The last part of your domain name is known as a “top-level domain.” Your top-level domain (TLD) is usually “.com” for a U.S. or global company, but could also be a country (such as “.de” for Germany), but there are many other choices that might make sense for your search marketing program.

The search engines agree on a master list of top level domains that are not specific to a country.  Without a country designator, these domains can be registered and hosted in nearly any country, so the major global search engines each provide country filter settings that allow site owners to designate the appropriate country for their website.   The lists on this page have been cross-checked with Google’s Geotargetable Domains List and Bing’s Gerotargeting Guidelines.

Generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs)


Regional top-level domains

While these domains are associated with a geographical region, they are generally treated as generic top-level domains (much like .com or .org).  It is suggested that you not use these domains where possible because they add to the location confusion.


Generic Country Code Top Level Domains

Many top-level domains that originally were designed to designate websites within certain countries have been co-opted by companies for clever URLs that have nothing to do with the country at all. For example the URL shortener use the TLD of “.ly,” which is designated as websites in Libya. If your website uses this technique, you will need to use each search engine’s webmaster tools interface to let the search engines know what you are doing, so that your search results aren’t restricted to searchers in Libya (in’s case).

It’s one thing for a single website to do this, but when many websites do the same thing, search engines respond by treating that country as a generic top level domain (gTLD), meaning that those websites tend to show up in global search results. Some examples are the use of .tv (for the Pacific island nation of Tuvalu) for television websites, or the use of .me (Montenegro) by Apple for their content storage service. Here are some other examples:


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