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I'm a graphic designer, with a fairly niche specialism, based in the UK. Originally all my clients were based in the UK, but over recent years I've picked up a few clients from other countries, from them having done web searches.

My current domain name has the .co.uk ending. Would my site be more easily found/rank higher in countries other than the UK if the domain was .com?

I'm a newbie to this. Am I correct in thinking that most of the time a search engine will try and find websites that are 'close' to where it thinks the searcher is? So someone searching in say Australia for a specialist graphic designer, will probably get search results for designers in their city/country? And therefore a .com TLD will not make any difference.

I presume there would also be a hit to my rankings if I change the TLD (and the actual domain name).

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My experience tells me a .co.uk domain will rank better in the UK and not as well outside the UK, and the reverse is true with a .com.

Be mindful however that .com (ie the world - or at least English Speaking World here) is a very big place compared to the UK, so you will at least somewhat go from being "a big fish in a small pond" to "a small fish in a big pond" and you may well find it harder to overcome that penalty if you are relying on SEO.

Of-course, Google should still somewhat know you are in the UK and will still give it some weight, so all is not lost.

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I think .co.uk domain is likely to rank higher in the UK, but it does not mean it will not rank better in other countries. Yet .com domain would be the better option.

Changing the domain name will hit ranking if you do not set up redirects correctly. If it is a website and not a blog, you have to redirect fewer pages to maintain ranking. (I am not an expert, it's my view)

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Yes, that's right, search engines usually show results that are more relevant to location. However, changing the domain from .co.uk to .com can be helpful in supporting your international audience and increasing your visibility outside of the UK, but you will need to properly set up your 301 redirects and SEO strategy to avoid a possible blow to your current positions.

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