search, so ccTLDs is still a game player in SEO.