SEO: domain extensions and the geo-location

SEO: domain extensions and the geo-location

The domain extension has an influence on the display of search results in search engines that should not be underestimated. Thus, domain endings are divided into four categories by Google:

  1. gTLDs – domains used globally
  2. regional gTLDS – domains used in larger regions
  3. ccTLDs – domains restricted to countries
  4. gccTLDs – gccTLDs that are exceptionally treated like gTLDs

Note: g here stands for global and cc for country code

gTLDs like .com, .net, .org or .info are used worldwide and therefore offer a neutral display in the search results. Regional gTLDS are extensions such as .eu or .asia, which are used in larger regions. Search results for these domains are displayed “more easily” to users within the regions. ccTLDs are limited to one country such as .de, .ch or .at, here the results in the search engine are primarily displayed to users from the matching regions.

While with gTLDs the geographical target group can be determined over the Meta data, this is not possible with ccTLDs. Thus, a .com domain (gTLD) can specify via the meta information that users from Germany are the primary target group of the website. With a .fr domain (ccTLD) this is not possible.

Some ccTLDs are treated by Google like gTLDs, because these domains are used globally, for example .me, .co or .io.

Accordingly, an internationalization is most easily possible with a gTLD or a gccTLD. Because here contents can be tailored later to the respective country target group.

Personally, I was quite satisfied with the ranking of in Germany during the last years. However, since I receive an increasing share of international visitors, I will switch to the gccTLD “.io” and thus in the near future to facilitate the findability of my English-language content.

Such a change from a ccTLD to a gTLD is possible without any problems. You just have to make sure that Google and other search engines are informed about the move via correct redirects and separate notifications. Also I recommend to wait with a move at least 30 days, if the gTLD was just “freshly” registered. This is because some DNS resolvers block newly registered domains from their users for security reasons.

You need help with your internationalization strategy or want to change the domain extension? I am happy to help you at reasonable hourly rates and can be reached conveniently via my contact form.

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