ccTLD or gTLD: Which is Better for SEO?

Choosing the right domain is extremely important – especially when starting a new website. You basically have to choose between two camps: ccTLD or gTLD. What does that mean? And what impact does it have on SEO?

ccTLD or gTLD?

ccTLD stands for Country Code Top Level Domain. This means all domains that are country-specific, e.g. B. .de, .at, .ch, .fr, .it and so on. These domains have a certain “boost” in the respective national Google variants. A .de works well in Germany.

gTLDs ( Generic Top Level Domains ) are all domains that are not ccTLDs. Most of all, .com, .org or .info are known here. But even a .eu or .berlin domain is nothing more than a generic domain because it is not geared towards one country.

There is one important caveat to this separation: some ccTLDs are treated like gTLDs by Google because Google has learned that they are mostly not used by local companies. The most prominent representative here is probably the .tv domain. Very few .tv domains can be attributed to companies in the island state of Tuvalu. A list of these different domains can be found here on Google .

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What’s better in terms of SEO?

If a company is only active in French-speaking countries (i.e. primarily in France) and only French-language content is stored on the domain , then a .de domain is a very good choice.

If you are traveling internationally and want to place several sub-folders / subdomains for languages ​​or countries on your own website (e.g. / de/ for the German content), then a generic domain is the much better choice. Then it is possible to align the individual folders / subdomains with the corresponding countries via the Google Search Console. You can then for example, set the folder www.website.com/de/ so that – although it is on a gTLD – it is treated like a ccTLD. This then has advantages for the respective country (“Ranking Boost”) and is neutral for all other countries.

Important note: This option is not available on a ccTLD. So the folder www.website.de/fr/ can not be aligned with France.

International SEO: So a separate ccTLD for each country?

Anyone who operates an international business can of course also come up with the idea of using a separate ccTLD for each country / language , i.e. website.de for the German-language content and website.fr for the French content. That sounds like a good idea at first, because then you have an optimal domain for the respective countries.

But it is often forgotten that it is important for SEO to have websites well linked externally. Unfortunately, it is often the case that small companies in particular fail to have sufficient links to the individual country-specific domains, so that these websites then generate poor rankings in the respective countries.

And then in practice a gTLD with subfolders or subdomains is the much better solution – especially for the “smaller” countries / languages.

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