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Value Of Switching To A Cctld


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7 replies to this topic

#1 ElwoodP

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 07:17 AM

I have a client who has a regional business (targeting clients in Sydney, Australia) and has a website on a .com domain which has been there for about 6 years. They are asking whether it would be of value switching to a ccTLD (.com.au) in order to give search engines a clearer idea of the fact they are regional and to perform better in regional searches.
 
They have a lot of content on their website which I think would clearly identify them as being Australian and they use Australian hosting. I know you can also setup Geo Targeting in both Google and Bing Web Master Tools but is this as powerful as using a ccTLD?
 
If I do a search for their business sector + Sydney, 95% of the results are .com.au domains. This could of course be because it is a more popular choice rather than an indication of the SEO power of a ccTLD.
 
Do you think its worth switching? Is there any risk of loosing any current SEO page value if properly managed with 301s? Is there anything else to bare in mind in making the decision?


#2 chrishirst

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 07:45 AM

 

If I do a search for their business sector + Sydney, 95% of the results are .com.au domains. This could of course be because it is a more popular choice rather than an indication of the SEO power of a ccTLD.
 

 It's neither!

 

It is simply because search engine results personalisation means that IF you are in Australia, and searching for results that are specific for Australia you WILL see URLs that Google considers are specific to,  and suitable for Australia.

 

No SEO 'power'. No " a more popular choice" simply Google doing what it considers best for  the users of Google Search.



#3 ElwoodP

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 08:04 AM

Sure I understand Google is simply showing what it considers relevant results.

 

My question is:

Is there a weighting in Google's algorithm to decide what is relevant in a local search, that is more in favour of Domains with ccTLDs  over gTLDs with geotargetting set up.



#4 chrishirst

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 08:20 AM

There used to be,

But currently ....

Yes;
No;
Maybe;
Maybe not;
Probably;
Doubtful;
Possibly;
Unlikey;
Could be;

But anyway, WHAT do you think your users are more likely to consider as a TLD that may be better related to their query, if they are seeing two or more results that look promising?



#5 ElwoodP

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 08:46 AM

Whilst I understand that it's impossible to know the exact intricacies of Google's algorithm I was really looking for advice from someone with experience of the way the same website behaves in a local search under either condition.

 

Or someone with experience of before and after setting up geo targeting on a gTLD. I have read in a couple of places of people that suspect it doesn't do anything.

 

But anyway, WHAT do you think your users are more likely to consider as a TLD that may be better related to their query, if they are seeing two or more results that look promising?

 

Personally I'd go for the ccTLD, and I'd advise them of that if they were a startup buying their 1st Domain. But the domain is already established so I'm looking for advice on whether it would be considered worthwhile in switching.



#6 torka

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 09:15 AM

If they've already got an established website, I don't think there's any evidence to suggest it would help enough to make switching worthwhile. If switching helps, it doesn't help much. If it neither helps nor hurts, they've gone through a lot of work for nothing, and they'd still have to do all the other productive SEO/marketing stuff if they want to improve anything. If it hurts... well, obviously it's not a good thing to do, right? Lots of extra work just to undo the hurt, plus all the normal SEO/marketing stuff besides.

 

So, assuming equal probability of any of the three outcomes, there's only a one in three chance it will help, and then only a little bit. And there's a two thirds chance it will cause them a lot of extra work, with no benefits (and potential detriments). Personally, I don't like those odds. I'd leave things the way they are and instead look at other, more productive SEO/marketing tactics.

 

My :02:

 

--Torka :oldfogey:


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#7 ElwoodP

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 09:21 AM

Thanks Torka. Sensible analysis.



#8 Alan Perkins

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 08:04 AM

If they are only targeting searchers who are based in Australia then I would flick the switch in Webmaster Tools.

 

However, if they based in Australia but are, for example, an estate agent, I would think carefully as some searchers could be based outside their target region but looking to move (or, more generally, "operate") within it.






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