An SEO professional inquired in a hangout about whether or not the country code top level domain is a ranking factor when it comes to local businesses on Google search.
John answered that yes, he would say that they do use the country code top level domain when it comes to geo-targeting.
He provided a specific example: if somebody is looking for something using a local query, and Google also knows a certain website is focused on that local market, then they will attempt to promote that specific website in the SERPs (search engine results pages).
They will use the top level domain, especially if it’s a country code top level domain. If said domain is not a country code top level domain, then they will check Google Search Console to make sure that there’s not a setting there already that specifies this top level domain.
John recommends making sure that you enable this setting if you have a country code top level domain.
He also provided another example:if someone is searching for something like a washing machine repair manual, this is more of a general query and would be less locally-focused. However, if someone is looking for something such as washing machine repair, then the user intent is most likely local.
He concluded that when you’re looking at your overall website, consider whether or not you need to start targeting a broader range of users who may be searching more globally, or target those searching more locally.
This happens at approximately the 09:25 mark in the video.