Creating local domains are helpful for local target demographics. Typically, websites that end in .net, .com, or .org are targeted toward American users. Search engines typically target search results based on location. This means that if you want to market a product to a certain country, Australia for example, then a domain name ending in .au will show up in Australian results before a .com domain.
There are many advantages to offering local, targeted websites, particularly if they are written in a language other than English. Non-English speakers will go out of there way to find a site written in their native language. This means that if you have a site in that domain country registration and in the native language, you already have a huge advantage over competitors. However, there are also some advantages to creating websites with global appeal using a main domain ending like .com.
Making a website suitable for multiple websites is a hard challenge. You may have to create multiple versions of your website. Using a country-code top level domain name for each website can also be helpful.
There are two types of domain names that search engines use to determine the region for a website. ccTLDs (country-code top level domain names) are used for specific countries, like co.uk for the United Kingdom, .de for Germany, and .au for Australia. These codes will show up in the top of the search results for that country. That is the biggest advantage to using a country-specific code. gTLDs (generic top level domain names) are not tied to any particular country. .com, .org, and .net are common GTLDs. Other GTLDs are .asia and .eu because they are not tied to any particular contry. The advantage of using this kind of domain ending is that you can target viewers from around the world and may not have to offer multiple websites for each specific country. However, if you do want to target a specific country, these endings are not the best choice.
Search engines uses a variety of elements to determine how to geotarget the results for a particular website. Basically, if a ccTLD is used, this will place that site in the top results for that country. You can also use Webmaster Tools’ manual geotargeting for gTLDs to target your generic domain name for a specific country. This can be helpful if you want to target a particular country but don’t want to exclude visitors from other countries. Using a certain region’s language will also help target your website to that area no matter the domain suffix. Local currency markers, the business physical address, the phone number for the business, and even other links can also be used to geotarget a particular website.
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ccTLDs offer many advantages. The main one being that it is easy to geotarget the site for that country. The server location is irrelevant. You could make a German-targeted site from America, for example. It is easy to separate all sites with distinct TLDs. The trouble with this kind of domain name is that the cost is expensive, you may not have as much name availability, and it usually requires more work.
GTLDs have their own sets of advantages and disadvantages. Advantages include ease of set-up, you can use specific geotargeting, it is easy to maintain the sites. You can use different server locations to set up subdomains in different countries. The trouble with it can include confusion from specific country visitors and separating the site information can be a challenge.
There are times when both generic top level domains and ccTLDs are necessary for business. However, it is up to each business and site owner to determine if the value of country-specific data outweighs the simplicity and ease of gTLDs.