Organisations invest immense amounts of time and money in developing strong brands, increasing awareness using names, logos and design to represent their promise to consumers. Today an organisation’s digital presence is a massive part of brand recognition and a great deal of effort goes into building and maintaining the brand across websites, social media and other assets.
This includes domain names. These are carefully chosen – assuming the relevant ones are still available – and a lot of effort goes into registering different domain names to protect brands. Once up and running, much energy goes into developing steady quality traffic flows to websites through organic SEO and paid ad campaigns.
Background on new Dot Brand domains
Organisations with strong brands can take real advantage by having their own new top-level domain (TLD). This is the last part of an internet address, after the dot, such as .com, .org and .uk. The global internet registrar, ICANN, allowed more generic TLDs (gTLD) to be released a few years ago to relieve pressure on the space and make it easier to register meaningful domain names.
Many internationally renowned brands took advantage of this to register a Dot Brand (.brand) – a unique, personalised TLD to match their brands. Companies like Gucci and Bentley were among hundreds that secured their .brands in the first round of applications, unlocking all manner of benefits from security and improved brand recognition to marketing potential and autonomy over their company domains.
How does this help you?
A .brand provides your company with a single, coherent online presence. Instead of having to create yourbrand.com, yourbrand.org and many of the hundreds of other variations, you can have everything under .yourbrand – neatly avoiding any confusion and helping to advertise authenticity to customers.
If your organisation has a global online presence, a .brand will help you take control of the country issue. You can create au.yourbrand, it.yourbrand and all the other necessary country variations, rather than registering and maintaining hundreds of other domains. A .brand enables you to keep all country instances within your own realm.
How does Google treat Dot Brand domains?
One of the questions we’re often asked is whether switching to a .brand will affect SEO.
Organisations are right to be wary of endangering carefully built up web traffic when making significant changes to domains. As the registry for .uk, .wales and hundreds of other domains, Nominet is well placed to understand the way new gTLDs are being treated by search engines.
The good news is that if it’s done carefully, there is no negative effect on a website’s SEO. Indeed, switching to a .brand may even unlock benefits.
It’s important to understand that a .brand domain (for example .gucci or .bentley) is no different, technically, to any other TLD. Google clarified in a Webmaster Central Blog post that the search giant would not treat a .brand differently to any other TLD.
Once your .brand is up and running it’s important to put a proper plan together to migrate your existing digital assets properly.
At the very least you’ll need to know exactly what content you have and where it sits, then collate the external links pointing to your site(s). Benchmark your current performance in both traffic and rankings so that you can be sure the migration has worked properly. Make sure redirections are put in place to preserve the SEO authority of your pages as they move over.
Find out more
For more detail on this process, there are guidelines on Webmaster Central and many other relevant resources on the web for this crucial task.
There’s also more about .brands and SEO in our whitepaper – download it here.