Are you expanding abroad? Reach for the ideal domain7.12.2022
Whether you are creating a new e-shop or rebranding an existing one, take a moment to think about the ending of your domain. If you operate in Slovakia, you’ll probably reach for a local domain (.sk). But don’t forget that in a few years you may be expanding beyond the country’s borders, and a local domain will not be sufficient for you. So, which should you prefer?
Before building a functional website, you’ll first need to purchase a specific domain name. A local or global (.com) domain has an effect in several areas. Each type of domain has its advantages and disadvantages.
A local versus global domain
If a company is initiating operations in Slovakia, it usually suffices to register only one domain – with the .sk ending – in the first months of operation. If, however, it has plans to expand abroad, or if it expects possible typos when writing the URL address, it is advisable to start using foreign domain endings and their variants as soon as possible.
A Slovak local domain (ccTLD) is denoted by the suffix .sk. Each foreign country has its own specific ending (.cz; .hu; .ro...).
The .com domain (gTLD) is a generally known worldwide domain extension. Registering it for your company is a good idea, so that you can use it if necessary or have it redirect to the .sk page.
Each domain ending is specific – it affects not only the user, but also the search engine optimisation (SEO).
Specifics of a local domain
A .sk domain is sufficient for starting a business in Slovakia. If, however, you plan to use a local domain for a multilingual website this is not the right decision.
In the case of a multilingual site, put links to the pages in all the versions, so that users will be able to switch their preferred language.
And don't forget hreflangs either. These attributes are used in SEO to target multilingual websites to a given audience. They inform search engines about the language used on the page.
Professionalism and commitment
Localised domains give companies not only a more professional appearance in the eyes of the public, but also a commitment to their target groups.
A local domain is a good opportunity for a local or international company to attract customers in a new region. Even if you are just entering a foreign market, by localising your website (even using a local domain ending), you will be one step closer to new customers.
Specifics of the .com domain
The .com ending has become a kind of standard for all websites. Since .com was the first commercial domain, it is taken as generic – when entering URLs, users often tend to add .com at the end.
All e-shops that operate in multiple countries should have a .com domain ending.
The influence of the domain on the SEO
The use of a global .com domain gives you an advantage in building up backlinks. Other relevant domains will always link to only one domain – so-called link juice will be created for the global domain and will not be shared between multiple pages (multiple domains).
Additionally, the shift of international versions of web pages from several ccTLDs to a shared gTLD can help improve SEO performance.
The positive impact of such a step is most likely caused by the fact that pages on the same domain share ranking signals with each other more easily than pages on different domains.
However, there is no guarantee that merging country domains into one international domain leads to organic growth of traffic. If only one of the merged domains has a significant number and high quality backlinks prior to the migration, the merger may not generate growth.
Complications when creating a new .com domain
A brand new global domain can have several problems in terms of a SEO.
When different countries or language mutations of a website are hosted on the same domain, they can also share negative evaluations.
If you decide to switch domains on a single page, there is a high risk of generating incorrect redirect strings. Make sure that all old URLs are redirected straight to the new links (and not via intermediate URLs).
Keep all old domains and their SSL certificates. Otherwise, the redirect will cease functioning and the authority of the URL or domain from the past will be lost.
Beware of different brands
Merging all international versions of websites into a single global domain may not work for businesses that use different brands in different countries.
In some countries, people prefer local ccTLDs to gTLDs – particularly if they are customers who prefer visibly localised e-shops.
What domain version is ideal?
Each e-shop is individual and there is no universal solution. It is important to consider not only the quality of the technical provision, but also the customers themselves.
It can happen that for some e-shops a shared global domain will be suitable in some countries, and in other countries you’ll need to give preference to a local one. But such a combination can still pay off for you.
If you are planning to expand abroad and do not know how to solve the issue of language mutations of the e-shop, contact us. We will look over your e-shop and propose an ideal solution.