It is almost impossible to succeed as a business today without having a vibrant online presence in form of active social media profiles and a user friendly website. While it is easy enough to create a social media account and share relevant posts with your network, building a website involves a little more technicalities. For instance, apart from choosing a web hosting platform and coming up with the perfect structure for your website, you are also faced with the unenviable task of coming up with the perfect domain name.

Unfortunately, and in most cases, after coming up with the ideal domain name for your business, you find out that the name you came up with is unavailable because someone else has registered it. This mostly applies to the three most popular top level domains (TLDs), .com, .net and .org.

But that your ideal domain name is unavailable in these TLDs does not mean you don’t have other options. In fact, there are hundreds of other domain extensions you can choose from when registering a domain name for your business, but if your website is specially designed for audience from a specific country, opting for a ccTLD may be your next best option. 

What are ccTLDs?

Country Code Top Level Domains or ccTLDs are domain extensions specific to a particular region or country. Some common examples of ccTLDs are .DE, .CO.NZ, .CO.UK, .FR, and .ES, and they relate to Germany, New Zealand, United Kingdom, France, and Spain respectively.

A ccTLD shows search engines and website users the country or sovereign state a website is registered in, and by extension, the market such a website targets. There are hundreds of ccTLDs associated with a lot of countries and regions, a list of which is published by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA).
Why it matters to use ccTLD for your local business

ccTLD is a very important factor in both international and local SEO. As a matter of fact, this is one of the best ways search engines and users can determine that a website is targeted to a specific country, while not specific to a particular language.

For example, if a site uses a .CO.NZ domain extension or ccTLD, Google assumes that the site and all the content on it is specifically for the New Zealand market or audience, and so should appear in search results for New Zealand. This makes it a good tool for small businesses looking to target a specific local market, or international businesses looking to break into a foreign market. In fact, for businesses like these, using ccTLDs is the most effective solution for long term SEO benefits.

Unless it is a high authority website, or otherwise indicated in technical SEO, search engines tend to rank domains from the same country higher in search results than others. For example, if someone in New Zealand searches for the term “Used iPhone X”, Google will more often than not return results with .CO.NZ first before those with other gTLDs. Taking this into consideration, it is obviously more beneficial for businesses targeting a local market to use the ccTLD for that market than to use any other top-level domain name.

What are the benefits of ccTLDs?

As we have already established, ccTLDs have many benefits. But are these benefits enough to make you choose a Country Code Top Level Domain over the very popular .COM TLD? The answer is yes.

First of all, using ccTLDs make it easy to create customer and brand value. Secondly, gTLDs are not only congested, but increasingly decreasing in value. These Top Level Domains no longer offer any benefit apart from their popularity, and even then, there are no guarantees that you will get the .COM version of your choice domain name.

There are so many places you can go online to buy your preferred ccTLD, but even if you are not ready to a buy a Country Code TLD, you can always visit domain names nz to explore the many ccTLDs available to you, or to tie down a .CO.NZ domain name for future use.

But first, let us take a broader look at the benefits offered by ccTLDs

1. Geo-targeting and SEO Benefits

When you use a ccTLD, you are able to target traffic specifically from the part of the world associated with your chosen ccTLD. For example, if you want to attract traffic from different parts of New Zealand to your Auckland based automobile repair shop, using .CO.NZ as your domain extension will do the trick perfectly. This type of domain extension will ensure that your website and business is showing up the relevant search results to people living in different parts of New Zealand, rather than to people in Canada, USA, or the UK.

Apart from this targeting advantage, ccTLD also ties in to your SEO efforts. Country Code Top Level Domain gives you better SEO value for country related search results, so that only people that matter to your business will be able to find your business online. This is because the search engines return results based on the search user’s unique search preferences including location. Therefore, your New Zealand automobile repair website with a .CO.NZ domain extension has a bigger chance of appearing in the search results than if it has a regular domain extension.

2. Increases Buyer Confidence

Using a Country Code Top Level Domain extension is actually good for business credibility, and it boosts the confidence of visitors to your website.

Because your domain extension shows your website and business to be local in origin or location, users may feel more confident about making a purchase, especially if your physical address is a place they recognise. Also, a large number of online consumers prefer to shop on websites that carry their own currency, speak their language and is located in their country.

3. It Encourages Creativity

ccTLD allows you to give your creative spirit a free reign when choosing a domain name for your website. Not only can you choose the domain name of your choice without coming upon the “domain name taken” scenario, you can also use the neat trick of domain hacking to make your domain unique.

Domain hacking is a creative way of combining your domain name with a domain extension to make a unique brand even if your business does not target that local market. An example of domain hacking is:, where beach is combined with the Spanish domain extension to form beaches. Others include (where BE is the ccTLD for Belgium), (where IE is the ccTLD for Ireland), and (where IN is the ccTLD for India).

With domain hacking, the possibilities for creative domain names are just endless, and there is no limit to the combinations you can come up with.

4. They are always Available

After spending hours coming up with the ideal domain name for your website, it can be quite frustrating to hit the domain search tool and be told that your preferred domain name is unavailable. This happens a lot when you search for .COM domain names.

DOT COMs account for more than 46% of the total registered domains on the web so it is not surprising that your preferred domain name is already taken by someone else; and where your preferred domain is available, it is usually very expensive. But this is never the case with a ccTLD. You will always find the domain name you want when you search for a country code extension, and you don’t have to pay through your nose for it.

Final thoughts

While everyone wants a cool .COM domain name, the reality today is that this is not always possible. However, opting for the domain extension associated with your target country will open up your business to a lot of benefits, most of which may not be available with other domain extensions.