.co vs .com – Which One is Best for SEO?

By David Utke •  Updated: January 2, 2022 •  Website Tutorials

When it comes to registering a domain name at a domain name registrar, you’ll notice you have a lot of choices for the domain name extension. Everything from less popular extensions like .io and .co, to the more traditional options of .com and .net.

Your domain name and domain extension are important, they define the brand your building. With literally thousands of choices for your domain extension which one is best? Is registering a .co going to hurt your SEO compared to a .com? Is .com the best and the only extension you should even consider?

In this comprehensive guide I’m going to answer all these questions as well as compare and contrast .com vs .co as well as their individual pros and cons.

Side note, if you’ve not yet registered a domain name we suggest Namecheap. You can checkout my best domain registrars post too.

.co vs .com overview

The .co extension used to be the country code for the nation of Columbia. It was changed from a country code into a generic top level domain extension by GoDaddy as a way to create a viable alternative to the .com domain extension.

As the .com is the legacy extension of the internet, it is still the go-to domain extension people want. As such, it’s very difficult to get the domain name you want with a .com. Which is why the .co was started as it has a similar sound and spelling.

In general, the .co extension is meant to be for a “company” (hence the .co) but this extension is fine for any blog or website. It won’t hurt your SEO, but of course if you can get the .com then get the .com. Most who register the .co could not get the .com they wanted due to it being taken by a domainer.

Why would someone get a.co over a .com?

The main reason why someone would get a .co over a .com is because the .com is already registered by a professional domainer. A domainer is someone who invests in domain names. That is they buy domains at a low price and hold onto them (sometimes for years) to sell them at a much higher price in the future.

This is the reason why .com’s are quite difficult to register today. Domainers have simply registered various popular domain names with various extensions. Domaining can be quite profitable so there is a financial incentive to register as many two or three word .com domain names.

I was able to register “HostingHero.org” for $12 a year and two years later was able to sell that specific domain for a few hundred dollars. Domaining can be quite profitable if you know what you’re doing.

Is a .co any good?

Yes it is. It’s considered a top level domain extension right along with .net and .org. While not as ideal as a.com, you can build a quality website that gets search traffic that is using a .co domain name. As a top level domain name it will be treated the same as a .com by a search engine.

If you have a domain name you really like but have noticed it’s registered already and not in use, consider using a .co.

Why are .co domain names so expensive?

The price point of a .co is high to deter bulk buying. With domain name registrars like Dynadot, buyers can get a discount if they bulk buy domain names. It’s also more expensive to prevent individuals from registering a domain names they have no intention of using but think they can sell for a higher price point.

Again, the main reason why .co exists is to be a new, modern alternative to a .com. In order to achieve that goal it has to have a slightly higher price point so you can actually get the domain name you want.

How to register a .co domain name

You can get any domain name from any domain name registrar of your choice. We have a full guide on the best domain name registrars. Out of the registrars we have tried we have found both Namecheap and Dynadot to have the best prices for .co.

These two registrars offer a low introduction price and a reasonable renewal rate for a .co. You can of course use any registrar you want but please take note on the actual renewal rate after the first year. You’ll find that both Namecheap and Dynadot have the best prices.

Overall though we recommend Namecheap due to their excellent user interface and 24/7 support which Dynadot does not provide.

What does .co mean?

The .co domain name was originally the country code for Columbia. But has since been turned into a “generic country code top level domain” or GCCTLD for short. That means a .co will now be treated the same as a .net or a .org with regards to SEO.

The way country codes work for SEO is that they help website rank for more local custom searches but fair worse on attracting a global audience. As the .co is no longer associated with Columbia, it now is a great, broad alternative.

What are domain extensions and why are they important?

TLD is short for “top level domain” and they are made up of many parts, one part being the domain extension. The role of the extension is to help identify the purpose of the website. A website with a .edu extension is an accredited educational institute, .gov is for the American government, .com is for commercial.

As websites can have the same domain name, they can not have the same extensions. As such, the domain extension helps form a hierarchy for the end user. With regards to this, domain extensions can be original, generic or a country codes.

Original top level domains

These are the extensions most average internet users are familiar with and were created during the early development of ICANN back in 1998. The .com, .net, .org, .gov, .mil are all original top level domain extensions.

Generic top level domain names

Next we have our generic top level domain name names. These generic domain extensions exist for a specific purpose and use and typically have some sort of restriction associated with them. For example, the .gay domain extension is only for organizations that promote and support LGBTQ rights.

Something like .art is only for artistic related websites and organizations like a museum and .amazon is reserved for Amazon.com.

Country code top level comains (ccTLDs)

Countries can have their own domain name, .co was for Columbia. Country codes are a great choice for any website that is country specific or is in the countries native language.

.com vs .co comparison

So let’s take a look to see how these two domain extensions compare with one another across a few different aspects you should consider:

The price for .com and .co

One thing you will notice is that a .co domain extension is significantly more expensive than a .com. While you can get a .com at a domain registrar like Namecheap or Dynadot for under 9$, a .co will cost over $20 per year.

This high price point is intentional and the thought process behind it was to keep domainers away from .co as they are too costly to hold onto for long periods of time. While in practice the .co has been leverage by domainers for the most desirable of domains (think one or two word domains), the .co is still a viable alternative.

In short, if you can’t get the .com you want because it’s already registered by a domainer and want a more modern alternative than .net or .org then get the .co. It has cool factor compared to other alternatives. The only issue is the high price point.

Availability of the .com extension vs the .co extension

The .com extension is incredibly competitive in todays market. While still having a great price point compared to other extension, it’s availability is quite low. In general, almost all one or two word combinations are registered already and they are either in use or are being held by a domainer.

Also, domainers are actively looking for new one or two word domain names to buy and hold as new technologies develop. Bitcoin and crypto currencies are a great example of this as they grow in importance and popularity.

Want to register BitcoinPrice.com or BitcoinBook.com? It’s too late. They are already taken by a domainer and you’ll need to pay top dollar for them.

The .co domain simply does not have this issue as it’s not the legacy extension.

SEO for .co and .com

One of the most persistent misconceptions by new bloggers and content creators is that a .co is bad for SEO. It’s not, it is a top level domain extension and is treated on par with a .com, .net or a .org by Google.

This means that if you build out a quality blog with great content but you’re using a .net, .org or a .co extension it will rank like any .com would.

The only difference is that a .com has that branding that no other extension can beat. When people think of visiting your website, they assume it’s a .com. When a domainer wants to buy domains, it’s always going to be the .com version.

With regards to SEO, you’re fine with a .co if you’re building out a blog. Yes, it would be better to have the .com but if you don’t have a choice then using a .co is fine. Just look at BoingBoing.net, they are massive entertainment website and they use the .net extension.

Reputation for each extension

In combination with SEO is trust and reputation. The .com is the legacy extension and it’s the one everyone wants and that will not change anytime soon. It has a good reputation and people trust websites that use a.com extension. No one who is using a .com is wishing they has some alternative extension. When you’re website is .com, you’re set and happy.

The .co extension is also trustworthy as well. Due in part to it’s high price point, the only organizations, bloggers, content creators and so forth who build a website using the .co only do so because they want to build a website. As such, .co websites are professionally designed and taken care of. Unlike .info by contrast which is cheap and often used for spam purposes.

The only downside is that having an alternative extension, you’ll always be wishing you had the .com. But with regard to trust, reputation and SEO a .co works just fine.

Do .co domain name rank well?

Yes a .co is considered the same as a .com, .net or a .org. That means your website can rank and get search traffic. Please note that SEO is complex and there are numerous factors that go into rankings. The extension is one small aspect and no where near as important as it used to be.

If you can build a quality website, where you’re creating content people actually want you’ll do fine using a .co domain name. I do suspect though that a .com with the same content and link profile as a .co will perform a better than a .co, but I’ve not actually seen any hard evidence of that.

Most website owners who has a .co and switched to a .com did not noticed a dramatic increase or difference in their search engine performance. Again. it’s more for branding and simply wanting that gold standard of domain extensions that is a .com.

8 Popular .co websites

The .co domain extension is quite popular and their are numerous websites that perform very well. We know that bloggers and content creators worry is getting a .co is not as good as having a .com but here are some popular .co website that demonstrate a .co is a good choice:

From blogs, business and various web services, the .co extension is used in much the same way as a .com.

.co vs com conclusion

So which one is best? The .com is obviously the best. It’s the legacy extension, it’s the one everyone associates with the internet and it has a lower price point. But you already know that. You’re here because the .com you want is taken and you want to know if getting a .co is any good.

A .co is a great alternative to a .com. It’s a more fun and modern extension when compared to getting a .net or a .org. While it does not have the familiarity of a .com, a .co is more expensive so websites that use a .co tend to be well developed which helps build trust for this extension.

Remember, your end visitor is simply not going to care that much if your personal finance blog is using a .co or .com, neither does Google. What matters is building out a helpful, authoritative website.

Last, before registering a .co make sure the .com you want is taken by a domainer. You can’t simply copy the domain name of another website but use a different extension. That’s copyright infringement.

David Utke

David Utke is a professional blogger, YouTuber and a highly rated user experience consultant. He and his team create helpful tutorials, software reviews, videos and more based on real-world experience. Join over 30,000 monthly readers and 20k+ YouTube subscribers!

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