When most people think of larger websites it’s no coincidence that most people expect to see a .com
Not only was .com was one of the first types of domain available it’s also known as a Top level domain.
For years a .com often secured a good ranking due to its status but when country based domains (i.e. .co.uk) started to grow in popularity Search engine started to see this new level of domain potentially being more relevant for local search result.
As a general rule a Top level domain is more relevant for those companies how have an international presence.
Originally domain prices were very expensive and it’s only in recent years that the costs have come down to very affordable levels.
This means domains are often bought now on the basis on what search engine optimisation benefits it can bring to the company owning the site.
Indeed there is some evidence to suggest that search engines like Google may well prefer a .co.uk over a .com for site which wants to list well on the Google UK search engine results.
As a general rule, if the domain name is really important to you, this may be a primary consideration over the extension of the domain, although in high competition searches you may find without matching the domain to the extension, you may not be able to reach your goals with regards to search engine optimisation.
While it is true that no one outside of Google knows the mechanism for determining rank in its search engine listing, we do know Google likes the top ten pages for a given phrase for a reason, and it is this fact we can use to formulate our strategy.
The reason for looking at the top ten as a whole is that it allows us to remove the ‘freak’ results of any one website.
We could look at any phrase but it makes sense to look at a popular term. It’s also important to note that the internet is a fluid place and analysis on one day and with one search engine can be different on another day on another engine.
Looking at the top ten results it’s a clean sweep for the .com domain extension, but this does not tell the whole story.
Natwest has two aspects which skews the results in this particular search.
Firstly it is an international company; a lot of its business is conducted outside of the UK. It is likely that it has an higher than usual interest from the rest of the world (which is more likely to include .com websites)
Secondary most of the sites reporting on and linking to Natwest related material are likely to be large financial website, which again would have a .com bias.
For other searches that are more local in nature you would expect to see a larger quantity of .co.uk sites in the top ten.