I get asked about domains a lot, and what impact it will have in terms of SEO.
The classic SEO response is: it depends.
I always recommend a ccTLD (country code Top Level Domain) ALONG WITH a .com
Because a ccTLD is a strong signal for location relevance.
yourdomain.co.uk? Clearly targeting the UK
mywebsite.ae? Livin’ it up in the UAE
onlinestore.me? Monte Negro (NOT Middle East as many seem to think!)
If you’re searching in Google and see a .com, you have no idea which country that website serves.
With a ccTLD, this problem is solved. Because why else would you use a ccTLD if you’re not targeting people in that location?
There will be exceptions with people using ccTLDs in cases where it’s for the LOLZ or relevant to their name or brand. But that is what they are: exceptions.
Now why do I also recommend a .com? Because it’s just so common.
And it’s also cheap. And you don’t want someone else snapping it up, sitting on it then charging you a hefty ransom.
ALSO, it gives you room to expand internationally should you choose to do so.
mydomain.com/en-ae (English, UAE)
mydomain.com/en-nz (English, New Zealand)
mydomain.com/ar-bh (Arabic, Bahrain)
Sometimes it’s just easier having one domain and one website and using this to operate in multiple countries and offer your site in multiple languages.
This is especially useful if you’re unable to secure the ccTLD for your brand in some countries.
I recommend you do this:
- secure the .com of your brand
- secure the main ccTLDs relevant for your brand
- look at other domain options that may be relevant (.org, .net…)
Domains are, for the most part, affordable to register.
Even if it costs you $100, you can bet it would be a lot cheaper than if you had to pay a ransom to get your domain from a squatter who would happily add a lot more 0s to the end of that price tag.
And look, if you’re really not sure what to do, just get a .com and run with that.
As long as your on-page SEO is solid and you’re not out in the wilderness procuring links from sketchy sources, you’re good.