July 31, 2013
With availability of choice .COM and even to a degree .COM.AU names decreasing; some registrants are choosing alternative country code Top Level Domain extensions. Google's Matt Cutts cautions on the practice.
In the video below; Mr. Cutts - a software engineer at the search giant and also head of its web spam team - recommends being careful if selecting a ccTLD for a domain name; particularly if the site's topic is about a region that isn't covered by that extension.
Many ccTLD's are strongly associated with a particular geographic area by Google; so a site outside the region using one of these extensions may suffer in Google's search rankings viewed by searchers outside that location.
However, Google treats some extensions as "geo-targetable"; meaning in Google Webmaster Tools, the site owner can flag with Google that their domain is associated with a particular region, such as Australia. These "geo-targetable" extensions include:
One of the reasons people may gravitate towards extensions other than the above or .com.au in the case of Australians is to secure a "keyword" domain - i.e. a name closely related to the topic, product or service the site is about.
While keyword domain names had some search engine optimization advantages in the past; that has been changing after Google listened to feedback suggesting it favoured these names too much - so the sky is now the limit (within reason) when choosing a domain name in the .com or .com.au space; freeing people to become more creative in name selection.
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