The need for suitable domain names for small and medium business with limited or small budget had to be satisfied, and it gave rise in popularity for generic country code top-level domains (gccTLD).
Yes, big companies who need to demonstrate their financial and business power will opt to buy a number of .COM domains that perfectly fit their needs, even if it costs a fortune. Experts would argue that owning a perfect .COM is becoming a thing of vanity because search engines no longer take a domain name as an SEO factor and the main reason any company still wants a .COM is customer perception.
Generic country code top-level domains
GccTLD are essentially country code domain extensions, which are considered more like gTLD by search engines and treated as such, because of their generalized use. Some of them are
.ad, .ai, .as, .bz, .cc, .cd, .co, .dj, .fm, .io, .la, .me, .ms, .nu, .sc, .sr, .su, .tv, .tk, .ws … though keep in mind that other ccTLD may be added at or after the time of writing this article.
Generic ccTLD have provided much room for creative and innovative domain names, but the most important aspect is that their namespace is largely available and you in most cases you will be able to register a domain name same as your company name, or any other domain name that suits your needs.
Few are very recognizable, such as .IO domain extension that has become a go-to choice for tech and startup companies, because it is an acronym for Input/output. Similarly, .AI is very popular with artificial intelligence and machine learning companies. The .TV domain extension is very recognizable among young people who frequent Twitch website and watch video streams. These are a great choice for domain name.
Ranking a gccTLD
All of them have a specific use case which made them popular for generalized usage. Since Google has acknowledged that domain name is not an SEO factor, these domain names are even more appealing. If you can provide high-quality content, and fulfill other SEO requirements (backlinks, relevance) then you can expect your website search ranking will rise over time.
When using a gccTLD the main recommendation for Google/Bing webmaster tools is to leave the country targeting blank. Google already knows where your website hosting is located, and other factors such as language, industry, and relevance, so if you aim for the global audience then leave your websites geotag blank.
Other than that, same as with a gTLD you will have to focus on international SEO, which takes into account:
- Are you a startup or an established business/brand.
- The strength of your existing online presence (website, social media, online communities, backlinks) overall, and within the target audience.
- Is your website targeting multi-language SEO or the same language in different countries?
- Content and general keywords as well as semantically related keywords.
Yes, for a new brand and a new website, the process of promoting your online presence, and attracting real links will take significant time and effort. For a website that targets multi-language audience, it will be much harder, leading to the conclusion that you should separate websites for different languages.
You can provide significant improvement to your website SEO with:
- An XML sitemap is especially worth for international SEO.
- Use webmaster tools and analytics to check the general and organic traffic sources for your website.
- Hosting location for your website at a local data-center improves website loading speed for local search.
The .COM domain space is relatively exhausted and website owners need to come up with creative domain names and domain hacks. Traditional ccTLD used for websites that do not have an audience with their country code does need a proper geotag that will tell Google and other search engines what is their main target.
GccTLD does not need a geotag unless you intend to target a specific country, and they provide ample opportunities for unique and creative domain names. Ranking process for a gccTLD is the same as for a gTLD because search engine already knows it has a generic use. Getting one for your company can save you a small fortune that you would have to spend for a suitable .COM domain.