Change Your Domain Name, for Better Search Ranking

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When you first registered your domain name, did you get the one you wanted or settle for what was available? Settling for a less than ideal name was the case for a lot of us who put our local business on the web in the past ten years or so.

We are now at the beginning of the “Not Com Revolution,” with hundreds of new domain name endings (also called TLDs — Top Level Domains) coming available. Many of these have keywords in them, and some even include a location or geo-identifier.

This “revolution” represents an enormous opportunity for local business to take advantage of a better name and, potentially, better search engine rankings along with it.

In this article, I provide details on these new TLDs and how they can help improve your standing in search.

Geo-based New TLDs

There are several new geo-based TLDs available (or coming available soon) to which you could move your website. For example, if your business is in New York City, you may consider buying a .NYC domain name and moving your site to it.

If your current domain name includes the location — such as “KeywordNewYork.com” or “NewYorkKeyword.com” — then you could move to a shorter, more desirable name that ends in .NYC.

Other examples of geo-based domain name endings are .Miami, .London, and .Berlin. More are coming soon, and you can see the list of those currently available at the nTLDStats website.

nTLDStats website contains a list of new TLDs.

nTLDStats website contains a list of new TLDs.

Some of the new geo-based TLDs have certain requirements, which your business must meet to be eligible to purchase a domain name. To use the .NYC TLD, for example, you must reside in or have a business address in one of the five boroughs.

This requirement is reasonable, and one of which search engines are aware. As a result, your website might see a search engine ranking benefit if you move to one of these new geo-based TLDs.

A website with the domain, “Furniture.nyc,” may rank well when Google users from the New York City area search for “furniture.” Even though the query does not include a geo-related keyword (“furniture” versus “new york furniture”), the site will rank well because the search engines recognize the geo-related domain name ending.

Non-geo-related TLDs

If you do most of your business in a location that’s not currently available in a new TLD, including the geolocation at the beginning of the domain name should help.

For example, if you are in the construction business, and your current domain name is something like “NewYorkConstruction.com,” then you may be able to find your ideal name, such as “NewYork.Construction.”

There are a great many keywords in the new TLD list, including .construction, .plumbing, .florist, .limo, and others. Domain speculators and investors have already purchased many of the domains associated with larger cities, but cities with populations of less than 100,000 (or even 250,000) are generally available.

Typically, when you move from a longer, more undesirable domain name to a new keyword-rich, shorter name, there won’t be any problems with traffic to your website. If done properly, redirecting users and search engine crawlers to the new domain won’t affect search engine rankings adversely either.

The process of moving is relatively simple, and involves the following steps:

  • Backup your website;
  • Transfer the content to the new domain name (after setting up web hosting for it);
  • Crawl your current website, using a crawler such as Screaming Frog SEO Spider;
  • Make a list of all of the pages on the old domain name:
  • Set up 301 Permanent Redirects from the old pages to the pages on the new domain:
  • Contact site owners that link to your old website and let them know that you’ve moved to a new domain name;
  • Tell the search engines that you’ve moved to a new domain name (typically done in the search engines’ Webmaster Tools area);
  • Encourage the search engines to crawl the sitemap file on the old domain name, which will cause them to recognize that the pages have moved.

Take a look at the new TLDs and see if there isn’t a better, shorter domain name that includes your location or keywords in the ending. Moving isn’t a big task, but can help your website attract more search engine traffic and get better rankings in the long run.

Resources: webmarketingtoday.co

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