With search engines getting “smarter” just like our phones and other “intelligent” devices around us, the conditions for choosing a domain name are changing. Search engines can read through our website content and gain much knowledge about our audience and our business niche. Yes, they know who is your target audience, what is the industry you want to communicate to, how high is your website content quality and they will give a search ranking based on that content quality and relevance.
With this said, we now know that there is no practical need for a perfect .COM and other domains may be just as good. Arguably, for a local search, regional or country-code domain may even have more benefit. The main benefit that the most popular domains provide, is that they can be recognized by ordinary people. When a man or woman sees a .COM domain in on a building or on a bus he instantly knows it is a website, a virtual, online place. However, this trait is not common for all types of domains. When the domain is .design (new generic top-level domain) this man or a woman may be wondering what it is, and why is there a dot between two words and the reason is that he is not recognizing it as a domain name.
We can deduce that .COM and few other popular domains will be relevant in the next few decades. The new domains will become more accepted, though slowly, in the practical use. As the generations of new internet users get older, so these ngTLDs will be more and more popular, as these new people are able to recognize new website domain names.
Yes, it is inevitable that a domain will outlast others. It is a complex question which ones exactly. We can say those that are easily recognized, but we also have to note that these domains need a large target audience who will buy them, to remain financially sustainable by the institution that operates them. In the next few years, we will witness a rise and fall to these ngTLD.
When talking about registering a domain name for a new website, or one with intent to sell it at a later time for profit – as we have already concluded specific domains that are human-readable and recognizable are a good choice. However with many ngTLD that is a few hundred of very good domains that make a feasible word combination for a domain-hack. For average domain trader, instead of registering a large number of domains with just a few domains, the much better choice is to register a smaller number of domains that are chosen as a profitable word-hack that is catchy and recognizable by a human.
New website owners need to focus on their content instead of the domain name. Even the best possible domain name cannot sustain a website which is not receiving fresh, relevant content regularly. That is because search engines now give ranking based on the quality and relevance of your website content. On the contrary, a fresh website can surpass a ten-years-old website search ranking within less than a half a year, if it has better content. Everyone is saying it and we can only confirm. Content is the king.
If the .COM domain that is best suitable for your website is taken, look for another generic top-level domain, but before registering one you should be aware of their particular intended purpose. The .net domain name is aimed at online communities while .org is intended for non-profit organizations, and as such, both are not really a good choice for a company presentation, online shop or retail website. These “old” generic top-level domains are a good choice if you are aiming for the global audience.
Yes, .CO and .IO both can be a good choice though they are country-code top-level domains. This is because, by search engines, they are treated as generic top-level domains and are also suitable for a website aiming for the international audience. Because of the I/O (input/output) interpretation, .io is more popular with tech startup companies, while .co is suitable for any kind of general business or company. We can note that ccTLD are two or three letter domains and will enable you to make a short domain name that is catchy. Short is always good.
Finally, the “whole word” new gTLD such as .ONLINE, .SHOP, .DESIGN, .CLICK, .CASINO, XYZ … etc. are also a viable option. In last few years many new ngTLD have been released for registration to the general public, and it just may be that one of them suits your business or industry niche very nicely. Their main benefit is that they are human readable as whole words.
This, however, does not enhance your SEO directly, as search engines do not see domain extension as a keyword, but the benefit of being humanly readable is a boon of its own.