Google approves .co domain for international use

By Nicole Kobie

Google has clarified its stance on the .co domain, days after it was released for sale globally.

Registrars are pushing the Colombian domain as an alternative to the largely oversubscribed .com. However, Google normally keeps country-specific top level domains local, so those with a extension rank better in the UK but not as well elsewhere.

Neutral top-level domains such as .net and .com can have a global reach or be targetted at a specific area using the search giant’s webmaster tools.

Some country specific domains have crossed over, such as Tuvalu’s .tv or Montenegro’s .me, which Google now treats generically.

While the .co domain is still assigned to Colombia at the moment, a Google spokesperson said that would soon change. “We will rank .co domains appropriately if the content is globally targeted. Webmasters will soon have the functionality to be able to specify this by using the geotargeting options in Google Webmaster Tools.”

The clarification comes days after the .co domains went on sale, leaving some buyers wondering if their URL investment would pay off.

Joe Williams, of SEO Training UK, said Google’s statement should “make for plain sailing soon.”

“Although it’s still disappointing how the domain has been advertised without it actually being ‘fit for purpose’ from the go,” he added.

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