.com vs .co.uk for international SEO?

Discussion in 'Ecommerce Forum' started by Richard Moore, Oct 14, 2016.

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  1. Richard Moore

    Richard Moore UKBF Regular Full Member

    164 56
    Hello folks,

    I'd value your opinions on whether a .com domain name would offer better SEO to get to an international market than the same domain as a .co.uk?

    Does Google prioritise .coms internationally or would it put more weight on the country that the web server is physically located in when ranking the site in a given country?

    Cheers
     
    Posted: Oct 14, 2016 By: Richard Moore Member since: Nov 14, 2009
    #1
  2. devine

    devine UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    19 2
    Google prioritizes content.

    (no, .com offers no benefit, neither physical location makes a difference.)
     
    Posted: Oct 14, 2016 By: devine Member since: Oct 24, 2013
    #2
  3. Clinton

    Clinton UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    4,304 1,591
    You can use Google's Search Console (previously Webmaster Tools) to specify country or international market. However, if you use a .co.uk I understand Google assume you're UK specific and I don't believe they offer you the opportunity to change the setting in Search Console.

    I would therefore go with a .com.

    The location of the hosting shouldn't make a big difference (if it makes a difference at all).
     
    Posted: Oct 14, 2016 By: Clinton Member since: Jan 17, 2010
    #3
  4. Scott@KarmaContent

    [email protected] UKBF Enthusiast Full Member

    742 319
    Your CTR would almost certainly be much better with a .com than a .co.uk in international markets.
     
    Posted: Oct 14, 2016 By: [email protected] Member since: Jun 24, 2014
    #4
  5. devine

    devine UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    19 2
    Not much better, but still better. And for digital solutions there is zero difference in CTR.

    In case OP asks with a concern about his business (easify), he shouldn't use .com instead of his existing domain name as it has no benefit for his business.
    It's more essential to improve his loading time, because currently it takes almost 4 seconds to load from US and 5 seconds from AU, which means no business for him out there.
     
    Posted: Oct 14, 2016 By: devine Member since: Oct 24, 2013
    #5
  6. Richard Moore

    Richard Moore UKBF Regular Full Member

    164 56
    Thanks, this query is with respect to another project.
     
    Posted: Oct 14, 2016 By: Richard Moore Member since: Nov 14, 2009
    #6
  7. Scott-Copywriter

    Scott-Copywriter UKBF Legend Full Member - Verified Business

    9,733 2,674
    Not true.

    Google will factor in geographical domain extensions. In some cases quite heavily.

    Search for "Business forums" in Google.co.uk, and the same term in Google.com, and the first page results are completely different.

    Content and other factors are incorporated in as well, of course, as many .com domains appear in UK searches. However, Google will always take the extension into account to get an idea of which country the website is targeting, and therefore which local Google site it would be more relevant for.

    I don't think it necessarily provides a boost per se, but it may drop the site down the rankings on country-based Google sites if they don't match up. This is one of the reasons why, regardless of the prevalent use of English worldwide, there are rarely any sites in UK Google searches with the likes of .ca, .us, .ie and .au, which are all from English speaking countries.
     
    Posted: Oct 14, 2016 By: Scott-Copywriter Member since: May 10, 2006
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  8. devine

    devine UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    19 2
    .co.uk gives a slight boost for UK-based queries.
    SERPs are different, because UK geolocation meta is specified in html.

    You don't see many .ca, .us and other websites, because their specified geo is "en-CA" and "en-US" respectively, not because of the domain extension itself.
     
    Posted: Oct 14, 2016 By: devine Member since: Oct 24, 2013
    #8
  9. Scott-Copywriter

    Scott-Copywriter UKBF Legend Full Member - Verified Business

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    I think you overestimate the emphasis Google places on geo meta tags, and also how many sites actually use them.

    This is worth a watch from Matt Cutts:



    "Typically, the geo tags that are in meta tags are not as useful and we don't tend to give those as much weight - if at all".

    However, he states that Google tends to look at the IP address and county-code domain.
     
    Posted: Oct 14, 2016 By: Scott-Copywriter Member since: May 10, 2006
    #9
  10. devine

    devine UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    19 2
    He talks about things like "meta-country", not "lang" meta-tag, which is where you target a specific country with "en-UK/US/etc" and that is used by majority of location-targeted websites.

    And regarding IP addresses, here's a more up-to-date answer from Google:
    This wasn't something up to debate in the first place though.
     
    Posted: Oct 14, 2016 By: devine Member since: Oct 24, 2013
    #10
  11. Scott-Copywriter

    Scott-Copywriter UKBF Legend Full Member - Verified Business

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    This seems to prove exactly what I've said?

    Anyway, to the OP, if you're branching out to a truly international market, with no emphasis on any particular country, then I would strongly advise going with a .com domain name. It's by far the easiest way to tell Google that your website is international, and will avoid any potential issues with country code domains and localised searches.

    Plus, as Scott mentioned above, it will help with organic CTRs. People in Germany, Italy, Spain etc are more likely to click a .com domain for a service than a .co.uk, which they may assume does not cover their own country.
     
    Posted: Oct 14, 2016 By: Scott-Copywriter Member since: May 10, 2006
    #11
  12. nahosting

    nahosting UKBF Regular Free Member

    241 57
    .com if you are offering international sales, .co.uk if it is UK specific (or European to a degree, but will be less with brexit)
     
    Posted: Oct 14, 2016 By: nahosting Member since: Mar 19, 2013
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  13. devine

    devine UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    19 2
    No, because your statements are irrelevant to OP's concern. This thread is about international market, not about UK-based market. And no, .com doesn't affect SERPs for international queries.

    This thread is about SEO, not about conversion rate optimization. Giving any advices without knowing the business is nothing more than assumptions and a waste of time.

    In case you don't get it - re-read my previous messages carefully.
     
    Posted: Oct 14, 2016 By: devine Member since: Oct 24, 2013
    #13
  14. Scott-Copywriter

    Scott-Copywriter UKBF Legend Full Member - Verified Business

    9,733 2,674
    Okay, let's answer the question:

    Yes. It will be easier to rank higher for international search queries with an international domain extension. Purposely choosing a .co.uk domain over a .com, to rank better in international searches and in different countries, makes no sense at all.

    As someone seemingly proficient in SEO, you should know that organic CTR is an SEO ranking factor. Sites with a higher organic CTR relevant to their ranking position are weighted more favourably and can experience improved rankings as a result.
     
    Posted: Oct 14, 2016 By: Scott-Copywriter Member since: May 10, 2006
    #14
  15. Richard Moore

    Richard Moore UKBF Regular Full Member

    164 56
    Thanks for all the great responses guys - great to hear varying opinions on the subject.

    To add a little more info, the project is an online shop for a business which is currently trading on eBay. The website will be selling low value electronic parts ranging in price from £2 to around £60 (but mostly around £10).

    The main market is the UK but as there has been interest and custom from abroad I'm deciding whether to go with the .co.uk domain and focus on our home market with international sales happening if they happen. Or to go with the .com to have a less localised identity.

    I own both the .co.uk and .com domains for the project so it's just a matter of picking one and using it.

    I'm currently split on the decision. I like the idea of .co.uk appealing to UK customers, it's more obvious that we are a fellow UK business. However I like the fact that .com makes for a more location neutral identity. Neither of these deciders have anything to do with SEO I know, but if there was an SEO benefit (or penalty) it might help me decide.

    Or maybe I'm just over-thinking it ;)
     
    Posted: Oct 14, 2016 By: Richard Moore Member since: Nov 14, 2009
    #15
  16. Scott-Copywriter

    Scott-Copywriter UKBF Legend Full Member - Verified Business

    9,733 2,674
    It really depends if you have any hope of ever ranking highly in the SERPs for the search terms relating to your product.

    If they are very competitive, and the chances of ranking well for them are minimal, then it won't make any tangible difference.

    If your primary market is the UK, then you could use the .co.uk but permanently re-direct the .com to the .co.uk, so people can use the .com to find your site. Again though, this is mostly aesthetic and makes little difference if your site isn't getting a meaningful amount of organic traffic.
     
    Posted: Oct 14, 2016 By: Scott-Copywriter Member since: May 10, 2006
    #16
  17. Richard Moore

    Richard Moore UKBF Regular Full Member

    164 56
    I think you've hit the nail on the head Scott, in reality it will make very little difference.

    But if it will affect the balance of probabilities in some way I'll give it some thought - even if only for academic satisfaction ;)
     
    Posted: Oct 14, 2016 By: Richard Moore Member since: Nov 14, 2009
    #17
  18. Scott-Copywriter

    Scott-Copywriter UKBF Legend Full Member - Verified Business

    9,733 2,674
    If SEO isn't a factor, then I'd stick with the .co.uk if that's your main market.

    Think of domain code extensions diluting and spreading the relevancy factor in terms of buyer confidence. For example (purely hypothetical scoring numbers to explain my point here):

    .com

    Relevancy to:
    UK - 30
    US - 30
    Germany - 30
    Spain - 30

    .co.uk

    Relevancy to:
    UK - 100
    US - 10
    Germany - 10
    Spain - 10

    A .co.uk will not completely stop overseas buyers from using you, and at the same time, it will make your website appear more local and relevant to your main UK audience.

    In short, if your main market is the UK, and most/all of your marketing will be pointed at UK audiences, then make the most of those with a more relevant domain for those customers.

    There's also nothing stopping you from creating an "international" page on your site which emphasises that you can ship worldwide to allay some of the fears customers can have about ordering from overseas businesses.

    Plus, if you do end up shipping worldwide to the point where other countries are just as big a market as the UK, you could easily switch the site to a .com domain and then perma re-direct the .co.uk domain to the .com so it passes through any link juice you've already obtained via that domain.
     
    Posted: Oct 14, 2016 By: Scott-Copywriter Member since: May 10, 2006
    #18
  19. Bat2100

    Bat2100 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    8 0
    This honestly doesn't matter that much. I would personally enjoy a . com domain instead of the other.
     
    Posted: Oct 20, 2016 By: Bat2100 Member since: Oct 20, 2016
    #19
  20. Mygiftgenie

    Mygiftgenie UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    5 0
    We have recently been through this decision process. I would agree with the posts above, although we own the .com and .co.uk domain names, our target market was in the UK so we went with the .uk suffix. There is plenty of advice out there on this topic - good luck.
     
    Posted: Nov 6, 2016 By: Mygiftgenie Member since: Mar 15, 2016
    #20
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