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If I am thinking about using one of the fancy country domains such as .me or .tv should I be worried about how Google treats such domains?

Or to put it another way, if all other things are equal (good content, links etc.), will Google regard a .tv or .me as equal to a traditional .com or co.uk site?

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Official Answer: support.google.com/webmasters/bin/… –  unixman83 Mar 25 '12 at 20:20
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up vote 19 down vote accepted

There are no penalties or preferences given for TLDs in google.com. All TLDs are treated equally in a google.com web search.

However, TLDs do affect your search results for country specific searches. For example, a .me or .tv domain will not rank as well as a .us website in a google.us web search. Also, a .co.uk site will rank better then a .us site in a google.co.uk search. This is because country specific searches give precedence to local websites.

So if you are targeting a specific country or region, try to use the TLD for that country or region. If not then the TLD does not make a difference.

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Since you can set a target country for your site in Google webmaster tools, presumably doing so would negate the effect of this? –  Tim Fountain Aug 17 '10 at 15:38
    
+1 Good answer. –  RandomBen Aug 17 '10 at 15:55
    
I don't know if this is 100% true. I've always heard that .edu and .gov sites get treated a little nicer when it comes to pagerank, which makes sense since not just anyone can register those. –  GSto Aug 19 '10 at 19:20
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That's not true for two reasons. Pagerank has nothing to do with TLDs. PR is all about link popularity (it's a published formula). And .edu and .gov pages can be modified by regular people. 99% of .edu pages are made by STUDENTS. .gov is less abused but it can have bogus info put up. And since Google already has a good formula for ranking pages they don't need to use arbitrary bonuses especially ones that aren't based on facts. –  John Conde Aug 19 '10 at 19:50
    
Hi there, thanks for closing my post and redirecting me here. Still the same question though: will there be any difference in local search between a .com.sg domain and a .sg domain? –  Sei Jun 26 '12 at 5:25
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In short: no, Google does not penalize .me or .tv sites by default.

Google would generally treat .me and .tv domains the same as .com. They're all seen as generic TLDs (gTLDs), so they are not country-specific by default (technically, .me and .tv are ccTLDs, but since they're used so widely, Google treats them as gTLDs).

.co.uk is a bit different - it's a ccTLD, so it's country-specific. For those, it's possible that they are shown a bit higher in the local search results in the UK. However, you can achieve the same effect by using Google Webmaster Tools' geotargeting feature. More on that is at http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2010/03/working-with-multi-regional-websites.html.

For other search engines, it's probable that .me & .tv are also seen as gTLDs, but I'm not 100% certain (these things can change over time). Also, in general, unless you can specify geotargeting with them, they will use the server's location for geotargeting of gTLDs - so if you have a .com website hosted in the UK, it's probable that they will use that as a signal that you are trying to target the UK.

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is there a list somewhere of the technically country-specific TLDs which Google treats as generic? And does Google state this policy openly anywhere? –  hawbsl Mar 17 '11 at 9:38
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See this webmaster tools help document. It explains the policy and gives a list of all the generic top level domains: support.google.com/webmasters/answer/1347922 –  Stephen Ostermiller Oct 18 '13 at 18:52
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