Infographic: Domain Strategy and International SEO

domain strategy international seo

Is a .COM domain really the best choice for international targeting? Can a local TLD rank as well abroad as at home? Can a domain rank well internationally even when we don’t use ccTLDs?

First, decide on which category your business belongs to.

Choosing Domain Names for International SEO

Local Business

  • Consider a single local TLD if your global customers use local keywords to find you. For example “universities in Munich” or “Chinese restaurants in Paris”.
  • You can use different /subfolders/ for multilingual content.

Global Business with Local Branches

  • If you have a local rather than global approach, use ccTLDs. Typically, a local approach may be applied when you deliver goods to local customers or deal with local issues.
  • If your customers find you using local keywords, use ccTLDs: e.g. “car service in Prague”.
  • If you want to build a strong global brand and website, use a single gTLD (like .com, .org, .net etc.) with /subfolders/.
  • You could always go with a combined strategy: ccTLDs for strategic markets and a gTLD with subfolders.
  • You could even use a common ccTLD for same-language markets: e.g. a single .DE domain for Germany, Austria and Switzerland with /country-subfolders/.

Online Global Business

  • Go with local ccTLDs only if your offer differs significantly from market to market.
  • In all other cases, use a gTLD with /subfolders/.
  • You could use separate ccTLDs for specific or distant markets like China.

To Sum Up…

Running multiple ccTLDs takes more time and effort, while the results on a local scale are usually better. On the other hand, running a single TLD (whether a ccTLD for a local business or a gTLD) and using subfolders helps build a strong global website. If you use all geo-signals properly, the subfolders may still rank very well locally.

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Martin Kůra

Martin a.k.a. @HermanTinkura helps international and local companies enter new markets by creating a vast multi-cultural SEO strategy. Martin writes for SEMrush and likes to explore different cultures of the world, which is his favorite part of his work.

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