Top Level Domains (TLDs) are the domain suffix which follows the main domain name, e.g. ‘.com’, ‘.co.uk’. There are over 1,000 TLDs available for websites and they can also be used to denote which country the site is based in and the language of the content. Find out more about TLDs and how they are viewed by Google within our Hangout Notes.
Google Have a List Of ccTLDs That They Treat As Generic TLDs
To find out if your website is treated as a generic domain, John recommends accessing the international settings in GSC and seeing if you can set an international target.
ccTLDs Can be Shown to Global Audience But Can’t Geotarget Other Countries
Sites with a ccTLD can be relevant to countries outside of the one associated with the TLD. However, a ccTLD won’t be able to geo-target other specific countries.
ccTLDs Can’t be Applied to a General Region
ccTLDs only work at a country level, so you can have ccTLDs for the different countries in Africa but you can’t have one ccTLD targeting the whole of Africa.
IP Addresses Are No Longer Used For Geotargeting or Local SEO
Server IP addresses used to be a signal in the early days of Google’s geotargeting. Now Google uses ccTLD, generic TLD, hreflang, as well as settings in Google My Business and Google Search Console in combination to infer geotargeting information which is much more useful than a single IP.
You Can’t Disavow an Entire TLD
There is no way to disavow an entire TLD. John advises against doing this as individual links aren’t reflective of the entire content of a site. Google is also getting better at recognising and ignoring unnatural links itself anyway.
Google Automatically Applies Geotargeting to ccTLDs
Google will automatically apply geotargeting to ccTLDs meaning you will get a slight boost in rankings for searchers in that country.
Geo-targeting Can’t be Set for ccTLDs
Google will promote ccTLDs for that specific country but you can’t set up geo-targeting for other countries outside of that ccTLD.
Non-Country Regional Domains are Treated As Top Level Domains
Regional domains which don’t targe specific countries, such as .berlin, will be treated as top-level domains and won’t have any geographic targeting applied.
Unspecified Geotargeting is Different to Unlisted
If you don’t select a geotargeting option for generic TLDs, Google will assign this automatically, whereas choosing ‘Unlisted’ will tell Google not to apply any geotargetting.
Don’t Use CCLTDs as Vanity Domains
Don’t use a country specific top level domain (e.g. .it) as this will tell Google that the site is primarily for that country.