Hudson, FL, July 30, 2013 – ASEOHosting, a leading provider of SEO hosting and multiple IP hosting, commented today on the confusion surrounding the use of country code top-level domains for international SEO. SEO experts at the company observed a number of misunderstandings surrounding best practices for the use of ccTLDs and have released a statement to clarify the advantages that they can bring to businesses targeting specific geographical locations with their international search engine optimization.
Much of the confusion in regard to choosing TLDs surrounds the use of country code TLDs such as .me , .co, and .tv, which denote Montenegro, Colombia, and Tuvalu, respectively, and are useful for so-called domain hacking – forming words that include the TLD – or signifying the nature of a site (i.e., a site associated with television). It is often thought risky to use those domains because of the suspicion that they will not rank well in international markets and, therefore, will reduce the chance of ranking in countries outside of the denoted territories.
“As a hosting company that specializes in international SEO hosting, we get a lot of questions about how country code TLDs impact search results for international brands,” commented ASEOHosting’s Vice President of Customer Relations, Daniel Page, “Domain hacking is fashionable and the scarcity of short .com domains is encouraging experimentation with different TLDs, but companies are concerned that they will be disadvantaged in the SERPs if they choose a non-generic TLD. ”
The effectiveness of search engines like Google is measured in terms of their ability to return relevant links in response to queries. They use a large number of different signals to discover relevance. Geographic location, determined through a variety of factors, is one of the more important properties of web pages that search engines use to rank relevant content. Among the signals used are ccTLDs and geolocation of IP addresses.
A site that uses a country code TLD sends a strong signal to the search engines that the content it carries should be considered relevant to the geographic area indicated by that TLD. For example, the .jp TLD, which is associated with Japan, is more likely to be well ranked in Japan than a similar site that uses a .de TLD, which is associated with Germany.
In addition to country-code TLDs, sites can also choose to use generic top-level domains, such as .com. These domains have no specific advantage with regard to ranking in a particular territory, but nor do they have any disadvantage.
Google and other search engines are well aware of the use-patterns associated with ccTLDs that are widely used internationally and treat them as though they were generic. Country code top-level domains that are widely used will not have a negative impact on SEO for those seeking to rank outside of those countries.
Google recognizes that such domain names are not usually intended to signal content relevant to a specific country, particularly if those sites are served from IP addresses in a different country. Site owners are free to use such domains without worrying about there being a negative impact on SEO.
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