About a year back TLD extensions with “.Melbourne” and “.Sydney” got introduced in Australian Markets. Taking cues from my previous blog post on Common SEO Myths, I would again like to make this very clear that TLD extensions or domain names have a negligible positive effect (if any) on your Search Ranking.
There are many Digital Marketing and Domain name resellers trying to spread wrong information about local ranking benefits which “.Melbourne” or “.Sydney” extensions offer. If ranking on Google was so easy, everyone would have bought different domains for each of their products and that would have been a ripper idea.
Have you heard of a local salon to have following domain names ?
No, never would that be the case. Few things which go terribly wrong here are:
1) Even if we assume or create a hypothesis that TLD extensions helped in ranking or was a ranking signal, why would hyperlocal services like Pizza Shops, Coffee Shops, Salons, etc would like to rank on Melbourne which is so vague? Melbourne Metropolitan region is vast and has so many suburbs. Same goes with Sydney.
If the argument is that “.Melbourne” or “.Sydney” can be used to rank businesses which are specifically in CBD, then also this argument does not stand valid. Imagine you are in Melbourne CBD and need a coffee, what would you do ? If you are tech savvy just open Google and type coffee shops around me. If you are not tech savvy you will still open and search coffee shops on let’s suppose Queen Street, Melbourne CBD. It’s quite obvious that Melbourne term is interchangeable and searcher know this, hence he/she would make special efforts to get results from CBD.
Neil Patel’s View on this topic
Moreover, Google is smart enough to show up local results (provided you have registered with Google My business and verified) irrespective of your domain name or TLD extensions.
2) Let’s recollect our assumption in point no. 1 and suppose that TLD extensions actually help, then what would happen with places like Melbourne, which is not only a mega city in Australia but also in Florida, USA. In that case, Florida’s Men Salon Parlour can start ranking in Melbourne Australia and Melbourne, Australia’s Woodfired Pizza listings can start appearing in Florida, USA.
To counter my 4th point, people might argue, what about searcher’s location ? Now that’s exactly my point. There are heaps of other Local ranking factors one of them being the searcher’s location and also the NAP/Business Directory listings. Having “.Melbourne or .Sydney” does not improve your local rankings.
However, there can be 2 advantages of “.Melbourne” kind of TLD extensions (which are way too small to even consider), but just to be fair I would like to mention them:
Click through rate (CTR)
Click through rate (CTR) is considered a strong ranking factor by many SEO experts and, I kind of echo the same thing. The TLD extensions which we are discussing might help a bit with CTR. There is no data on it but I assume it might just have that slight edge.
I may be wrong here because according to Moz’s Rand Fishkin CTR is higher for TLDs which are known to masses because it generates a credible image in front of a searcher. Which makes the case even weaker for such local TLDs
Anchor text advantage
One more advantage which is the case with Exact Match Domains (EMD) or Partially Matched Domain (PMD) names might actually work with TLD extensions.
EMD or PMD are nothing but domain names which have services/goods related keywords which you want to target. For example www.BurwoodEastWoodFiredPizza.com.au – This is EMD for a pizza shop in Burwood East.
There is this wonderful article on EMDs by Mark Preston which explains the interconnectedness of EMDs and local SEO. Do read it as it might be helpful for your local SEO.
In this article Mark Preston has done a detailed study referred upon which I would safely conclude that EMDs might have a small advantage in terms of Anchor text imbibed in the domain itself which makes the domain name as Anchor text wherever website is mentioned.
Apart from these two possible advantages, “.melbourne” & “.Sydney” TLD extensions have no advantages whatsoever.
So beware and don’t fall for the trap. If you are doing businesses in Australia or targeting Australians for your web traffic stick with “.com.au” or “.com”.
Australian Bureau of Statistics
We can understand as an SME it becomes difficult to listen to all the advice especially when big agencies which have vested interest advice their clients in the wrong manner. We at FI Digital take our advice very seriously and put a lot of efforts in research and experiment which are nothing but the foundation of a successful SEO strategy.
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