Search Engine Optimization is the process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via “natural” (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results (source Wikipedia).
If you’re just starting out and have plans to build yourself a website or blog, one of your goals will be to get as high up in Google and Yahoo search results as you can.
After all, that’s why you’re getting online – so people can find you.
Before you even start to build your website, the first decision you most likely will need to make is choosing a domain name.
When you research online about how important a domain name is in regards to search engine optimization, you typically will find a zillion articles which talk about how you need to try and insert your very best keyword you wish to rank for in your web address.
For example, if you blog about wedding dresses and you want people to find you through Google by typing in “wedding dresses”, the person who owns the web address weddingdresses.com would probably rank pretty well.
Ok, that’s the easy SEO gem you should consider before actually starting your website, but there is another consideration you need to make which can be even more important than the example above.
What is it, you ask?
TL . . . what?
The 1st SEO Decision To Consider
Before you even begin to think of a clever domain name, you need to consider where in the world your customers or readers will be. It is there you need to make sure your website shows up.
The first thing you need to consider for your web address is your TLD.
TLD stands for Top-Level Domain and you can read more about them on the ICANN site and Wikipedia. In essence, a TLD is the last part of your domain name (i.e. the .com, .net, .org, .ca., .co.uk, etc.), but ironically is called your top-level domain – yeah the Internet founders I think just like screwing with us.
Why is this important?
TLDs can be country specific.
For example, in the web address http://weddingdresses.co.uk, the .co.uk is telling Google this website is for UK Internet users. For http://weddingdresses.ca, the .ca tells Google this site is primarily for Canada users.
Here is a list of the different TLDs and their assigned country.
Therefore, make sure your web address has the correct country code in it if you are specifically targeting customers which live in specific countries.
What If Your Customers Are Worldwide or Live In The USA?
The TLD for the United States is .us; however, .com is also indexed very well for USA website owners whose target audience lives in the United States.
The .com extension was created as a general TLD one can use if your target audience is not country specific, as is .net. This is typical with most blogs which are not used for a commercial business (e.g. a landscape company).
So if you’re running a blog and you want your blog to show up in various country search results, .com is your best bet. Just keep in mind though that the person who runs a blog in the UK and has a .co.uk TLD and blogs about the same thing as you will probably find it a little easier for the UK searcher to find the .co.uk site over yours.
Confused? Are your eyes spinning and your head hurts while trying to digest all this?
Comment below and let’s chat.