Why Generic Top Level Domains (GLTDs) are important, specifically in terms of Search Ranking, SEO, & Target Market Engagement / Reach.
To expand the level of detail & info currently available in our Domain Name Dictionary, we are going to expand this project & dig into specific terminology and offer “real world” actionable information to help you make better informed brandable domain name investments.
If you have spent anytime trying to find or register a brandable domain name & found the pricing, options, as well as mixed SEO & marketing info confusing – you are not alone.
With so many options, extensions (.com, .net, etc.), & conflicting SEO info out there, in can be hard to filter out the noise. So let’s get our info from the source & make it clear.
What are Generic top-level domains, why does it matter, & are there pros or concerns you need to be aware of?
Generic top-level domains (gTLDs) are domains that aren’t associated with specific locations. If your site has a generic top-level domain such as .com, .org, or any of the domains listed below, and wants to target users in a particular geographic location, you should explicitly set a country target using one of the methods described previously. https://www.iana.org/domains/root/db
per Google; “the following as gTLDs that can be geo targeted in Search Console:
- Generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs): Unless a top level domain is registered as a country code top level domain (ccTLD) with ICANN, Google will treat any TLD that resolves through the IANA DNS root zone as a gTLD. Examples:
- + many more (link above)
- Generic regional top-level domains: Although these domains are associated with a geographical region, they are generally treated as generic top-level domains (much like .com or .org):
- Generic Country Code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs): Google treats some ccTLDs (such as .tv, .me, etc.) as gTLDs, as we’ve found that users and webmasters frequently see these more generic than country-targeted. Here is a list of those ccTLDs (this list may change).
“Link to full Google Search Console, Help Center, article & detail above: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/182192#generic-domains
In our next Brandable Domain Name Dictionary update we will dig deeper into ccTLDs & will be referencing the parts of the following article: What are ccTLDs? MOZ learning center. We will be delivering a detailed, business relevant, breakdown of ccTLDs shortly – you will find the Moz article to have a ton of technical detail, that you may not want to deal with.
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As MOZ points out in their article, Google has recognized that some ccTLDs are far more widely used as Generic top-level Domains; this is recognized, it does effect SEO & SERP, & it can change (Google will adjust status per market).
When ccTLDs become gccTLDs, MOZ
“Although the majority of ccTLDs are associated with content specific to their corresponding country or region, some webmasters have started using country codes like “.me” and “.tv” as generic web addresses. As a result, Google has, over time, decided to treat some of those ccTLDs as generic country code top-level domains(gccTLDs) rather than ccTLDs. But, Google’s former Head of Webspam Matt Cutts advises caution if you decide to use a ccTLD that is not already considered a gccTLD because your content could be considered geo targeted (which could affect your global search rankings). You can find a list of the country codes Google considers gccTLDs (and are thus safer to use universally) on this page.”
The terminology may seem a bit different, but they are saying the same thing about what are considered generic top-level domains, why some ccTLDs are treated Like gTLDs, & the SERP pros/cons.
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