I basically have 2 questions about local TLD vs .com.

First question: There already exists a website "keyword.nl" with a crappy website, no SEO optimisation. Is it possible for a website "keyword.com" to rank higher than the "keyword.nl" website on "google.nl" when searching for "keyword"? Or will it always display the .nl website higher because it's a local TLD and the URL consists entirely and only from the searched keyword and it's searched on the .nl version of google?

Second question: I know it's good for SEO to have many websites link to your website. But I also read that local TLD's will score higher on that specific google TLD (.fr website will rank higher in google.fr, etc.) With both those facts in mind, is it better to create a "keyword.com/fr/" and "keyword.com/nl/" website or a "keyword.fr" and a "keyword.nl" website? (In other words, .com/langauge for more links to the website, or a "keyword.local-TLD" website for every different language version of the website) Or maybe even a subdomain? ("fr.keyword.com?")

Kinda new to this, so thanks in advance!

--Edit: additional info--

The reason that I phrased the original question like this is because I wanted to keep the question strictly "webmaster-side". However I feel like maybe I should clarify the background of this question more thoroughly, so the question becomes more clear, and thus the answer. But I don't know if this would make the question a more legal one instead of a "webmaster" one, so please correct me if this is the wrong place to post this question.

I'm a student working on websites in my sparetime, I have basic knowledge about SEO, but that was all local, for companies operating only in one country. However this time a friend contacted me who wants to found a company called "X" (e.g). He wants to ship/operate to multiple countries, but he will first found it (and he himself) lives in The Netherlands (.nl). However there already exists a company in The Netherlands called "x" with the website "x.nl". As far as I understood, the fact that both the companies are called "x" doesn't matter, in trademark/company registery terms, since they are both operating in different work sectors.

But the main issue here is, could my friends website "x.com/nl" outrank the "x.nl" on "google.nl" if you only search on the brand name; "x"?


Hi, thanks a lot for your answer, it gave me some clarification however I feel you misunderstood my first question because of my use of "keyword.com" as an example URL. So I don't really know what conclussion I should draw from your first answer. I updated my question with additional info to clarify it more broadly. From your second answer this is what I understand: A .nl URL will not do that great on google.com, however a .com URL can do just as well as a .nl search on google.nl? So considering the info above, it's best to go with a x.com/fr and a x.com/nl URL, right? Please correct me if I misunderstood. However, if so, that still leaves the first question, if a "x.nl" is already taken, could a "x.com/nl" still outrank it at "google.nl"?

1 Answer 1


You have two questions here. I will address them one at a time.

Keyword matches against domain names:

Please stop thinking in terms of keywords. Google is a semantics based search engine these days and has been for a long time and as a result does not make direct term matches.

For that reason, term matches against domain names often happen last when all other semantic scoring signals are missing or weak. Even then, any term match seen in the SERPs is an incidental byproduct of the semantics engine. At no time is a term simply matched to a page. In this respect, the SEO online community has mislead you.

This means that it does not always pay to focus on a domain name that is keyword based. It is far better to use a brand name especially if you are a business.

Placement of gTLD versus ccTLD:

gTLDs such as .com, .org, and such are attractive to users all over the world and likely will find their way into local data centers based soley on language and interest. However, ccTLDs such as .fr, .gr, and such will find their way into Google's specific search engines such as google.fr, and google.gr. In addition, these sites can also find their way into other ccTLD based sites based upon language, interest, and locale. All sites will generally perform the same including .com with the exception of localized search being a priority in these more localized search engines.

In this respect, it is reasonable that a .fr site will perform well in google.fr, however, a .com site can perform well there too depending. The converse is a bit different. While it is reasonable that a .com site will perform well in google.com, it is not expected that a .fr site will.

If a global reach is required, a .com site should perform better. However, if a more localized reach is required, then a .fr should perform best. For global sites, including a localized content hierarchy such as /fr, and /en, should perform just as well for global and more localized search.


Okay. I get it. Thanks for the clarification.

It is a real possibility that a .com can outperform x.nl in google.nl with appropriate branding signals. I count 46 branding signals. Here are some of the more important signals.

1] Domain name. Yes it is a good idea to have a brand for a domain name.

2] Using schema.org mark-up for contact information, company name, and brand where you can. This should be on a Contact page, About page, and the best possible place, the footer of each page. Do not forget to include officer information and key personnel. You can place this on your contact page.

3] The title tag. While it is not necessary for a brand name to exist on a title tag, it is a good signal. You would have to manage your title tags from between 45-50 characters (512 pixels is the actual metric) where wider characters such as W, D, G, etc., take up more room. You can use a hyphen (-) just before the brand name or a pipe (|) which will put the brand name at the beginning of the SERP link. I prefer the hyphen, however, you may want to try both to see which works best. If your brand is something like Pepsi, you do need to use pepsi.com as the brand- just Pepsi will do.

4] The home page. The home page should be about the brand and company.

5] The product pages. Do not forget to include the brand names with the product names. You can use schema.org mark-up here too.

6] Backlinks. While it is recommended that links to your site go to specific product or information pages, and that the best links are within content and conversational, it is also good to include the brand within the link text where it makes sense.

7] Navigational links. Brands have navigational links such as Products or Services. As well, there are other common navigational links such as News, Press, and PR. Do not forget some of the less obvious such as HR, Apply, Jobs, etc.

8] Brands participate in social media. Create a Google+ page for the business, LinkedIn profiles, a Facebook page, Twitter account, etc. This list are the more important social signals for brands in order.

9] Co-citations. Where possible, see if you can get your brand discussed along side of another similar brand. You see this when a blogger reviews/compares a single product or product offerings from several companies.

10] Rabid fans. Brands enjoy rabid fans that talk about a product or leave positive comments on the brands site.

11] RCS. This is the most laughable, but really important. RSC stand for Real Company 5h17. Brands have real company [****]. Believe it or not, semantic scores really help identify RCS.

Branding will do the trick. Strong brands always rank higher in search. Please remember that brands do not have to sell stuff. Some SEO sites can be a good example.

Do not forget the usual SEO stuff. Today, Google is a semantics based search engine and began that way. It does not make direct keyword matches at all but rather keyword matches are a byproduct. This is actually good. You can formulate your content to take advantage of semantics to increase your search traffic. You are not tricking/gaming the search engine, however, you are using linguistics in a smarter way to broaden the scope of positive search results. Someday I will get into this more with a good example.

  • Thanks a lot for your answer! I tried to reply to you but I reached the character limit, see the edited post for my reply! :) Oct 23, 2015 at 0:10
  • @vincentkleine I added an update at the bottom of the answer. Thanks for the clarification! I think I get it now. ;-) If not, rattle my chain. I do not bite. Cheers!!
    – closetnoc
    Oct 23, 2015 at 0:54

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