While all domains can achieve good organic search rankings in competitive niches, new study finds evidence of hidden advantages to domains with content relevant extensions

WAKEFIELD, Mass. Apr. 25, 2017 — The Domain Name Association (The DNA), the Internet domain industry’s trade association, 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. 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.

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.

“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.).”

About The DNA

The Domain Name Association (The DNA) is a non-profit business association that represents the interests of the domain name industry. It is independent and global in scope, and its membership is open to organizations involved in the provision, support, and sale of domain names, such as domain name registries, registrars, resellers, and registry service providers. Founding members include Donuts, GoDaddy, Google, and Rightside, with current membership representing more than 35 established companies. The DNA’s mission is to promote the best interests of the domain name industry by advocating the use, adoption, and expansion of domain names as the primary tool for users to navigate the Internet. More information is available at www.thedna.org.

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