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How to Google More Effectively

Domain names, site searches, & country internet codes are just a few of the things we cover to help improve your searches.

Understanding the URL

The URL for a site can tell us a great deal about the kind of information we will find there.

All URLs have a domain name and an extension.

The domain name is, in most instances, the name of the website itself, the organization hosting the site, or its abbreviation. The extension tells you what type of organization the website is. Put together this would look like https://www.domainname.extension.

Let's look at a few real websites and break down their URLs.

Common Website Extensions

The extension of a website is the text immediately following the . after the domain name (http://www.domaninname.extension).

.com An abbreviation for commercial. .com sites have profit as their primary aim. They are usually selling or entertaining. This does not mean they are inherently untrustworthy, though, only that we must verify their information through other sources.
.edu An abbreviation for education. .edu sites are used by schools from kindergarten through 4-year universities. They are usually informing.
.gov An abbreviation for government.  .gov sites are local, state, or federal government websites. It is important to note lobbying or candidate websites cannot be .gov, and many .gov sites host major research organizations (like NASA, NOAA, the CDC, National Institutes of Health, etc.) Their purpose is also usually to inform.
.org An abbreviation for organization. .org sites are almost always nonprofit organizations (such as, or Their purpose is usually to influence or advocate. Nonprofits can include science-based organizations like the American Cancer Society, but can also be lobbying organizations like the National Rifle Association. Be careful to look for biases when using a .org site.

To cite this LibGuide use the following templates:

APA: Northern Essex Community College Library. (Date updated). Title of page. Title of LibGuide. URL

MLA: Northern Essex Community College Library. "Title of Page." Title of LibGuide, Date updated, URL.