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Top Level Domain

BY: bharathi | Category: Others | Post Date: 2010-02-17

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Domain name is the label used to reach a website with the help of a DNS (Domain Name Server) instead of using the numerical address of a website. Top level domain is the last portion of the domain name after the dot like .com etc. There are more than 370 top level domains.

Types of top level domain:

Top level domains are divided on certain criteria under the following categories: country-code top-level domains, generic top-level domains, sponsored top-level domains, infrastructure top-level domain.

Most commonly known generic top level domains are .com, .net, .org, which can be registered and used by anyone. But some other generic top level domains like .edu, .mil, .gov can be used only by specific organizations. So to use these TLD's the reason to use them should be legitimate like government agencies, military, or educational organizations.

The country level domains are two letter domains like .in for Indian domain names, .uk for domain names from United Kingdom. The sponsored TLD's are sponsored by some agencies or communities that can restrict the use of these domains. Un-sponsored TLD's are operated by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) that are aimed at serving the whole internet community in common. Arpa (Advanced Research Projects Agency) is the TLD for the IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) for the Internet Engineering Task Force.

Second level domain:

Second level domain names come immediately below the TLD's. Say, for a company in India it can have a domain name ending like .co.in. Even there are second level domains with single and double letters which are explicitly reserved by the Internet Assigned Number Authority. Single letter domain names also come under the Second level domains, like z.com, x.org which was reserved by the IANA in 1993. Only very few single digit domain names exists now. The two letter domain names are combined with the top level domain extension like lg.com are also second level domains.

Impact of TLD's on SEO:

Previously the search engines treated all domains alike whether it's a TLD or a second Level domain. Even the users were only familiar with domains like .com, .net, .org.

Now search engines also started to focus on country specific results for the search. So the best idea would be to know the target visitors first, then decide upon the domain name. So if you are targeting visitors from all over the world choose .com domains. If the target visitors are specific to a country just choose a domain name with a country extension like co.in.

The best example would be of google which has different domain names for different countries. The major advantage of using country specific top level domains is that it can easily catch the eyes of native search engine.

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