The recent launch of the .co top level domain is symptomatic of the difficult decisions facing brand owners when targeting their site to the right audience.
The .co domain sounds like it should be a universal domain for businesses looking to target customers worldwide, as if from the .com mould. It’s not, it’s actually the top level domain for Columbia and in time many expect it to have the same relevance as .com – although it remains to be seen how it will be adopted.
Since 1985, Brand owners have been able to select a top level domain that best suits their business, but often, little attention is paid to whether it suits their audience, or more importantly, how search engines will consider it as a ranking factor. Search engines use domains amongst other factors to assess how relevant a site may be for a particular region.
The most well known of TLDs, .com, is derived from commercial and the domain is applicable to all countries. As the internet grew, so did the number of TLDs available and now there are domain types for many countries (e.g. .co.uk, .de) and types of organisation. The proliferation of domain types does not make it easy for brand owners to choose which is the best fit for their intended audience and for search engine optimsation (SEO).
James Ryder, Account Director at PR agency Punch Communications, commented:
“Site owners should be careful in selecting a TLD. Generally, a site that is to target consumers worldwide should use .com and the development team should ensure that location specific content is served from a URL structure that represents its audience by using country codes like en-gb for UK targeted content. The benefit of these URLs is that they also tell search engines about a sites intended audience -making search placement for geographic terms much easier.”
“If a site is only for a specific country then a country level top level domain is the best option, for example .co.uk for the UK, and it simplifies the URL stucture. It’s not a lost cause if a site owner has made the wrong decision with a top level domain as there are plenty of onsite and offsite SEO techniques that can be used to help a site owner find their audience and the audience find them.”
SEO agency Punch Communications has developed a strong presence in the global search engines due to a focus on online PR activity allied with strong onsite SEO. That, combined with a team that have a great deal of social media experience and a core traditional PR background, represent the business’ overall proposition.
For more information please visit www.punchcomms.com or call +44 1858 411600.