Are exchanged or reciprocal links okay with Google?
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Does using .US Versus .COM affect my site’s SEO?

Does using .US Versus .COM affect my site's SEO?

Today’s Style an SEO question comes from David in California who asks:

“I have a .us domain. I just bought the .com equivalent as well. From an SEO perspective, is it so important which one I use? My intention right now is to stick with .us and redirect any .com traffic to the original URL. Thoughts? ”

Hi David,

This is a good question and something that comes up regularly. It comes up so often that you can find numerous tests like this one from Bill Hartzer.

I personally use a land-based TLD (top-level domain) as well as keyword-based TLDs for branding purposes. But to answer your question, we should think about what will be best for your end users.


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Google may prefer a land-based top-level domain for someone searching in that country if there is no better content and UX to display for a particular query.

You will also want to check and make sure that you have your country / language declarations set in yours tags if you only focus on that country.

It is a reasonable assumption that the land-based TLD like .us can be favored when the above is true. This is because Google should expect the local language and content to match the local person searching.

But keep in mind that regardless of the TLD, the page the person lands on must provide value just like a .org and a .com.


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If you are a publisher and looking for traffic that is only in the US, this may be ok for you. But you also need to think about the user.

Many users know and trust .com inferences on a domain. They may also have a tendency to click through at a higher speed due to .com. The exception, from what I’ve seen, is when the TLD is tagged to make a fun pun.

I do not know if any of these exist (and do not control), but SEO.Agency, Singles.Dating or Broadway.Shows are all fun games on words that could generate more clicks.

With these domains, you can brand a build and develop a landing page, which should be the goal of every webmaster and SEO.

I used to use .me for my personal sites because I had tag lines that the content was about me. I would match it in metadata etc (although .me is for Montenegro).

I have stopped doing this now but was able to rank sites all over the world even though TLD is .me.

If you are not based in the US and you are wondering about a land based TLD vs. a .com, the land-based can win.


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If it is a purchase or service request, the consumer may have to assume that you can ship within the country if you have the land-based top-level domain, making it cheaper and easier to shop than a .com, which can be based anywhere. preferably.

One last thing to consider is backlinks. People assume .com is the official site, and once I’ve done interviews, I’ve had to check where they link to since I use a .me.

The interviewer (including major media interviews) will sometimes link to the .com site (which I do not own), even if they say and repeat .me when verifying my URL.


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From an SEO standpoint, you can probably rank any TLD, but a .com certainly has benefits.

Make sure you have a good user experience on the site, you get good and natural backlinks, and you develop copy that adds value.

Good question and I hope my answer helps.


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