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.COM or .CA, Which is Better For Your Business Domain?

By Barbara Beauregard   |    August 28, 2019   |    9:55 AM

Choosing a Domain Extension For Your Canadian Small Business

As a business owner in Canada, you may be wondering whether you should register a .COM or .CA domain. It might sound like these two domain extensions are mostly the same, but there are a number of considerations to keep in mind when choosing which ones you’ll use for your company. 

From online search engine optimization to branding, here’s what you need to know about choosing the right domain extension for your Canadian small business.

Which is better for SEO, .COM or .CA?

When delivering results to a user’s online query, search engines rely on a massive amount of data from your website. The domain extension is one piece of that data, and search engines like Google and Firefox use it to judge your website’s relevancy based on the user’s location. 

This means that search engines will give .CA domains a boost in local search results. .COM domains are not associated with a country, on the other hand. If your business provides local services, registering a .CA domain is a smart move. 

Do Canadians trust .CA domains more than .COM domains?

Many Canadians actively choose to do business with local companies. According to 2016 data from the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), “62% of Canadian Internet users prefer making purchases from Canadian websites over American ones. Respondents cited a desire to support Canadian businesses as a key motivator (44%), but also logistical concerns such as delivery costs (19%), the exchange rate (17%) and customs charges (16%).”

There’s no way to fake the authenticity that comes with a .CA domain either —only Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and businesses can register the domain extension.

.CA domains are helpful for branding

When choosing which domain extension to register, it’s also helpful to think about your company’s overall branding. What type of company do you want to be?

Local businesses use geographic branding elements to attract their target customers, and a .CA extension identifies your business as a 100% Canadian company. If you aren’t sure whether you want to focus on your Canadian roots, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is your business's mission?
  • How can your products or services benefit your target customers?
  • What - if anything - do customers currently think about your company?
  • What traits do you want customers to associate with your brand?

As you work through the questions, you’ll gain a better understanding of the key factors that will influence your brand. 

Which domain you choose will depend on your company’s goals

Before you choose a domain, think carefully about where the target audience you hope to attract. If your company is located in Canada and you hope to attract primarily domestic customers, a .CA domain tends to be the best choice. Or, if the .COM domain you hoped to register is taken, the .CA domain is the clear runner-up. 

However, if your products and services depend on a more international audience, a .COM domain is what you need. And if you aren’t sure which domain extension is best for you, register the .COM, because the domain is trusted around the world.