Thursday, May 08, 2008

All Hail The Dot Link - Or Not?

I talked with Dixon Jones from Receptional yesterday, Dixon lives "across the pond" and is someone I chat with frequently about link building and life in general.

It's always interesting to hear what fellow linkers are noticing and watching, especially those from other countries. There are subtle differences in linking tactics and approach based on cultural customs and engine variations so I'm always looking to pick up a tip or get input on things when they fall outside my native comfort zone.

I pinged Dixon to get his opinion on using dot com's versus country TLD's and because I thought his answer had a lot of great info in it and might benefit someone else, asked him for permission to reprint our conversation. He said OK so here goes...

debra: you think it's better/more advantageous for a business in the UK to use a dot com? Or use a dot How's that affect link building?

Dixon: When I read that question first, I thought you asked what was more "adventurous" rather than what was more "advantageous" - which is interesting, because the two words probably give me different thoughts.

Debra: Yeah well, sorry, my spelling sucks and I probably typed "adventurous" instead of "advantageous". Or maybe my subconscious is trying to tell me something. ;)- So what you think, dot com or dot

Dixon: The absolute safe thing (SEOwise) for a UK company with a UK client base to do is to use a domain hosted on a UK based webserver - then they should 301 redirect the .com domain to the However - this isn't my preferred approach - more about my preference later.

debra: How much later? I have to go get the kids from school soon.

Dixon: Later as in two seconds while I type this. I can't go but so fast.

debra: Ah. Sorry. Again.

Dixon: There are some really important pre-requisites here. The first is that you shouldn't even start if you do not own the .com domain AND the use a domain where you can control both if you can. If you do not, then there is a very real risk that the other TLD is taken and used in a similar way confusing your customers and the very least and having someone profiteering off of your brand at the very worst.

There are many domains available where the .com is taken, and there is a tendency to jump on these. Before buying one, check that the .com owner is established in a different business and certainly not likely to be mistaken for you. Sometimes things happen the other way around. When I started out, I bought ... but I was a poor man, and the was cheaper. Unfortunately, was taken. Now there is a company of several hundred architects presumably kicking themselves for not buying the .com. (If they had at least thanked me for redirecting their misguided emails for 8 years I might care, but not even a Christmas card so far)

debra: Well that's pretty rude of them. Want me to point some links at them and....

Dixon: No no no. Anyway... The real key for Google last time I looked was where the server is hosted - not the domain name itself. I suspect that this may be changing over time, but the "adventurous" route is not to 301 the to the .com, but rather to use the .com HOSTED ON A UK SERVER (very important) and then 301 the onto it. This gives you a much better grounding on which to go global. Because let's face it - adventurous is nothing if not about expanding in the future.

debra: All that redirecting and being adventurous makes my head hurt.

(Inserted: Dixon ignores me here and keeps typing)

Another reason for needing both TLDs is that people in the UK certainly do assume a url and type it in. They are as likely to make a mistake using .com instead of as they are the other way around.

debra: Yeah, using the dot com is easier and less typing. Glad to know people are lazy everywhere not just here in Virginia.

debra: So how do you determine where a site is hosted? Have a tool for this lazy person?

Dixon: If anyone needs to know where a site is hosted, there are a few tools - one is at You first need to ping the domain (which I do from the DOS/CMD window) "ping" to get the IP number of the site. And for the record, Geobytes isn't mine.


Good information as usual, thanks for the input Dixon.

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