Over the last few weeks we have had a few clients going through the process of choosing a domain name and a regular question seems to arise "Should I choose .com or .co.nz?".
At the end of the day what domain you choose to put your website on is entirely up to you. For some, using a .com domain may project the image of a large company that they are wanting to, but for the vast majority of New Zealand businesses - using a location specific domain that ends with .co.nz is what we would suggest. Why? Google.
One of the first things search engines look at is your domain name - and specifically, location of that domain. To use an analogy, think of your local Yellow Pages. If you were to go look up a service in that local Yellow Pages it would be a reasonably straight forward task - you know all of those companies listed work within your region, so the search would be relevant. Now imagine if that Yellow Pages had the rest of New Zealand in it...in fact...the rest of the world. Imagine how cumbersome the task would become. That is the issue that search engines face every day. To help with that task, the search engine will look at a websites domain, look at where it is from and gives local pages priority in any local searches.
If you want some proof of this theory in action - Google 'car' from where you are sitting in New Zealand. We did (screenshot attached), and on the front page there were the usual location and news results, plus 9 search results. 8 of those search results were .co.nz - with the only other result being Wikipedia. The proof is in the pudding.
By no means are we saying that you won't show up in a local search result if you have a .com website address. However, in our opinion, it takes longer to start getting results in New Zealand with a .com domain. So if you are selling primarily in New Zealand, want to jump-start your google results and are deciding what domain to use - we say go for .co.nz wherever possible.
THE POWER OF .CO.NZ IN NEW ZEALAND - SEE BELOW A SEARCH FOR 'CAR'. NO .COM RESULTS AT ALL...