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cctld strategy

Why Every International Brand Needs a ccTLD Strategy

You’ve built a successful business that’s gone far beyond the United States – it’s global. You have a brand. Millions of people recognize it. That means you’ve won the game of business and, in the digital sense, don’t need to change anything, right? Not necessarily. If you have an international brand that’s relying solely on one .com domain to market to customers all over the world, you’re potentially missing out on scaling your business. The solution? Develop a ccTLD strategy in which you purchase – and use – international domains to bolster your brand.

The question now is simple: Why does your global brand need a ccTLD strategy?

Reason 1 – You Can Target Specific Audiences with ccTLD

Let’s say that your brand operates in 10 countries, each with its own language. That creates a language barrier problem – one you can only solve if you make your .com website translatable into all 10 languages.

That’s a viable, though clunky, solution, and it doesn’t account for the cultural differences between each country you serve.

Enter ccTLDs.

When you have a specific domain for each country, you have more creative freedom. You can build websites specifically tailored to the culture of each country you serve – with their language coming to the forefront – allowing you to target a specific audience. The alternative is to be as generic as possible to try and keep everybody happy, which rarely works.

Reason 2 – ccTLD is Better for SEO

Speaking of targeting specific audiences, there’s also the search engine optimization (SEO) aspect of ccTLDs to consider.

With a .com website alone – even if it has multiple language options – you’re limited in terms of your rankings. Even if you can target the keywords you want through different language options, overseas search engines can see your website doesn’t use a domain catered to their territory.

The result?

They may rank you lower.

With a ccTLD strategy, you build a collection of websites – each specific to a country – that boost your search engine game. Better yet, the authority you develop inside search engines carries over to your potential customers. They feel more confident in you, and are thus more likely to buy from your brand, because you have a ccTLD that demonstrates you maintain a presence in their country.

cctld strategy on international brand

Reason 3 – You Can Get Creative

Not all companies that use ccTLDs have them for targeting audiences in specific countries.

That may sound strange – ccTLDs exist so you can target different territories – but the rub is that they use the interesting domain extensions they can access to get creative instead. Take the Spanish ccTLD of .es as an example.

Take out the dot in each of those and you have words that could define what your brand offers to its customers. Of course, the challenge here lies in finding a ccTLD that provides a couple of characters that you can merge into a relevant word for your company. But assuming you can, you now have a creative way to market your business – it’s far easier to remember a URL that’s one word divided by a dot than it is to remember a full website address.

Reason 4 – Higher Domain Name Availability

.com is the most common domain extension by far, with around 37% of all registered domains using it. Extend that further into all generic TLDs – such as .org and .info – and you have 43% of domains registered that don’t use ccTLDs.

That could create a problem for your brand:

A .com domain you want may not be available.

Therein lies another benefit of adopting a ccTLD strategy in which you register international domains. They usually offer more choices for domain names than the .com route because they’re used less often.

Start Building Your ccTLD Strategy

The key with ccTLDs is to change your thinking around them. They’re not a “nice to have” thing that your international brand can do without if it has a .com address. When used well, they’re integral to your success – both on the local level and in terms of protecting your brand in other territories.

Ultimately, that’s why you need a ccTLD strategy. The money you spend on your international domains – and the time invested into building websites on them – is more than paid off by the benefits the strategy can deliver.

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