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I want to get a domain for my site. The site's topic would be about Vienna, but the content will be in English.

I was thinking, if I should get .com domain or .at domain. .at is both much cheaper and easier to get (there is less chance that my desired phrase is already registered).

Is there any disadvantage in terms of SEO and page rank, if my domain does not end with .com? The site will be in English and targeted not just for Austria, but globally, mostly foreign tourists.

I don't care if it's easy to remember the address, I expect most traffic to be from search engines anyway.

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4 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Google, and probably other search engines too, uses ccTLDs as a "strong signal" that a site is intended for a specific country. Using .at, therefore, wouldn't be ideal for what you describe.

So if your target is global avoid .at, but you needn't use .com - any gTLD should do the trick, and probably be cheaper.

Sources:

http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=182192, especially:

ccTLDs […] are tied to a specific country (for example .de for Germany, .cn for China), and therefore are a strong signal to both users and search engines that your site is explicitly intended for a certain country. […] We also treat some vanity ccTLDs (such as .tv, .me, etc.) as gTLDs, as we've found that users and webmasters frequently see these as being more generic than country-targeted"

Edited for relevance, bold emphasis mine.

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Could you cite any sources? Your answer is exact contradiction of what Grant has answered. –  Tschareck Sep 11 '12 at 18:28
    
Source added, as requested. –  GDav Sep 18 '12 at 10:39
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I don't think the TLD has a direct impact on SEO, as long as you use good page titles and a readable URL structure.

It's long been a convention to use .com addresses for business websites, as well as near any other site, simply because of the prevalence of .com addresses. But it's now much harder to get meaningful domain names on .com because of how widely used the TLD is used.

A country-specific TLD is quite appropriate in the case that the site is based in that country or is about that country, or the owner or operator is in the country.

All of that to say, if you can get your desired .at domain name, then get it and get to work!

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For local business in the UK I would say that .co.uk addresses are far more common. (Although you'd naturally get the .com as well if it was available.) –  w3d Aug 29 '12 at 9:07
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Could you cite any sources? Your answer is exact contradiction of what GDav has answered. –  Tschareck Sep 11 '12 at 18:28
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I'd say get both, if you can! And use 301 redirection for the secondary(s).

I am bemused at the number of times I've given .uk URLs and email addresses to people, who've immediately read it back as .com. A good job, I usually hold the .com domain too.

.com is so ingrained in people's brains. Pretty much any other TLD (or ccTLD) has potential for confusion!

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I wonder how many UK folk search on google.com rather than google.co.uk (or know the difference)? (Although it does usually redirect to .co.uk if you're not logged in.) –  w3d Aug 29 '12 at 9:15
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If you target a country, use the ccTLD of that country.

In your case, if you wanted to target Vienna, use .at domain name.

If you want to target the global user group, use other Generic TLDs such as .com, .org, .net or .info

But it is always safe to register a .com domain name and park it on your primary domain for typo reasons, because people has got this habit of hitting a ctrl+enter and you may loose a lot of direct traffic.

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