As companies grow beyond their humble origins, a surprisingly common question is this: should we buy the .com domain to improve SEO?
Yet many of us feel a .com is best due to its popularity. I agree but have never been able to defend this with hard data. Perhaps you gain more direct traffic & brand authority?
Something doesn’t look right with a .net extension but trendy ones like .ai have modern appeal, especially with ChatGPT & other AI tools emerging. These are just as good as .com for the right business. (Even though .ai is also a country code TLD for Anguilla but rarely treated as such.)
The exception (of course) is a country code TLD like .ca. This helps when expanding internationally with local products & services, as Google may better geotarget the site’s page for that region. This especially helps when competing against your own established yet highly-similar pages from the dominant location, for both search engines & users.
If you do buy a .com domain, the redirect process can harm organic traffic for at least a few months, perhaps longer. In these circumstances as well, Google and other search engines seem to reevaluate pages in a major way, for better or worse!
However, a recent Yandex leak seems to confirm they at least weigh .com domains higher. So like many topics in SEO, there isn’t a crystal-clear answer!
In summary of the evidence and specific to Google though, the need for a .com extension to improve SEO is usually weaker versus maintaining what you already have.