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So I'm looking for the best way to combine a TLD with an SLD to get the most out of SEO.

Let's assume I have a company or brand called "Refusal", or, alternatively, "refusal" be a keyword that a lot of people search for, and that I want to build my website around it.

Let's compare these two possible domain names:

My question is: Which of these will get the better SEO results?

A few thoughts and questions:

1. refuse.al: Looks more natural to the eye (because "refuse" is an actual word while "refus" is not) May score better for the word "refuse" Will probably not score for the word "refusal"

2. refus.al: Most likely won't score for the word "refuse" (but the brand name is "refusal" anyway) If we ignore the dot, that's how the word "refusal" is actually written The most important question is, wether search engines will treat refus.al it like a single word ("refusal"), or wether the dot in between will prevent this. Would love to hear your thoughts on this.

All the best

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2 Answers 2

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We should not second-guess what search engines do. They can change what they do all the time.

What you should be aiming for is a good experience for your visitors. That means good content, something people want to visit, and a fast loading website. The domain isn't all that important. It's how people respond to your content that's important.

That being said, are you located in Albania? If not then the TLD .al is not a very good choice because it's mainly associated with that geographic region and search engines might take notice of that.

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  • Thank you, but that wasn't exactly the information I am looking for. I understand what you mean and I agree with all of it. But I am interested in finding out what I wrote in my original question (how search engines will read words, how they will rank keywords, etc. in view of the combination of TLD and SLD. Also, I was never going to use an .al domain, it was just there as an example because a word came to my mind that ended in .al. Nothing was about .al domains however, but thanks for clarifying that location can have an impact on search results!
    – Paper
    Dec 7, 2023 at 21:47
  • @Paper Yes, I assumed that the domains in the question were just example, that's why my warning was only an afterthought. What is important however, is what I was trying to say: The specific domain name you choose isn't all that important for SEO. A very nice domain name can be good, but any reasonable domain name will probably do. I know this isn't the answer you're looking for, but it's true. There is some general advice to take into account: shorter is better, however 10 letters is not a problem, unique is better, so not pizza_com but dominos_com. Dec 7, 2023 at 22:46
  • @Paper I have to warn against choosing one of the newer TLD's because you can get a nice domain there with the keywords you want in it. Don't. Not because of SEO reason, but because the companies behind these TLD are less trustworthy. I had to find that out the hard way, after a central domain I used was suddenly not working anymore. It took me a day to recover. In the end I found out that an automatic system, used by the TLD registry, had taken my domain offline because it suspected misuse. Of course there wasn't any. It is a day I still remember. The sheer panic!😐 Dec 7, 2023 at 22:56
  • Thanks, I see and get your point and I agree with you! I'm not really looking into any domains right now but I was just wondering how search engines handle this and wether the dot will prevent them from indexing these as "one word" or not :) I know that SEO wise it's not necessarily better, even Google's top managers said that. I still find it interesting to know wether it will have an impact. Sometimes some effect like that can look nice, and can fulfill all other criteria you mentioned, but if it disadvantages SEO it can still be bad and it would be one point against it.
    – Paper
    Dec 8, 2023 at 23:18
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Neither of them is going to to well in Google. Google treats almost all country code domains as local to that country. Google doesn't usually show sites under country code domains outside that country.

.al is the country TLD for Albania. Unless you are hoping to have your site rank well only in Albania, you should find a different top level domain.

Reference: https://developers.google.com/search/blog/2015/07/googles-handling-of-new-top-level

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  • Your reference is more than 8 years old, and it even warns about this at the top of the article. Here's a better reference. Also, if we all treat Google as the only search engine out there, then this will become a self fulfilling prophecy. I think that will be bad for all webmasters. Dec 1, 2023 at 21:12
  • Google remove the page where they actually listed the few country code domains that they treat as generic. That would be the best reference but it no longer exists. Dec 1, 2023 at 21:23
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    When 90% of searches come through Google, other search engine really don't matter much. When somebody asked if something is good for SEO it doesn't make much sense to talk about search engines that don't send traffic. Dec 1, 2023 at 21:25
  • Yes, you're right, of course. It is a sad situation, I wish it wasn't so. Monopolies are bad. I don't even blame Google for this, it's due to our behavior as users. Dec 1, 2023 at 21:33
  • @StephenOstermiller Thank you, but the point absolutely wasn't about the .al domain, I chose this only because it was the first that came up to my mind with which I could form a word and apply my example. I wasn't thinking of using .al at all, but it is a good point to mention that some domains are local domains and won't be displayed outside these countries!
    – Paper
    Dec 7, 2023 at 21:43

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