Live and Learn - My big SEO mistake

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This is a small lesson to anyone remotely thinking about saving a few bucks on their domain by getting anything but a .com, .net or .org.

I chose to buy my domain as a .us thinking that having a .us domain extension would be nifty looking rather than every piece of advice telling me otherwise for SEO purposes. I threw about 100 pr3+ links at my main keyword on this site and never even ranked in top 500. I thought my page wasnt optimized or that I missed a very serious step somewhere but nothing seemed to work. Keep in mind that I waited a patient 5 months to show up for my keyword. No hastiness on my part, but zero result means something.

On a whim i bought a similar domain under .net and began with about 5 links. Same looking site with a gradual addition of content and the five initial backlinks. A handful of links are nothing for a long term link strategy yet I rank about 100 or so for my main keyword. This keyword has no words associated with my url (I am rank page 3 for my url keyword) and this has all occurred within the past 4 days.

From this I see that google at least favors .net over .us. Was this easily avoided? Yes. Should I have listened to the very courteous and obvious advice on the warrior forum and elsewhere? Yes, again. Just one tiny mistake jeopardized my entire SEO campaign. Live and learn.
#big #learn #live #mistake #seo
  • Profile picture of the author thomarv29
    Dave Ramsey would call that stupid tax lol, thanks for your experience and sharing with us. I think its good for newbies to hear stories like yours to help them not make the same mistakes. Thanks
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  • Profile picture of the author McBrett
    @heavysm - I've never tested .us or .info websites personally out of fear of this happening to me as well.

    Another reason I try to stick to .com's whenever possible is because people are so used to typing in .com instead of .biz. It's a lot harder for people to remember. Often times I think people just stop listening at the yourwebsite dot......
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  • Profile picture of the author InitialEffort
    TLD shouldn't matter as far as SEO goes, assuming you wanted US traffic. .com, .net, .org, info, it doesn't make a difference.
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    • Profile picture of the author McBrett
      @InitialEffort - I've heard rumors/read blog posts that .biz or .info type of extensions incur more of a sand box type penalty early on because there is a higher propensity for spam associated with the domains.

      Eventually, of course, if you build up enough backlinks and authority that sandbox effect is removed.

      Like I said though, I've never actually built up these other extensions myself so I can only speak from what I've read.
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      • Profile picture of the author heavysm
        I just know I treated the .us site I had and my current .net equally in regards to its its layout and backlinks/promotion. Its just readily apparent now that I am getting serp results, albeit small results since the site is so new, with the .net rather than the .us. I made sure that there were no other changes to my site other than the extension.

        People can argue either way that the url extension doesnt matter but I see a definite and pleasing difference with .net rather than the .us. It is what it is.
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  • Profile picture of the author InitialEffort
    Hi other Minnesotan, what I've found is that Google Sandboxes your site when you build low quality links too quickly and it doesn't matter on the TLD. Sometimes they will sandbox just a page for a given keyword as well.

    This is very different than the Google dance which almost always results in your site moving to a higher SERP.
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  • Profile picture of the author McBrett
    @InitialEffort Go Minnesota... You live in the Twin Cities area? You should check out the monthly warrior forum meet up here. It's pretty sweet.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jordan Kovats
    Now that I think about it, I don't think I have ever...and I mean EVER seen a .us show up in search rankings for anything. Why do they even sell them?
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  • Profile picture of the author abnation
    Has nothing to do with TLD. I've got dozens of cheap .info sites ranking fairly high. Your mistake was not building enough backlinks, sustaining link velocity and sustaining overall link count.
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    • Profile picture of the author heavysm
      My links were all manually created on pr1-5 sites. I was very consistent with how I created them and kept this up for 5 straight months. It isn't good enough for someone to tell me that my links were not enough. What if my new site ranked for my given keywords without the initial backlinks i made to it. They weren't that much to begin with but I honestly did not check prior to creating the links so I cannot say. But there is something to be said about my site popping up in the way that it has with zero change to my strategy other than the .net change.

      I say nothing for .info, .biz or otherwise so please do not bring that up in this discussion. My results are simply for .us, and that's all i can personally vouch for.
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  • Profile picture of the author abnation
    .us is similar to .info and really TLDs have nothing to do with it whatsoever. Actually, TLDs only become important when you are looking to target locally. Apart from that Google is a numbers game, build backlinks and you'll appear in the rankings.

    That being said, how many links did you create on those PR1-PR5 sites? How many a week, for how long, to what extent, how did you create them (profile links, blog commenting, etc?). Were your sources diverse enough? How old is your new site? Does it have any backlinks created to that already?

    There are a lot of factors involved, but the main one is backlinks.
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  • Profile picture of the author pethanks
    Mistakes are great opportunity to improve. Thank you for sharing.
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  • Profile picture of the author thomasr
    I have seen .info sites rank and maybe .biz

    But any extension other than the bog 3 are just a way for the domain registry's to make more money
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  • Profile picture of the author lukemeister
    The reason nobody claims to see .us domains ranked is because in general it's not a very popular domain extension, therefore people don't use it nearly as much as others. That and all the ".us is bad for seo" hoopla. I've had no problem getting .us domains ranked. I'd show some examples if I wasn't so protective of my sites, but I can vouch for .us domains, they work just fine in my experience. Sorry to see that you had a tough time with it though
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  • Profile picture of the author NetWorth
    Lesson learned time to carry on!
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    • Profile picture of the author paulgl
      I'd say your biggest mistake was not reading the forum to realize what
      you thought was a big mistake had nothing to do with success or not.

      I don't know what you mean by this:
      Should I have listened to the very courteous and obvious advice on the warrior forum and elsewhere? Yes, again. Just one tiny mistake jeopardized my entire SEO campaign. Live and learn.
      Because that makes no sense. Nobody here would have ever told you that a dot
      net is favored by google over a dot us. That is, without getting a whole lot of flack.

      Your next step now is to get a dot com. That'll take you over the top for sure.

      Paul
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  • Profile picture of the author mayorlan
    A different view on this,maybe sometime is wrong somewhere and you haven't figure it out.Domain extension doesn't seems to mean most times,I have bunch of .info sites on google page 1 for many keywords,even outranking the so called authority sites and .com sites.Experience,they say is the best teacher,from what I have tried and tested,any extension can rank well.But its good,you have move on and that is the best thing to do in this type of situation when you can fathom what's wrong with your .Us site.
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  • Profile picture of the author mayorlan
    Best of luck with your new site.
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    Ever wonder why the big bloggers like Neil Patel,Chris Brogan,Derek Siver,Chris Guillebeau etc are making it big and you aren't? Here is why as 34 Top Bloggers Shares Their Greatest Success Secrets

    And This Is How To Pursue Your Dream When You Don't Have Money

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  • Profile picture of the author scott g
    Originally Posted by heavysm View Post

    This is a small lesson to anyone remotely thinking about saving a few bucks on their domain by getting anything but a .com, .net or .org.

    I chose to buy my domain as a .us thinking that having a .us domain extension would be nifty looking rather than every piece of advice telling me otherwise for SEO purposes. I threw about 100 pr3+ links at my main keyword on this site and never even ranked in top 500. I thought my page wasnt optimized or that I missed a very serious step somewhere but nothing seemed to work. Keep in mind that I waited a patient 5 months to show up for my keyword. No hastiness on my part, but zero result means something.

    On a whim i bought a similar domain under .net and began with about 5 links. Same looking site with a gradual addition of content and the five initial backlinks. A handful of links are nothing for a long term link strategy yet I rank about 100 or so for my main keyword. This keyword has no words associated with my url (I am rank page 3 for my url keyword) and this has all occurred within the past 4 days.

    From this I see that google at least favors .net over .us. Was this easily avoided? Yes. Should I have listened to the very courteous and obvious advice on the warrior forum and elsewhere? Yes, again. Just one tiny mistake jeopardized my entire SEO campaign. Live and learn.
    I've had the EXACT same experience with a samename.net trumping the older, more backlinked samename.info!!
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    scott g
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  • Profile picture of the author sachihawaii
    Under all circumstances, you should always choose a .com domain for a variety of reasons, not all SEO related. If you're advertising with print, radio, or TV, people are going to remember your domain name and will try to put a .com at the end, regardless of what it really is. So if your call to action is, "Log on Rabbit Dogs . net for your chance to win a free Spike Collar!" a couple minutes might pass before someone logs on, and they're going to say to themselves... "What was that domain name? Oh yeah, Rabbid Dogs . com." and of course they'll be wrong.

    Just like in sociology, the web is not equal, just like the world, based on perceptions. This rule applies mostly to businesses that do not rely on 100% web traffic for converting sales, but is a good rule to follow regardless. There's hundreds of thousands of websites out there that rank supremely high for competitive keywords that have zero keyword tags in their domain name. Yeah, you definitely have an advantage if you can land keywords in your .com address, but don't opt for a different suffix for the sake of keywords.

    My two cents.
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    • Profile picture of the author bgmacaw
      Originally Posted by sachihawaii View Post

      If you're advertising with print, radio, or TV, people are going to remember your domain name and will try to put a .com at the end, regardless of what it really is.
      I think we're are seeing a lot more .net domains being advertised in media these days. The problem is that domain speculators are sifting through the Yellow Pages and other business listings for major metro areas and buying up business name .com domains in the hopes of reselling them for $1000's. So, instead of paying off the domainers, some businesses are buying .net (or even .biz and .us) domains. And, as a result, more people are aware of these domain extensions than they were even a couple of years ago.
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  • Profile picture of the author SGdarling
    good post. thank you for sharing. I always intuitively liked .com domains and was feeling suspicious regarding other extentions.
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  • Profile picture of the author stevemack
    this is really an interesting information that you have shared and it means a lot for me with this post. thanks for your share experience.
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  • Profile picture of the author theentry
    I tried an info domain only once but it never ranked well, so using only .com and .net's.. and I think I have one .org..
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  • Profile picture of the author ann1986
    its also good that you have tested it yourself. Experience is the greatest teacher anyway. at least now you know
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