The .cat domain ranks better than .com or .es
A few months ago, we asked the SEO consulting firm Human Level to help us determine if the .cat domain helped improve search engine rankings. To find out, they proposed conducting a SEO experiment.
Ten domains were registered with three different domain extensions and hosted on the same CDN server. Each domain was registered with .cat, .es, and .com. The names chosen for these domains were unique (never registered before) and semantically neutral.
Once the domains were chosen, all websites were created using an identical WordPress installation with the default template. No content was added that was not included in the template. Only minimal links to the domain’s own content pages were included.
These steps helped neutralize some of the factors that could alter the experiment’s results:
- Eliminating geolocation.
- Neutralizing the possible influence of a domain’s age or popularity.
- Avoiding CMS and content differences.
With the creation of these websites, several scenarios were worked out to determine how Google positioned the content based on the domain extension (.cat, .es, and .com in this case).
The experiment yielded the following conclusions:
- Starting with semantically neutral content, pages on .cat domains ranked comparatively better than pages on .es and .com domains, occupying the first position in 60% of control searches during the experiment.
- Pages on .cat domains were comparatively better indexed (66%) than pages on .es (55%) and .com (57%) domains.
- Pages on .cat domains ranked better regardless of language value or search geolocation.
- We could not identify a decisive correlation between the language and geolocation of the search and the differential positioning of the different domain extensions.