Using country-specific top-level domains for your international SEO localisation strategy of your Fintech business
January 12, 2023
CEO | MEHRHOFF DIGITAL
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Congratulations, your Fintech or Financial Services business, has conquered your home country with a specific ccTLD, and you decided to expand to another country, expecting the same results. Are you wondering why you cannot drive traffic and sales as outlined in your quarterly and yearly strategy meetings? Does it sound familiar?
Geolocation is essential to search engine optimisation (SEO), and choosing the right ccTLD can help you optimise your website for a specific region or country. The search engines, such as Google or country-specific, Naver (Korea), Yandex (Russia), and Baidu (China), indicate where the website is registered and who it targets.
What is a country-specific top-level domain ccTLD?
All domain names are followed by a "." and a few letters (e.g. the "com" part of mehrhoffdigital.com). This is called a top-level domain (TLD). Almost 45 per cent of all websites worldwide use ".com" for their business or private projects. But being popular doesn't mean it's right for your website.
Website owners who want to stand out from the crowd can use country code top-level domains. ccTLDs are unique top-level domain names that only apply to a specific country. For example, instead of a generic ".com" website, you can use ".ch" if your business is based in Switzerland or ".de" for websites in Germany.
Advantages of country-specific top-level domains (ccTLDs) for Fintech and Financial Services businesses.
If you were a local looking for the best financial advisor in Zurich, which website would you trust more: one ending in ".com" or one ending in ".ch"? Of course, Swiss readers would trust the website with the ccTLD ".ch" because it is more likely that the information was written with a local understanding of its market environment and regulations.
Not only do users think this way, but search engines do too. Adding a ccTLD to your Fintech or Financial Services website shows the world that the information is targeted at prospects in your targeted region. A country code top-level domain name has many benefits:
Better branding and credibility
Increased Local SEO performance
Better lead generation, resulting in more qualified leads
Ultimately more sales and revenue
SEO benefits for country-specific top-level domains (ccTLD) for Fintech and Financial Services websites
Making your website more visible to search engines increases traffic - and isn't that what every business owner wants? Your website is more likely to be found when you add a country-specific top-level domain (ccTLD) while expanding internationally, conquering new local markets, and fully complying with local laws. This makes it easier for search engines and users to quickly figure out which content on your site applies specifically to their needs!
Google knows where you are. Let's say a user performs an internet search "local tax advisor" in Switzerland. In this case, Google will show him, for example, results that are local tax advisors and most likely contain country-specific information. This means that websites with .ch domains can be found high up in the Google SERPs due to their country-specific top-level domain (ccTLD) and thus receive more attention, which leads to higher sales and revenue than the competition for this search query.
The most common use case for ccTLDs is the internationalisation of your specific business into other countries, with a different language, laws and regulations, specifically relevant for Fintech and Financial Services companies. By using a ccTLD, the strongest signal you can send to a search engine that your content is targeted to a specific country."
Imagine three identical websites: example.com, example.de and example.ch. They all have the same information, expertise and trustworthiness. The website with the ".ch" domain name will have an advantage in Switzerland when targeted to Swiss users, thanks to the ccTLD. You work towards a more robust SEO strategy with a country-specific top-level domain without keeping up with Google's and the respective countries changing rules.
Example of a local mortgage provider that has the .com TLD. The company MoneyPark has the .com TLD, moneypark.com, yet in the long run, this company decided to use the specific country domain moneypark.ch, as the local population perceived this as more trustworthy and locally anchored. This has naturally led to higher sales and a better rating.
Branding advantages of country-specific top-level domains (ccTLDs)
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is, of course, all about ranking high in organic search. A ccTLD linked to your website gives you additional credibility with local users.
Suppose you have a financial services, i.e. health insurance, company in Germany, and your target audience is looking for the best private health insurance (PKV). Which website will you trust more: one with the extension ".com" or one with ".ch" or ".de"? You know that the website ending in ".de" is based in Germany and is more likely to offer more reliable content. A domain name that refers to your field of activity makes your website a more reliable local resource than the websites of competitors with generic domains.
Is a country-specific top-level domain (ccTLD) the right choice for your business?
A country-specific top-level domain name is, of course, not suitable for every website. ccTLDs are best for websites that want to attract visitors from a specific region or establish themselves as experts in a particular country. For websites that contain general content for an international audience, it may be better to stick with one of the more generic domain names such as ".com", ".net", or ".org".
Remember that ccTLDs are not tied to language. If you are based in Switzerland but run a website in French, using a ".fr" domain name will not help drive traffic to your website. ccTLDs are meant to indicate countries, not languages.
If you want to increase the number of visitors to your website, a country code top-level domain (ccTLD) is just what you need. ccTLDs are the best way to show search engines and users that the content of your website is targeted at a specific country or region.
You're missing out if you do not already execute a sophisticated SEO localisation strategy promoting your business internationally while fully compliant with local regulations. Do you need someone to help you find the right Domain strategy? So what are you waiting for? Get started today!