Migrating Domains This week, our friends at auDA decided to launch a couple of .au domains. This makes the .au space very unstable. So, whether you’ve been contemplating migrating to a new domain, or are simply on the lookout for a new domain, I thought I’d give you a run-down on what the long-term domain future may hold and the points you should consider if making the switch.
• Someone can grab your .au and instantly steal your brand
• Owning .com.au does not guarantee you the .au equivalent
• .com is still the best Top Level Domain
• Consider the domain extension’s primary purpose •
A TLD does not affect SEO
• Learn to protect and promote your new domain
• Why Google Search Console is a faithful watchdog
Hey, welcome back, Rankers. Did you have a good weekend? I’ve got a big week. I’m in Sydney this week except for this morning. I don’t know whether you noticed last week, but the Australian Domain Administrator launched .au, so basically, what they did was … they didn’t have a policy for .au so they just decided to launch a couple of .au domain names and in the process, they stole two companies’ brands. So all of a sudden, in my eyes, the .au space has become unstable …until we know what’s going on at least, anyway. And a lot of people have been asking me, “Jim, what do we do? Have we got to register a new domain?” Well, if you’re registered .com.au, you’re not eligible for .au and now that we know that the CEO of auDA can basically just take any domain that he wants, by the looks of it, well, no one’s safe, really. No brand is safe, so what I’m looking at is, “What’s the long term picture here?”
So when you are choosing or migrating a domain, there are a few things to consider, and I’ve had some points made over the last week, and some of them are just myths, right? So I just want to go through a few of them today. So the first thing we always get asked is, “Well, what top-level domain should we go for?” Well, if you can get the .com, get the .com. Someone said to me the other day, “Oh, you don’t want .biz because .biz it’s spammy and all the rest of it and you’re not going to get traffic.” My response to that was, “Well, I only switched away from .biz last year, so up until April last year, we’d been .biz for 20 years on the web.” And we only moved to .com.au last year, ironically, because it had more trust and was more stable and we thought we might be able to get some more click-throughs for it. Anyway, auDA has destroyed it, so we are looking at our options now and certainly, .co a lot of people use. With all of these domain names, you’ve got to consider their original purpose. So, for instance, .ly is Libya, and that really came to global awareness, if you like, with Bitly and Bitly short links and those sorts of things. But, you know, when Libya was falling a few years back, there was some questions over whether Bitly was going to be able to continue, certainly under that domain. So you’ve got to consider all these things, and a lot of people say, “Oh, well, what about generic something or another top-level domain?” Well, you can go for one of those. There’s no problem with those. The thing to be aware of with those is that if someone’s selling them to you at the registrars that we’re seeing … some of the registrars in Australia that we’ve seen come out and say, “Hey, if you get a generic top-level domain name, it’s going to help your SEO.” No, it won’t. That’s bulltish. And Google has said that more than once. They’ve said the top-level domain does not affect any SEO at all, so if someone’s telling you that, just go and shop somewhere else. It’s rubbish.
The thing to remember, though, is that they will get a lower click-through rate in the search results, and this is from a study from SEMrush … and we’re catching up with the people from SEMrush today. Hi, Ashley & Olga. And what they learned was, is that people don’t necessarily understand immediately what those top-level domains are, so they don’t trust them as much and they’ll click on one that they recognise. So these are the sorts of things you’ve got to consider. Just remember to keep your words the same and work out how you’re going to promote it. Like, where is it going to go? Are you going to put it in print, are you going to put it on display ads, radio ads, TV ads, those sorts of things? How are you going to imprint the new domain into the minds of the consumer? That’s probably going to be the hardest thing you’ll have to work out. They’ll eventually get used to it if you do everything with the migration correctly, over time, but basically, you want to get rid of all mentions of that other domain that you had. So if that’s a .com.au, you don’t want to say that … You might want to hold it in the background. And this is another question that I’ve had asked: “Well, what are you going to do, Jim?” It’s like, well, I’m preparing for the worst right now, so I’m preparing for an Australian name space which is just littered with junkie domains, ones that, for instance, whois.com.au, they had a trademark on that but auDA just came and grabbed the whois.au, right? So it’s unstable. Trademarks don’t apply.
What are you going to do? How are you going to protect yourself? Where is your business going to be in the next five years, and is the domain that you currently have set up properly for that? If it’s not, you might want to start thinking about moving now. And people say to me, “Well, are you going to register the .au?” Well, I may not be able to get it. It’s just like, I don’t know. If we can get it and it’s 20 bucks, yeah, maybe, just for protection and a defensive registration, which is what the registrars in auDA are counting on. But I will wait and see, but we may have to go back to .biz. I don’t want to do that. That’ll kill me. But you need something with a good click-through rate, something that’s going to max your brand. So they’re the main things to consider.
The other thing to do, too, is update any external citations, so just things like LinkedIn, Google My Business, anything that has an official capacity. Any government websites that you might be listed on, like local government, those sorts of things. Get those external citations mentioning the right domain name, not the old one. And, of course, do your redirects. Set up in Google Search Console, obviously, and have both domains set up in Google Search Console and set up for the four versions of the site, so http and https and the w’s and the non-w’s. Make sure they’re all set up and do the change of address on the route. Ensure the change of address is done inside Google Search Console. Now, you’ve got to monitor this every day until you are convinced that the old domain has actually been removed from the index. The other thing to be aware of is that … this is why it’s so important to have every version of the Google Search Console set up properly, is because sometimes things can happen that you didn’t know were going on unless you have Google Search Console set up. So make sure you do that and check the index graph in Google Search Console, do a site: check on the different domains and those sorts of things. Obviously, monitor your ranking. Make sure you know what’s going on. If you have a strong brand, you may not see any amount of drop. When I say “strong brand,” I mean a strong brand with your audience. So if at the moment you’re getting a substantial amount of traffic, like, maybe over 30,000/50,000 uniques a month, this will probably go smoothly. If, however, you’re getting substantially less traffic than that, it’s going to take longer. And there’s where it gets back to what Google said: “URL’s that are more popular on the Internet tend to get called more often to keep them fresher in our index.” And that really applies to site migration because if you are popular and people are actually looking for you, Google’s going to have to come back into the site and see what’s going on and get that index sorted pretty quickly because users want to see it. That’s it for today’s show. Have a great week and we will see you next week. If you have any questions, [email protected] Thanks very much.