December 11, 2012
Local TLDs, or Top Level Domains, were once incredibly important when it came time to try and reach the audience of another country. Google needed to know where you wanted your content targeted, so local TLDs were necessary for content that you wanted to show to a particular country. For example, if you wanted to target a German country, you would want to host this content with a domain extension .de and host the domain through an Internet provider from that particular country. In other words, it was a lot of work.
Fortunately, Google has made recent changes that make it easier to target different countries. First there was the ‘Set Geographic Target’ tool allowing webmasters to directly express where Google should target their content, and then there was the “hreflang” link component that allowed webmasters to not only dictate to Google where their content should be going, but also avoid any duplicate content penalties if you have one piece of content directed toward different countries. After all of the changes and improvements, it makes sense to ask: Where does this leave the once-almighty TLDs?
Why a Single TLD Solution Offers Significant SEO Benefits
While using a local TLD was once crucial, the changes that Google made changed the game. Using the hreflang tool allows Google to see where you want your content targeted, so the TLD indicator isn’t needed any longer. A few of the benefits of a single TLD solution include:
In essence, having a single TLD is clearly easier. Dealing with one instead of multiple anything is easier. However, it’s important to consider the other side of things and whether or not easier can still mean something efficient.
The Opposition: The Benefits of Multiple TLDs
As with all statements there comes an opposition, and the argument over local TLDs is one of the hottest topics. It seems as though a single TLD solution makes sense from a technical approach, but you cannot forget the users (something SEOs often forget). Link building and branding advantages are more present when using local TLDs as opposed to a single TLD approach, and this isn’t something to leave out. Consider some extra opposing points explained:
In the end, it seems as though opinions differ much from SEO to SEO. So what do we think? Although technical standpoints are important, it seems too risky to ignore the reader in a way that a single TLD approach just might. In any case, this is a topic that still needs a bit more guidance before you can really make a true assessment. Until then, take matters into your own hands and run some tests to see what works best for your niche and your audience.
If you have thoughts on the topic and whether or not local TLDs are still important to local SEO, we’d love to hear your thoughts and get the discussion started.
Is your traffic declining? Are you not generating enough leads or sales? We’ve been growing businesses since 2009, let us do it for you!Schedule a Consultation
We’ve been growing businesses since 2009, let us do it for you!