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If I use a ccTLD, can I indicate my geographic location is not in that country?

If I use a ccTLD, can I indicate my geographic location is not in that country? - answered by Matt Cutts

Matt's answer:

We have a question from Phoenix, Arizona. Aaron Campbell wants to know– “We have a vanity domain, ran.ge, that unfortunately isn’t one of the generic TLDs, which means we can’t set our geographic target in Webmaster Tools. Is there any way to still target our proper location?” So this is something where we’ve seen this trend. As the domain name space gets a little more exhausted in .com, people get creative. And so Matt Mullenweg at WordPress grabbed ma.tt, for example, which is a really creative URL. But something that people don’t think about is, what is .tt or what is .ge? It’s Georgia. There’s a lot of startups that have been using .io, which is the TLD for the Indian Ocean, I believe. So you have to think hard about, is it the case that this is going to be known as an international area if you’re just using .es because you can find some cool word that ends in .es Most people using that domain are targeting Spain. And so that is our assumption, that you’re targeting Spain. I was talking to someone who said, well, .li is used by a lot of Long Island businesses. Well, .li I think is Liechtenstein. And if you look at the actual percentage of domains, only a very tiny percentage of .li domains are really trying to target Long Island. Most of them are actually about Liechtenstein. So in some sense, it comes down to a little bit of a call about when a domain becomes truly generic, when it becomes appropriate for the entire world. So .co, which used to be, I think, Columbia, might be more generic now where everybody’s using it as if it is another .com. But some domains I would put some thought into. Just because it’s a cool URL, a lot of the times we’re going to be looking at it and thinking, this is actually more related to Liechtenstein than it is to Long Island. And so even though people want to do a Long Island business, we’re more likely to think that it’s in Liechtenstein. So what you can do is you can certainly post on Google Webmaster forums. You can rally your case. You can do a blog post that says, OK, .io is mostly startups, and so this should not be related to this country or this certain territory. It should be related to the entire world. But we do have to look at the data. We do have to look at the domains that are in use and then make that kind of judgment call. Because otherwise, everybody’s just using crazy, random domain names, and the domain names lose the sense of what they were originally intended for. And that can be a bad experience for people as well.

by Matt Cutts - Google's Head of Search Quality Team


Original video: