nTLD, ccTLD, gccTLD … let’s just say that domain terminology can be confusing. But gccTLDs present a unique opportunity for those who are informed about them, and can have unrealized benefits when it comes to organic search.
To understand what gccTLDs are, and what they mean for online user discovery, you must first understand ccTLDs and the nuances between these two domain types.
What’s a ccTLD?
ccTLDs are country-code top level domains, which are used by (and sometimes exclusively reserved for) countries, sovereign states, or territories and the residents within them.
ccTLDs are also unique in the sense that search engines understand that these domains are geographic-related, and can pinpoint users in that specific area that are searching for keywords related to your website or business. This can be helpful for individuals or businesses that are targeting website visitors in their own country, as a location-specific domain is more likely to be visible to others in the same region. However, it can cause problems for those attempting to use these extensions for a domain hack, or those who want to bring in an international audience.
So what does gccTLD mean?
gccTLDs, on the other hand, are considered generic country-code top level domains, and refer to a group of extensions that have been widely adopted to the point that they no longer benefit from geo-targeting in a Google search. Among the domains that Google considers gccTLDs are .IO, .TV, .WS, .CO, .FM, and more. You can see the full list of gccTLDs on Google’s website.
This is good news for users in countries outside of those specified for a particular ccTLDs because it opens up more room for creativity and innovation. Many gccTLDs are already being used to convey a word or idea that it was not originally intended for. For example, .IO has been adopted by the tech community as a shortened version of “Input/Output”. And .TV, originally a ccTLD for the South Pacific island of Tuvalu, is commonly used for websites related to television.
How do gccTLDs help domain owners?
gccTLDs are good news for those using these domain extensions outside of their typical geographic region. Perhaps you want your tech company to have a website that ends in a .IO domain, but you’re not in the British Indian Ocean Territory—rather than restricting your website to the search results of people in that area, Google will open the field so people across the world can readily see your site in search results.
The prominence of gccTLDs is just one more way that the internet is expanding to become a welcoming environment to website creators.