Should I register a website with a foreign extension such as “.de”, “co.jp”, “.co.cn”, etc. . . .?

We strongly advise against registering domains with foreign extensions! Contrary to general belief, there is no ranking priority based on the extension. Think about the fact that e-markets such as the Japanese web or, again, the Hispanic web, reflect over 40% of businesses which have registered either a .com or a .net or another type of extension besides the one of their native country.

It would be impossible for search engines to give ranking priority to foreign extensions because the ramifications involved are much deeper than they appear. In fact, let’s use French-speaking search engines as an example. “.fr” (France) would be eligible for priority rankings, but what about “.ch” (Switzerland) or “.be” (Belgium)? “.ch” applies to French, German, and Italian, while “.be” applies equally to French and Flemish, which are the native languages of those countries. It would be impossible for search engines to make the distinction.

Furthermore, registering a foreign extension is not always culturally correct. In fact, if you were to register a “.de” for your German entry page, many people in Germany would think that you are trying to fake a physical presence in Germany . . .Swiss and Austrians would look at you as a German-based company, which would not be recommended in your particular case. The complications go even beyond these reasons. What would you register for your French-speaking page considering that you are not allowed to register a “.fr” unless your business has a physical presence in France and is officially registered with the French government? It is exactly the same with “.es” (Spain). You need an office located in Spain and a business registered with the Spanish government!

Some countries have allowed the registration of their respective extensions by foreign entities (i.e., “.de”, “.co.jp”, “.co.cn”, “.ca”, etc.) But once again, we advise against using such methodology.

Click here to read a very valuable article written by Dr. Mathias Levarek, titled, “Ranking Eligibility of Foreign Domain Extensions”.

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