For the second year in a row, we are analyzing MOZ’s 500 most popular websites based on Domain Authority, a link-based metric that models how Google ranks websites.
Rand Fishkin and Gillian Muessig founded MOZ in 2004. It was called SEOmoz and began as a blog and an online community where some of the world’s first SEO experts shared their research and ideas.
After seeing the demand, the company moved its focus from consulting to software and reached an impressive 5,000 subscribers by 2009. After several successful funding rounds, SEOmoz rebranded to simply MOZ in 2013. The rebrand was accompanied by the release of Moz Analytics, a suite of campaign-based tools that included features for content, social media, and brand management, in addition to links and rankings.
Since the rebrand, the company has expanded into inbound marketing, acquired several companies, and added new services and offerings, establishing itself as a global market leader.
If you wonder, where does the name “Moz” comes from, here’s what founder Rand Fishkin has to say about it.
Moz, formerly SEOmoz, has a name that was inspired by organizations like DMOZ, Mozilla, and Chefmoz — all companies that strove for engaging their communities with openness and integrity. From the very beginning, we felt passionately about bringing that same integrity to the frustratingly opaque SEO industry.
Rand Fishkin, Founder at Moz
MOZ’s annual top 500 list of the world’s most popular websites is based on Domain Authority, a link-based metric that models how Google ranks websites. Each site is ranked based on the number of other websites that link to it and its Domain Authority score.
Some of the most well-known brands, like Google and Amazon, appear several times with different domain extensions or sub domains. Owning multiple domain names may help with search engine optimization. It can also funnel visitors to your primary domain name and seal any potential email or traffic leaks, as well as help international brands create trust with their local audience.
The interesting thing about this year’s chart is that 81% of the companies use .com extension domain names, a nearly 20% increase over last year. (405 out of 500 companies operate on .com).
19 companies operate on .org. The. org extension was created for charities or nonprofit organizations to provide valuable information for a specific purpose, but it’s open for anyone to use.
11 entries are using .gov extension domains. The domain extension .gov is derived from the word government, indicating that government entities can only use it. The TLD is managed by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), a branch of the Department of Homeland Security in the United States. Despite being “originally intended for any kind of government office or agency,” only government organizations based in the United States are permitted to register .gov domain names due to the Internet’s origins as a U.S. government-sponsored research network.
Other countries typically delegate a second-level domain for government operations on their country-code top-level domain (ccTLD); for example, the Government of the United Kingdom’s domain is.gov.uk.
10 entries operate on the .edu extension. “Edu” is an abbreviation for “education,” as it was created for educational and academic institutions in the United States, such as universities, colleges, and research institutions. Accredited degree-granting institutions of higher learning can only register a .edu domain. EduCause manages the registration and administration of .edu domains.
The “.ac” as a second level (like ac.cn, ac.ma, ac.nz), short for “academia,” is a popular alternative to .edu that is widely used in the United States and globally. This second-level domain should not be confused with the local top-level domain .ac.
Exact brand match domains are preferred by the same number of companies that operate on .com, approximately 80%, with a slight difference of only four names.