.net vs .com SEO Value
In the 1990s, Microsoft developed the .net domain space to encourage people and businesses to migrate away from the .com space. The idea was that companies would eventually move all of their web presence over to a .net address, leaving only individuals with a free .com account. With the proliferation of Blogging in 2001, businesses started putting content on blogs rather than dedicated websites, which made the intention behind the creation of .net even more absurd.
So why is this still an issue for website owners today? Businesses mistakenly view .com domains as superior and will pay more money because they view it as a long-term investment. This may be true if you are going into business and building your brand one day at a time; however, it is not necessary any longer. It's like paying extra for a premium highway to get out of town and realize no traffic on the back roads. You will save time and money if you go the less-traveled route.
Most people prefer to be associated with .com mainly because they are familiar with it through e-mail or retail sites such as Amazon, Best Buy, or Target that only have a .com presence. It's not about quality, and it's not about marketability; it's simply because people know how to find it and are comfortable using it to navigate the webspace. The most significant difference between .com vs. .net is that one has an established history behind them, while Microsoft created the other to compete.
Value of .net and .com
Like any other marketing campaign, your primary goal should be to get your website in front of as many eyes as possible. This is a prime example of where the debate between .com and .net will rage on for years to come because people swear by one or the other.
What type of traffic do you want? If you already know that, then it's easy, but if not, you need to determine what kind of site will generate the most leads based on its subject matter and audience. Here is my brief comparison: Overall industry - e-commerce vs. .com In an effort not to sound biased, I am going to try hard here: For general websites, which can be anything from business-related sites (e.g., law firms) to informational sites (e.g., Wikipedia) and even social media sites (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.), a .com TLD will generate the most traffic. I have also found that Google tends to favor .com websites over .net ones in search engine rankings.
How do you explain this? Well, for one thing, there are so many more registered domains under .com than any other domain extension that they are forced to rank based on the quality of content by default because there is just so much garbage out there. Just for some perspective:
With millions of businesses trying to attract people's attention in a crowded online space with no shortage of information being disseminated, both good and bad, it makes to write about the above.
Does the extension play any Role in Ranking?
The short answer is no, but the long answer is yes: ranking higher than your competitors in search engine rankings. Microsoft created a .net extension that has been around for over 20 years and has accumulated many links. This won't help you get ranked above any other website on Google's first page unless they are penalized, or there is some other reason they have been removed from search; however, it will give you an extra boost in the right direction (e.g., within the top 10 results).
If I bought a domain like "cloudcomputingpro.net," would Google see that site as more desirable? You could purchase a domain name and receive links and authority of that site. This will boost your website in Google rankings, but many other factors will determine where you rank within the results page between the search terms "cloud computing" and "cloud computing pro." In essence, all you did was establish a new root domain for your business that could potentially bring more traffic to your website overall; however, no one will put weight on it if you don't have quality content. So now we already know .net domains are less desirable than their counterparts because they haven't been around as long with a lesser market share, so why would anyone invest money into such an extension? First off, let's backtrack a bit and say some of these newer extensions were not always considered worthless; some people still invest in them for specific reasons like the ones listed below.
What is a .net domain used for? If you don't already know, then I am sure you can speculate: While many categories can be attached to this, such as real estate, tax, and consulting, it will mainly be used by people who want to buy up all the domains with keywords they think will be popular down the road. So if I wanted to purchase webdevelopmentpro.net because I saw that term being searched a lot on Google, then more than likely, this will bring me traffic in four months or so when it is white-hat (safe) to use terms like this online. Why would Google even allow these types of websites? The answer is simple: because they don't know which ones are being purchased to gain traffic, and intentionally try to mislead people. I would say it's more than safe to assume that almost all .net websites fall in this category, but there could be one odd exception now and again.
How many links? There isn't a set number as far as what will bring you higher rankings on Google than your competitors with similar content, but some studies have been done that place the number at around 300 links (Google PageRank fiver). Suppose someone decides to purchase a domain extension like ".webdevelopmentpro" to rank better within search engine rankings for web development. In that case, they can receive backlinks from forum comments (which is free), blog comments (free), and links from web development sites (paid). While there are many other ways to generate links, these three methods are generally the cheapest and fastest ways to do so.
If you are starting a new business now and only have the funds to purchase one domain, I recommend buying a .com (.net will only work if you have business development experience). If you decide to buy a .com domain and later on want a .net version of your website, you will have to start from scratch unless the links currently point at the old site forward to your new one.
What do I need? There is no magical number here; it depends on how much money you invest in SEO (search engine optimization) or PPC (pay per click) search results through Google, Yahoo & Bing. You will also need good content that will attract people looking for your products/services. There are other factors involved, but you won't make any sales, and when someone lands on your website, they won't like what they see.
This is essentially the same as any other business, but you need to make sure your website is not only easy for people to navigate, but it's something worth visiting in the first place. Also, keep this in mind: if you have a high-quality enough site, you can put up a pay wall and collect money each time someone visits your site; however, this will only work if the website is that good.