top of page

What Is the Difference Between '.com' and '.com.au' Domains?

Choosing the perfect domain name is a lot like picking out a name for your business—it's a decision that shapes your online identity and influences how easily customers can find you. It's a key part of your digital marketing strategy, influencing both brand building and search engine optimisation (SEO).


Feeling overwhelmed by options like ".com" and ".com.au"? No worries! We're here to guide you through it.


Understanding Domain Names

Domain names are the web addresses that guide users to your website. Much like a physical address leads people to a specific location, a domain name, when entered into a browser, directs them to your website. 


Domain names consist of two main parts: 

  • Your unique name: This could be your business name or something catchy that represents your brand.

  • Top-Level Domain (TLD): TLDs function like categories, broadly indicating the type of website or its geographical location.


Meaning of .com and .com.au

  • .com meaning: Short for "commercial," the ".com" domain is the most recognised TLD worldwide. 

  • .com.au meaning: Reserved for commercial entities in Australia, the ".com.au" domain is a country-code TLD that indicates your business's Australian presence or focus. 


Key Differences Between '.com' and '.com.au'

Now, let’s dive deeper. The choice between ".com" and ".com.au" hinges on understanding their fundamental differences:


Target Audience

  • .com: This TLD has no geographical limitations and targets a global audience. Businesses aiming for international reach and brand recognition worldwide should consider this option. 

  • .com.au: This TLD specifically targets Australian audiences. It's ideal for businesses operating primarily in Australia or wanting to establish a strong local identity. 


Eligibility and Regulations

  • .com: Obtaining a ".com" domain is generally open to anyone globally, with minimal registration requirements. 

  • .com.au: Registering a ".com.au" domain requires demonstrating an "Australian presence". This can be established by having an Australian Business Number (ABN) or an Australian trademark.


Cost and Availability

  • .com: Due to its widespread demand and fewer available names, ".com" domains are generally more expensive and competitive.

  • .com.au: Compared to ".com", ".com.au" domains might be slightly cheaper and offer more availability, especially for keywords related to Australia.


Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

  • .com: ".com" domains might have a slight edge in international SEO due to their global recognition. 

  • .com.au: However, ".com.au" can be beneficial for local SEO within Australia. Search engines often prioritise local results with relevant TLDs, making your website more visible to Australian searchers.


Tip: Wondering about SEO costs in Australia? We can answer those questions too!


Branding and Trust

  • .com: ".com" is often associated with established and internationally recognised brands. Choosing this TLD can project a sense of global authority.

  • .com.au: Opting for ".com.au" clearly conveys a connection to Australia and can build trust with the local audience.


Still confused? Here’s a table to clearly outline the advantages and drawbacks of each domain type. 

Feature

.com Domain

.com.au Domain

Overview

The most widely recognised and used domain globally.

Specific to Australia, signifying businesses operating within the country.

Global vs. Local

Global appeal, ideal for international businesses.

Strong local presence, ideal for businesses targeting the Australian market.

Advantages

- Global authority and credibility.

- Broad market reach.

- Establishes a clear Australian presence.

- Improved search engine rankings for local searches.

Drawbacks

- High competition and cost.

- Less emphasis on local presence.

- Primarily suitable for the Australian market.

- Must comply with specific regulatory requirements.

Registration Criteria

No specific local presence required.

Requires demonstrating an "Australian presence," such as having a registered business in Australia or a trademark.


So, Which Domain Extension Is Right for You?

Target Audience

Who are you trying to reach? 


If your focus is global, ".com" might be suitable. But if your primary clientele is in Australia, ".com.au" would be a better choice.


Business Goals

Do you aim for international recognition or prioritise establishing a strong presence within the Australian market? 


Aligning your domain name with your business goals is crucial. 


Brand Consistency

Choose a domain name that aligns with your existing brand identity and marketing materials to maintain consistency across all platforms. 


Availability and Budget

Check the availability of your desired name with both TLDs and factor in the potential cost differences before making a final decision.


Introducing .au Direct Domain Names

Managed by auDA, the official domain name authority in Australia, .au direct lets you ditch the long ".com.au" and embrace a shorter, sharper address.


How to Register for .au

Since March 24, 2022, the .au domain has been open for business. Here's what you need to know to make one yours:

  1. Check Eligibility: You need to prove you have a connection to Australia. This can include having an Australian business number (ABN) or a trademark registered in Australia that matches the domain you want.

  2. Domain Availability: The priority period for existing domain owners to claim their .au equivalents ended on September 20, 2022. Now, you can apply for any .au domain that is available.

  3. Understand Priority Claims: If there was more than one claim for the same .au domain during the initial 6-month priority period, the domain would have been allocated based on who had the oldest existing domain or through an agreement between the claimants.

  4. Yearly Registration: If you get a .au domain, you can register it year by year. This approach is designed to give others a chance to claim the domain in the future if it becomes available.

  5. Existing com.au and net.au Domains: If you already own a com.au or net.au domain, it remains yours. Registering a new .au domain does not affect your current domains.


Does Your Domain Name Really Matter?

Picking the right domain ending (.com, .com.au, or .au) matters! It should fit your audience, goals, and brand image, all while considering your budget. Each option has its charm and is designed to resonate with specific audiences.


Here's the thing: a catchy domain name is just the first step. To attract visitors and hit your online goals, you'll need a good SEO strategy. Think high-quality content, user-friendly website design, and effective optimisation. 


This is where JRNY Digital steps in! We'll help you navigate the world of domain names, lead generation SEO strategies, and unlock the full potential of your virtual space. Contact us today!

Comments


READY TO TAKE YOUR BUSINESS TO THE NEXT LEVEL?

bottom of page