Top level domains, or to say it different, the domain name extension, is the part of the domain name that appears after the dot. For example i could say domainingredient.com has a top level domain of dot com. The story regarding top level domains, is that choosing the best one possible, can have an enormous impact on how well your website does with search engine rankings. You must make your best decision at day one because once you buy a domain, you cannot make alterations to it. You are essentially stuck unless you purchase a new one all over again. Regarding country code top level domains, these are top domain names that are country specific by having the dot be the initials of a country. For example, any word .us , would be a country code top level domain for the United States. Mostly such a domain would be intended to drive local traffic to the owner of the domain name.
When thinking of the advantages of a country code domain name, one would see it as an advantage if you were wanting to go after traffic from a specific part of the globe. The thing is. search engines around the world offer differing results which are determined by the IP address of the people that are utilizing the search engine. As the search engine delivers results, you can see that much of the results are of local entities, and they come up on page one. The exception to this rule is dot com. What i am trying to say is, when you do a search from a computer located at Chicago, dot us will com up before dot uk, however dot com dominates both, and that scenario is world wide.
Therefore if you own a local business at Chicago, having a dot us domain name will send traffic to Chicago residents before the search engine would send traffic to a dot uk. Then on top of using a country code to grab traffic, using local business directories would make sense as well. If you are asking yourself, why not just use a dot com? That is easier said than done when you consider how impossible it can be sometimes to buy the dot com you would love to own. Country code domains are purchased every day because dot coms are not available, or a person is really trying to drive home the point regarding local authority in the area of business they are in.
The truth be told, country code domain names offer a wider range of available name possibilities, because dot com, dot net, and dot org, are so heavily bought up already. It can really seem as though the situation is saturated, and the country code domain then becomes more of an attractive option.