National vs International Domain Name Extension and SEO
We did a few tests about the differences between national and international domain extensions regarding SEO, and the rankings of these websites in national search engines like google china baidu or bing. (check your rankings in google and baidu here)
What is a Domain name Extension?
- International domain name extensions like : .Com, .Net , .Org or .Pro
- National domain name extensions like: .de (Germany), .fr (France), .cn (China)
What was the Test ?
We launched several websites, with the same domain name, but with different domain name extensions (some national domain name extensions and some international). We let the search engines crawle them and index them, and then we test their rankings.
It appears clearly that the national domain extensions has a very strong impact on the rankings of websites in the designated country.
Actually, the National Domain Name Extension is more important than :
- The language used on the website
- The IP location of the hosting
For example, we did the test with the Chinese national domain name extension which is .CN, but the website was hosted in a European country, and the language of the website was English.
Still, the website was ranking better in google.CN (China) than in google.Com (language of the website) or google.DE (the hosting country). Why was it ranking better in google china? Well, the only link between these websites and China was the national domain name extension, and obviously, it’s weight on the rankings was considerable.
National domain name extensions are very very important to your SEO and your Rankings. (but still, you might chose an international domain name extension because of your branding strategy, etc. SEO is something you must consider, but not something that should replace ALL of your former marketing tools)
Our ranking study also showed that the “country” of your backlinks are also very important for your rankings in that country. To make it clear : if you have a website in the USA, but the majority of your backlinks are coming from England, your website is going to rank higher in Google England.
So remember, post the backlinks in the country you target (not only the language you target).
Google is Google, not by Chance:
Google is the smartest. On bing and baidu, we reached directly very high positions because of the domain names we’ve chosen and the domain names extensions, and we shouldn’t have. We had only 2 pages on the websites, a very young age for the domain names, and very few backlinks.
That’s also no surprise as we have seen in the comparison between google and bing : “weight of keywords in urls on your rankings”
Google seemed to have a more wise approach and more balanced algorithm, which makes the search “safer” and with better quality.