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Designed to be Found – Part 7 - Domains cont.

The right TLD (Top-Level Domain)

Some domains are better than others. For a site competing for the global market, then you probably want a .com domain. If the UK market is important to you, then you want .co.uk CCTLD (Country-Code Top-Level Domain). A uk.com domain is not the same thing, and does not tell the search engines as effectively that this is a UK site. Definitely avoid some of the most spam-ridden domains like .info and .biz if at all possible. Neither will help you to be correctly geographically listed, and both are more associated with spam than quality, and may not perform as well in search results.

If you are targeting lots of different countries, then try to have a domain for each nation, with the correct CCTLD for each. Anything less may cause the site to be filtered out of local search, and ‘pages from country’ searches.

For commercial, UK sites, the best domain is a .co.uk one, which will help you to get properly listed and categorised in UK search results.

Canonicalization

The Americans do like creating long words for simple things. Canonicalization is a perfect example, from the people who brought us the word burglarized rather than burgled…

Canonicalization is where the site can be addressed in several ways, and links to the various versions may be split, causing the engines to count the different versions as different sites.

As an example, consider the following links:

http://www.example.com/

http://example.com/

Which is the correct version? Well, in general, I would favour the www.example.com version, as the one that people would be most likely to link to and mention. However, you could as easily argue that http://example.com was better because it is shorter.

The primary version is the one you decide on. Then set up a 301 redirect from the non-primary version, so that any links to it, or people using it, are redirected to the preferred version, helping you reinforce which one you’d prefer the search engines to use.

This also helps the search engines to correctly apply all of your link popularity to the one version, rather than split the power over the two. It can make a surprising amount of difference.

Look out for part 8 next week…



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