But Google doesn't treat them with the same trust and respect as .com, .net or .org IMO, despite reports they have given them TLD status. They seem to be treated more like .info, etc. In my experience it is harder to rank them without acquiring authoritative inbound links.
I think that's worth pointing out after one of my hosting providers convinced me that they were treated as TLDs. Cost me a bit, that did ;-)
@Warhammer. I don't dispute that they said that and that's why I invested in a few of them. I just choose not to believe it's quite that cut and dried based on what I've seen so far in my niches. The results I've seen from releasing new sites within the network of sites I manage indicate more of a similarity between .info and .co. Just my own opinion. Pretty sure if I released widgetbank.com alongside widgetbank.co, with no outside influences, the .com would outrank the .co from the start.
I also think there are differences - but I think they are differences in cultural and societal perception, rather than a difference in direct scoring in Google's code. Still, those cultural differences do exist - and they influence linking, development, marketing and even typing habits. Google search results then mirror those differences.
Some very big enterprises are sticking their toes in the .co water right now. Overstock.co, for example, invested six figures in o.co - but at least for now, their .co domain only 301 redirects and they are merely marketing it as a "shortcut".
Though .co domains are still new, they can challenge a .com anytime. The only difference between them in Google's eyes is the content and backlinks. Obviously most .co domains, being only 6 months old, still have much less backlinks than old .coms, that's why so far you've seen many .coms outrank equivalent .cos. Anyway, in some cases you can already see the opposite situation, with co in a higher position. For example, search for BMR [google.com]. Another example is the popular singer Charlotte Church [google.com] (in this case .com and .net aren't even present, .org is on second page).
Hello warhammer, and welcome to the forums. As a general rule we don't discuss specific search terms here - but in this case your examples are helpful to the discussion so they are certainly OK. I particularly appreciate the Charlotte Church example. You also have a good point about that six month age barrier.
I know I've run into other .co domains ranking even on generic, non-branded search terms, but I can't recall them right now. I should start a list so the next time this question comes up I've got some examples to share.
As touched upon already, non .co domains have been around a lot longer than .co equivalents which google may find as more trustworthy (the domains are older), as well as the fact they've had a longer time to grow their backlink profile. Could be easy to assume that .co or any other new TLD doesn't weight the same as .com
I don't think trust is assigned to any TLD on its own. It's the individual websites and businesses that use them that are scored.
That goes for any TLD. Take .edu for instance. The .edu extension is NOT an automatic trust signal. There are legacy .edu websites purchased before Educause firmed up the ownership requirements. Those domain name owners are grandfathered in, but some of them operate very low trust websites. A certain number of them also try to sell text links, however those links do nothing but deceive the customer.
Even .gov and .int websites are still scored by their specific trust and authority factors in practice, rather than taking the shortcut of assigning brownie points because of the TLD. It's just that .gov and .int sites are tightly run and they do generate strong trust signals.
So it's really up to the site owner. Use a .co domain well and there's no technical obstruction to ranking well.
@Warhammer. I wasn't suggesting that a .co couldn't outrank a .com. Far from it - anything can outrank anything under the right conditions. I just think it's harder - the reasons as to why that should be are interesting but irrelevant to that conclusion.
@Sgt_Kickaxe. Absolutely agree but the question mark was over .com parity.