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Google shares how it treats.AI domains for SEO

Gary Illyes, Google's Gary Illyes, shared an interesting fact regarding how Google treats the.AI domains when it comes to SEO.


Gary Illyes, Google's SEO Office Hours expert, answered a question regarding the use of the.AI extension since it is associated with the Caribbean island Anguilla. His response was a bit surprising.


What is the Difference between a gTLD & a ccTLD?

There are two types of domain names. There are two types of domain names: gTLDs and ccTLDs.


gTLD

A gTLD stands for a Generic Top Level Domain. These domains can be used anywhere in the world and are not tied to any particular country.

The most common gTLDs include.com.,.net.,.org.,.biz., and. xyz.


ccTLD

A ccTLD refers to a TLD that is specific to a country.

.uk,.in and other ccTLDs that are related to the United Kingdom or India are examples of ccTLDs.


Google uses ccTLDs for localizing websites with the TLDs that are associated with those countries.

Google is aware that a country's.in TLD is important for Indians.


Google can determine the country of origin by using the. in domain extension.

The way people expect the internet to function is the same as how it works in general.


.AI is a ccTLD


Some ccTLDs are more than just the country with which they are associated.

The tiny island of Tuvalu, for example, has a ccTLD called. TV.

The. TV TLD is best for websites that want to brand themselves as (or relevant to) television.

Similar to.AI, it is a ccTLD associated with Anguilla in the Caribbean.


Is it OK for a global company to use.AI?

The questioner wanted to know whether it was okay to use a country code TLD such as. AI.


It is a concern that the use of the.AI domain name could unintentionally limit the site to Anguilla, making it more difficult to rank it in other countries such as the United States.

The question was:

Google considers the domain.ai as a ccTLD of Anguilla. Should a global company choose the.ai as its gTLD?

Gary Illyes, a Google employee, offers what may seem to be a surprising response.

Gary's response:

Google Search will treat.ai in early 2023 as a generic TLD, so you can definitely use it to build your global presence.


I think it's surprising because.AI has been used by many businesses.

Google used to treat.AI domains as gTLDs, not ccTLDs. However, this wasn't always true.

Google did not treat.AI a gTLD before June 2023.

Gary's response highlights the importance of checking if the domain extension selected for a website has been treated as a "ccTLD" or a "gTLD" because this could affect the ability of the website to rank globally.


The use of a top-level domain that Google considers localized for a particular country can negatively impact the ability of the website to rank outside the country with which the ccTLD has been associated.


List of ccTLDs Google uses as if they were gTLDs


Google provides a list of ccTLDs that are treated as generic top-level domains by Google.

List of ccTLDs that are treated as gTLDs, including. asia and. eu. The. ad domain, the. co domain, the. fm and. tv domains, as well as.ai, are also treated like gTLDs.

There are many other ccTLDs that Google treats as if it were a gTLD.



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