Onto my next project, I wanted to start a website but was looking to target an international audience. The idea behind this is that the more people I can get to the website, the better it is for me and there’s no reason why I can’t do this because English is spoken in many countries like UK and USA.
The population of the UK is around 61,000,000 and that of USA is 300,000,000. This means that United States of America has 5 times more people than here in England. It makes sense to target the USA as well and since the website is going to be mostly informative, it shouldn’t really cause a problem because I wouldn’t have to target services locally.
However people in the UK tend to click on .uk website extensions more than any other websites. Research carried out by Nominet showed that 77% or British are more likely to favour .uk domains rather than .com which means that if I register a .com website and manage to get a first page google ranking, I am more likely not to get any clicks from people searching in the UK. In America, people will favour either .com domains or .us, .net or even .org and a .uk domain is not really appealing to them. Even if you benefit from a country level domain for SEO purposes, you will not do well in terms of clickthroughs because people are biased towards domain name extensions. I part of that group as well and when I do searches in google.co.uk and find .com websites listed, I usually skip them until I reach a .co.uk or .org.uk listing. This normally happens when I’m looking for something specific to the UK.
So I was faced with the difficult decision of choosing the best domain extension for my website now. I then ran a search for the number of searches according to country (UK and USA) and I found out that the keywords received 40,500 searches locally for the month of Feb for UK compared to 1600 for USA. Now this is a significant difference and the conclusion becomes obvious. I’d rather focus on the UK market than the USA because of the traffic volume and this means that going forward with a .co.uk domain is the way forward.
Research is an important part of SEO and targetting your local market is made easier through a country specific TLD. It is pointless to have a good ranking website but an extremely low clickthrough rate because people think that your website is not relevant to them because of incorrect domain name extension.