I am looking to launch my personal portfolio site soon and at the moment I have registered a .co.uk (have had this for some time) and recently a .com domain. I have just moved to Perth, Australia and will be living here for at least the next few years. When the site is launched I will be aiming at attracting clients in the Perth area, as well as Australia wide. Should I use the .com domain or should I even look at buying a .com.au domain?
The reason I am doubting using a .com.au domain is incase I go back to the uk after a few years. If this was the case, would using a .com be a better option? That way if I return home I could still use this domain and I would only need to change the site content to reflect that I would no longer be based in Australia, and then re-optimise it for uk based searches.
What are peoples thoughts on this?
I would use the .com domain, this is the most well known of the domain extensions and it does not locate you in one specific region; you can be in any or multiple places in the world.
You can always create a small sub-site hosted on the com.au domain. It is a good idea actually to buy the same domain with the com.au TLD. It is important how the website is structured. You'd have an "Updates" section where you could state you are living in Perth at the moment.
I would probably go for the local .au domain name. You can always use a 301 redirect to one of your other domains, if you relocate and thus change your target market.
Okay so that's 2-1 in favour of the using a .com.au domain. However, @Steve I do like the idea of using the .com domain instead. After searching through some older threads on here I came across a link to some info which states that although a .com is not country specific, search engines use the geographic location of the server where the site is hosted to determine country. Therefore if I opt for australian hosting company, search engines will see my site as australian. Does this mean if I do go back to the uk in a few years I would need to move my site over to uk hosting company in order for it to appear in uk searches? (I realise that I would have to change the content, page titles etc to reflect this move also)
@fcolor I feel that having to create a small sub-site for the .com.au would maybe be extra work.
Ideally I would like to have my site with content optimised for perth and australian searches and then in a few years if need be; change my content etc so that I can start to rank for uk results if I move back to newcastle.
Just read some helpful info on Google about Geotargeting: https://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=62399
From reading this I get the impression that I can have a .com domain and host it in Australia - "If an international domain (.com, .org, .eu, etc) has been used, we'll rely on several signals, including IP address, location information on the page, links to the page, and any relevant information from Google Places"
Then if I move location to uk I could in theory leave my hosting in Australia but change my Geographic location to uk instead to tell Google that is my target audience. (then in time I could move hosting to uk company)
This seems a more simple and effective solution instead of having to change domains and use redirects etc.
What do people think?
Yes, you can set your geographical location within Goggle Webmaster Tools. Your .com can be set for Australia while you're there, and the UK when you return. The location of your server then doesn't matter, as far as Google is concerned.
As long as I set the Geographic location will this work? I.e if I set my .com to australia will Google treat my domain the same as a .com.au domain and rank on regular SEO factors or will it give the .com.au site precedence?
As far as I can tell, Google should treat both domains the same. Screenshot below is from Google Webmaster Tools.
Thanks Technobear, the site is still in development stage so I'll find out when it goes live. As long as Google treats it the same as a competitor com.au site then I will be happy.
One thing you should keep in mind is that Google also looks at traffic to your website and links. If you are using .com and the hosting is in Antarctica but 90% of the traffic to your website and 90% of outside hyperlinks to your website come from Australia then Google is still going to know your are Australian based.
You can get addons for most web browsers that let you see where the website you are looking at is physically located. A lot of the big Australian companies are off shore. If it affected their SEO they would all be in the land of OZ.
Cheers - Tim at Ingenyes.
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