How ccTLD (domain extension) can Help You Gain a Foothold in Your Target Market

New startups and established businesses can gain a foothold in any market by simply making use of the right country related domain name. There’s no question that using the right domain extension has many benefits – from the ability to use a domain name of your choice, to the more obvious SEO advantages.

For businesses targeting a country specific market, using a ccTLD extension will help immensely with geo-targeting and SEO.

For those who don’t know, a ccTLD – or Country Code Top Level Domain – is a domain extension that relates to a specific country. A country code domain name makes it easy for organisations to target the geographical area in which they have a business interest. When you use domain suffixes like this, you’re letting search engines know that your business is channelled for customers in the country that corresponds with the ccTLD. For example, .DE will be a very good bet to target customers in Germany.

When you should use a ccTLD

There are several factors that can influence your decision to use a country code top level domain (ccTLD). One such factor is if you are looking for targeted customers from specific countries. For instance, if you have a consultancy firm and already own a .COM domain and want to target customers in New Zealand, using a .CO.NZ domain extension will make it easier for your business to gain acceptance by search engines and customers alike.

Another factor that can influence your decision for a ccTLD is if you’re launching a new website for a local business. A ccTLD makes it easy for local customers to associate with the new website and for your business to rank high in local search results. Studies have shown that customers show preference for local businesses that they can easily reach.

 I love .COMs. Why should I use a ccTLD?

Better results for SEO 

One of the greatest benefits of ccTLD is that it gives your website a better chance of ranking higher in SEO for country-based search results. Google sees ccTLD as a strong signal that your website is explicitly intended for a particular country. Therefore, your website will rank higher for local searches in that country.

This essentially means that a .CO.NZ website will rank higher for searches in New Zealand than a .COM one. Using a ccTLD for your country targeted website is more effective than geo-targetingyour server location or domain name.

Better credibility 

ccTLD raises the confidence of users visiting your website, especially when they come from a country that relates to your domain extension. When users search for information about a product or service online, they’re essentially looking for results which display local businesses that they can reach.

Also, local customers are more likely to assume that a website with a country related domain extension will have better products and services than one that is obviously foreign. A ccTLD suggests that the website uses a language and currency that local customers understand, and that they can easily receive assistance and follow-up, should they encounter any problems. While a .COM domain has a high level of international appeal, it may not inspire as much confidence in a local business, as much as a ccTLD.

Unique domain name

Many business owners spend hours trying to come up with a unique domain name for their website, only to discover that the one they want is already taken. There are currently more than 100 million dot com domains currently registered, which makes the chances of getting the domain name of your choice (with a .COM extension) very low. Sometimes, business owners are forced to make do with alternative names for their website. However, with a ccTLD, you have a very high chance of obtaining the domain name of your choice – one which properly expresses the function and purpose of your website and business.

It allows for creativity 

Unlike the regular .COM or .ORG domain extensions, a ccTLD allows you to be creative with your domain name. You can creatively hack your domain name by combining it with the ccTLD to create a memorable ‘Call to Action’ or catch phrase to represent your company name. Examples of domain hacks include: for a food company in Ireland, for a business in Armenia and for a beach hotel in Spain.

A word of warning: some ccTLDs such as .TV are seen by search engines as generic TLDs and are treated as such. However, in cases like this, ccTLDs such as .FM (which relates to the Federated States of Micronesia) and .TV (which relates to the nation of Tuvalu) can be used to inject brand information as part of your domain name, which will inform users of the website’s niche even before they visit it. Good examples of brands that used this system are Last.FM and Blip.TV.

ccTLDS open your brand up to more customers 

The truth is that there are fewer .COM domains available today than there were previously.
As I pointed out earlier, it would be difficult to obtain a domain name of your choice in the .COMniche. Therefore, the smartest way to put your business on the internet map is by registering a ccTLD.

A ccTLD opens up your business to internet real estate. It provides your business with more options to own your share of the market.

It’s important to point out that some countries require your business to have a local presence before you can register a ccTLD. However, if you plan to gain a foothold in the New Zealand market or are launching a new website targeted for customers in that country, visit Domains Name NZ to easily register your .CO.NZ ccTLD.

Final Thoughts

While every business owner understands the importance of having an online presence, not many understand the significance of using a domain extension that associates with the country they intend to target. Regardless of how you intend to go about making your business active online, be sure to plan for a domain that gives you the best advantage for your target market.

James Cummings is a top online marketing analyst, brand expert and business psychologist. James has wide experience at senior managerial level and has helped deliver staffing solutions to some global brands. He has interfaced at board level with FTSE 100 companies and successfully managed multiple web projects across different niches to their full cycle. Working with a team of top level digital media professionals from around the globe, James’ WordPress portfolio currently spans over 40 properties. To see more, visit