What’s the difference between .com and .com.au domains?

Written on 13 October, 2013 by Karen Lim-Sam
Categories Domains Tags domain names

If you’re launching a new site or looking at adding domains to an existing one, the choice between .com and the more focused .com.au isn’t always clear. To make it simple, here are the differences between a .com and a .com.au to show you the benefits of both.

Local search

The most important difference is that search engines like Google are smart enough to provide results based on your location, so if your business is primarily Australian, then a .com.au address will help ensure your site appears when Australian customers search for your products or services. This isn’t always guaranteed, but it does add weight to local search rankings.

Global market

On the other hand, if you want your business to trade globally on the web then a .com address may be your best bet. Being one of the original domain extensions, .com tends to make some consumers see the site as more legitimate or better established, but this is a very subjective thing and certain audiences will react to domain extensions differently.

Price difference

It used to be significantly more expensive to register a .com.au address, but in recent times that price has dropped considerably. Depending on who you purchase through, Australian domains may still be more expensive than a regular .com extension. However, this is much less so than in previous years.


Registering a .com.au address requires a registered business name that’s similar or linked to the domain you want to register. Some people see this as a validation of your business existing and being registered, so that can make a difference to consumer confidence. Just remember, however, that it’s not going to make as much difference as an SSL certificate.

Focus on quality

In reality, the domain extension doesn’t matter as much as the domain and site itself. If your content and SEO are optimised properly, your site will appear in search results regardless, and many people don’t pay much attention to the domain extension itself, caring more about the site and the products they’re looking for.

The best option, if it is monetarily viable, is to register both extensions. By having.com and .com.au, you are able to cover both sides of your audience as well as gain the SEO benefits and the authenticity of localised domain registration at the same time.

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