Although the precise details of Google's and other search engines'
algorithms are not made accessible to the public, a lot of information
can be gleaned from webmasters experimenting with their sites and
documenting the results. The potential difference in treatment for
.com and .org domain names is one of many topics which have been
discussed extensively. A good source of reliable information on such
Having searched the Webmaster World archives for relevant articles, I
found a large number of threads expressing essentially the same thing
about the effect of domain name suffixes.
The vast majority of experienced webmasters claimed that Google and
other search engines do *not* make any adjustment to a site's
importance based on the top level domain (TLD) suffix.
Suffixes indicative of a site's nationality on the other hand can be
of great importance when search engines look for sites from a specific
country. For example, www.google.co.uk has an option which allows
users to search just "pages from the UK", which returns only sites
with .co.uk domain names, or those which have been marked as British
by a human moderator. Likewise, the French version of Altavista
(http://fr.altavista.com/) refers to mainly .fr domain names when
searching 'French only' sites.
A Google employee, GoogleGuy, who frequents the Webmaster World forums
responded to a query similar to yours in one instance with the words:
"Aye, the ccTLD dinna make a whit o' difference."
Perhaps not the clearest of comments, but one which states that a .cc
top level domain suffix makes no difference to a site's Google
ranking. It can be inferred from this thread that TLDs are not used
to discriminate against certain sites, except in searches for specific
A number of the discussions I found informative at Webmaster World are
available at the following links:
Webmaster World Discussions re: top level domains
Whilst looking for further corroboratory information at respected
search engine expert sites, I found a table of statistics at:
Search Engine World: Top Level Domains
For a week in September 2002, the proportion of sites returned on the
results pages with .com TLDs was 59% as opposed to .org TLDs with 10%.
Although six times as many .com domains as .org's were returned,
given consideration of the much smaller overall number of .org
domains, there would appear to be no disadvantage to using a .org TLD.
Indeed, Search Engine World claim that "Google has always promoted the
.edu and .org sites."; a statement which I have not found reiterated
elsewhere, but may have been true in the past, if not now.
So in conclusion, despite the apparent domination of the search engine
results pages by .com domains, Google and other search engines do not
treat .org or .net sites with any less importance than .com. If
deciding upon a domain name for a business, .com suffixes are
generally most popular purely because this tends to be the most common
option guessed by users recalling URLs.
The following sites give further information on domain suffixes and
name selection in general:
Tips on How to Choose a Good Domain Name
SitePoint: 8 Quick Tips to Choosing a Domain Name
Gives an idea of the values of top domain names with various suffixes:
I hope that I have answered your question satisfactorily; if you would
like clarification of any area, please do not hesitate to ask before
rating my answer.
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