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SEO and customer's trust : Country Specific Domain vs. .COM

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Paperhand

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Hi,

I am about to start a site intended for the German market. The desired domain in .de is already for sale on DAN, but the .com is yet untouched.

This goes out to members with SEO experience who worked with country specific sites:

- does the use of a non-specific extension like .com (but also .org etc) vs. .DE for Germany (or .at, .ch Austria, Switzerland) hinder the SEO results?
- and do customers tend to prefer those specific sites over the generic ones?
- also, there are some regulative issues regarding the statement of company credentials under legal info when registered with country codes.

I am working within the German area, and would see a benefit in using .com as means not to address just one single German speaking country. But I'm sure that it is somewhat similar with the Spanish (or Portuguese etc) countries. Also, just going on with the site and not letting this question be any hurdle is probably the best option, as relevant information will be consumed anyways but I'm really interested in any experienced opinion and know we have quite a lot German natives here.

BIG thanks as always!
 
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The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.
does the use of a non-specific extension like .com (but also .org etc) vs. .DE for Germany (or .at, .ch Austria, Switzerland) hinder the SEO results?
No, it does not have any effect on SEO as long as you use the proper indications that the site is targeting Germany or whatever location you are targeting. For example, set the target in Google Search Console, use the proper lang tags on the site, etc.
- and do customers tend to prefer those specific sites over the generic ones?
I spent a week in Europe speaking at a Digital Marketing/SEO conference and asked a TON of people about ccTLDs versus .COM, etc.. Primarily SEOs and digital marketers from Europe. I was surprised that most prefer to use .COM now versus a ccTLD.
- also, there are some regulative issues regarding the statement of company credentials under legal info when registered with country codes.
That makes sense, and those should continue to exist. My opinion on use of a ccTLD is that it really depends on the location and what the local target market would expect. But it also depends on what you're selling. If you're selling or you're targeting an international market, then .COM or a gTLD would be preferred. If I'm in the USA I'm probably not going to buy something from a .co.uk site unless i cannot get it anywhere else. But if it's a local service I'd probably still use a ccTLD. Regardless, you should acquire both the ccTLD and the .COM whenever you can.
 
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@bhartzer: Great, thanks for your insights! I am working on an information site that I spent years gathering experience and knowledge on. It is a knowledge source around a specific health /fitness problem and will include some affiliate links among other sources.

Regarding SEO, when searching for german kw, google tends to list ccTLD sites on top .COM. But again, I am not a pro and this was still just a non representative sample.

For the regulatory issue, it is interesting in light of the strict EU privacy regulations. Every business with a ccTLD registration is required to have transparent contact and legal info. Which I do support as a customer, but when considering launching an info site, it does add a lot of administrative weight.

And my main issue is just that I do not want to divide my audience up into local markets based on the chosen ccTLD, as it is relevant across any german speaking countries.

For the domain, I do prefer domains that come in combo, .COM and ccTLD, but then again you just cant always get them, and when do you still go with just .COM is the question (which remains a judgement call...)
 
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