As a business owner, website owner, whether you’ve been online for a decade or are only stepping into the world wide market place; there’s an ever present question: to dot com or not to dot com? Lets take a look at some of the differences.
1. Clear geo-targeted name
To own a local domains, you actually need to go and buy them and register with a local authority. Because of this, local domains have always represented the best controlled and strictest identifier of a specific geography. There are exceptions of course, but these mostly have to do with certain domains, such as .tv (the tiny island state of Tuvalu) having found that their particular geography had a gold mine domain name it could use to generate revenue.
In other words, if the site was a French site, operating under a .fr domain, within hours of a search engine crawl, the site would show up in the area called “Pages de France” or pages from France—even if the site was actually hosted in the US.
2. Solid site architecture
The argument is often put forward that it’s too expensive to switch an existing dot com website with zillions of pages over to the relevant local domains its owners wish to target. It can, of course, be expensive to switch the domain used and this needs to be done with great care. However, when the cost of making the change is calculated, business will tend to find less financial value to the ongoing cost of SEO to compensate for not having the relevant local domain. This could mean additional local hosting costs or even substantial link building to overcome the disadvantages of the dot com. However, every businessman should have “going local” as an ultimate part of their long term plan.
3. People are inclined buy locally
Some SEOs may not see conversion factors as the most important in recommending which steps a client should take. Some users however, read URLs in the search engine results and that it can have a direct impact on how many of them click on links. Say you’re looking for a “second hand car” and you live in Canada. If you know nothing else about a website, which is most likely to be the most compelling: “secondhandcar.com” or “secondhandcar.ca?”
Even beyond the search results page, the local domain vs dot com plays in the mind of the user. “If this is a .ca and I live in Winnipeg, then they’re more likely to deliver” is a reasonable conclusion for most folks to draw.