• Randy Guzman

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  • http://uk.queryclick.com/ Chris Liversidge

    Hi Frank – thanks for taking the time to comment: it’s really valuable to get feedback on how useful (or not!) my articles are for people in the industry.

    Your point on the use of a non-geographic TLD (a .com or .org, etc) is a good one, and certainly a point I should have made clear in the article because I absolutely agree if you are, say, a .de trying to perform in the US you are going to struggle!

    I’m not sure I agree that the benefit of a slight perceived bias in human webmasters to link to local TLDs (which, I must say, is not something that really registers in my experience, or in any of the agencies I’ve worked with) can counterbalance the impact of a consolidated backlink profile for multinational ranking ability (which we *can* see and quantify).

    Assuming there is a bias, I don’t think a webmaster would absolutely rule out linking to a .com on the basis that it’s not a local TLD to their country given its prevalence as a commonly accepted TLD. For me that refutes the suggestion that there’s a benefit to local TLDs in gaining links from authority sites, social signals, or gaining brand recognition (all quite different concepts, and see my earlier post on here on social signals for my thoughts on their real value for SEO!).

    I’m very interested in your point that you give credit to .de and .fr domains (and having lived in different countries across Europe myself, I know where you are coming from), but I stand by my point that the rest of the SERP snippet can have a stronger impact than just the TLD. Why? Simply because I’ve yet to see quantifiable data about its effect beyond anecdotal statements.

    I think underlying the issue is, in fact, that lack of respect and application that you (very commonly) see where multinationals use a .com for all their marketplaces and *don’t put sufficient effort into making them effective for their local markets*. So you end up with bad experiences on .com sites that have just translated content from another territory and feel that’s sufficient: it’s not. I make this point quite a bit in my other posts here on SEL, so I try not to bang on about proper localisation in every post – hence the focus on the technical side this time.

    I’m sure there is *some* bias to the local TLD, but I don’t feel it’s sufficient in the face of the significant SEO value to be had from single domain structures, and I think even that inclination to local TLDs will fade (eventually!) as more multinational businesses get better at properly localising their content in each country: this is still very much the early days for most of the existing multinationals, lumbered as many of them are with clunky ‘enterprise’ CMS systems that don’t allow sufficient flexibility for true localisation.

    The core of the issue is lack of effort and investment in the content and thought about navigational and informational issues, all of which are independent of the overall TLD architecture chosen.