If you are trying to get new clients, get people to subscribe to your newsletter or inform people around you about your products and services; the internet has so many ways of helping you achieve those goals.

There has been a recent addition of several new generic top-level domain extensions and this has received serious attention from the business and marketing world. Gone are the days of the simple gTLD extension suffixes like .COM and .ORG; now businesses have the option of buying industry and geospecific extensions for their domain name.

Just some years ago there were only 22 generic top-level domain extensions available on the internet until the organisation in charge of the Internet’s domain system, ICANN increased the number of available gTLDs to almost 500 and about 900 more yet to be released.

Although these gTLDs are many, not all of them are relevant to brands or businesses. gTLD extensions are created for different functions and are specific. Some, such as industry-specific and geospecific are relevant to branding and marketing.

However, for the sake of this article, we’ll explore more about geospecific gTLD extensions and the role they play in your domain name.

Country code domains are geospecific gTLD extensions which can be used to target specific countries or geographic locations. They are mostly available to be registered by everyone on the condition that they must reside or work in these specific locations.

ccTLDs, which is an acronym for Country Code Top Level Domains, are a type of domain extensions which represent specific countries, like .NZ for New Zealand and .DE for Germany. Although most ccTLDs can only be used by those who are resident or work in that particular location, many of them can be registered by anyone.

If you have a website with a top level domain name like .NET and are looking for visitors from different countries, then you should consider using a ccTLD extension. It also enables those with a big audience who require multiple sites to specifically design their websites for different countries. If you are creating a website for your local business, you should also consider using ccTLD.
Some of the reasons why you consider a ccTLD domain name include:

Improved SEO Ranking

You have most likely heard of search engine optimisation in which search engines like Google utilise local IP addresses to produce web page results in local searches. This means that having a ccTLD extension in your domain name increases the chances of your page showing up in local search results.

In a publication by Google which involved FAQs about how they handle top-level domains, it was confirmed that having a geospecific extension on a domain increases the chances of that page getting displayed in search results.

According to them, Google treats all TLDs equally in the way it ranks websites. However, when you use a geo-specific TLDs for your website, Google defaults to that specific country in its search results to web user’s search queries on its platform.

The fact that these TLDs would have the same weight as a .COM or .ORG is a huge advantage. The same geo-targeting and configuration are required and these have nothing to do with the crawling, indexing and ranking of the URLs.

It was even confirmed that region-specific TLDs would be treated like generic top-level domains except in cases where there will be minor exceptions.

Therefore, a search conducted in New Zealand will display results that rank .NZ websites first before other websites, and this is particularly so if you also focus on SEO NZ. This confirms that pages with geospecific extensions will be shown first before those with regular gTLDs. This is why you must ensure that you make your top-level domain geospecific and not just put your location on your second level domain and the website name and expect it to work.

If you are using a generic level domain name like .com or .org, Google will be unaware that you are targeting for a specific location despite the fact that it is in your website name. A ccTLD is the clearest indication to Google that a website is targeting a specific area or country; it is even better than using a server location or domain name to target the area.

Google’s International Targeting Report allows users to choose a country that should be prioritised from your search results. This would even increase your conversion rates as more users are likely to visit your page when it ranks high in search engine results and is within their locality.

Enables The Use Of Domain Names In International Languages

The fact that internationalised domain names can be written in different languages such as Arabic, Russian and Chinese and is completely unrestricted to a few languages is a huge plus. This means that search engine results can be further optimised by targeting the audience in their native language. This would help you improve your site’s ranking through the use of the best keywords that are closest to the words users search with.

You must understand that content is everything when you decide to use internationalised domain names. This is why you must ensure that everything the users can see; from Meta tags to content descriptions should be written in the user’s language to help them understand.

In a case where you are translating the same content into multiple languages, it is more advisable to employ the services of human translators as opposed to automated translation tools. Automated tools for translations are never completely correct and might not be able to understand colloquialism in the language. The last thing you want to do is confuse your users as they are less likely to revisit your page if they find it challenging to understand you.

Utilises Generic ccTLDs For Better Results

Generic ccTLDs, which are also referred to as open TLDs, are country code domains that are referred to as generic because of their branding and how they are used. Google treats generic top-level domains the same way they treat other top-level domains when it comes to crawling, indexing, ranking and SEO. Some generic ccTLDs can also be used in creating domain hacks and abbreviations, so Google made a list of them. The list of these generic ccTLDs is updated from time to time, so it is wise to do a proper check before registering. Some of these generic ccTLDs include:

  • .CO which targets Colombia is used in place of .COM
  • A lot of consulting companies use .CC which targets Coco’s Island.
  • Most organizations in the television industry use .TV which targets Tuvalu.
  • .FM (Federated States of Micronesia) and .AM (Armenia) are mostly used by music, radio and social media enterprises.
  • Organisations in music and radio, as well as social media firms use .AM and .FM which target Armenia and the Federated States of Micronesia respectively.

.EU and .ASIA which happen to be regional extensions are also considered as generic ccTLDs.

Allows Creation Of Domain Hacks

When you use a domain name in conjunction with a domain extension to create a call to action, word or phrase; what you have done is create a domain hack. A domain hack is created by using a domain name and a domain extension to create a word, phrase or call to action. Only generic ccTLDs like .CO, .TV, .FM can be passed off as domain hacks. You have to ensure that unless you might find yourself targeting one country.

Be sure to test run the domain hack you create before publishing the site as this could result in a dreadful mix-up in the ranking process. If your domain name is MELANIN for instance and you create the domain hack MELAN.IN, you would be targeting India which becomes a huge mistake if your business is in New Zealand.

Allows Locals To Choose You

From the first visit to your .NZ website, a user is aware of the language your business operates in and the acceptable currency. They also know that your business is local and that you operate in the same time zone in case they have inquiries. If you have a brick and mortar store they can find you with GPS location features and know when you are open. They would be more inspired to patronise you when they know that they can easily access your business. Automatically, conversion rates would increase when local users know that you are a local business.

Having a generic top-level domain website which has a high ranking in searches worldwide but has no conversion rates makes no sense. There is no point in users visiting your page but not spending, which is what most of them do when they realise that you are not a local business. Pages with high bounce rates lose their page rankings with Google.

Enables Strategic Building Of Links

Every ccTLD website must have its own strategic way of building links. This makes it simpler for such sites to get listed in their local directories and even be linked in other local business sites if the site is a local site. Page authority built up on one ccTLD website will not be shown on another ccTLD website; this allows search engines to see both websites as separate. Page or domain authority is a summary of so many factors that determine how high your website ranks in search engine results.

In conclusion, try not to focus only on geospecific extensions but also on other extensions that can serve different purposes for your site.