Business development 14 September 2015

Are you ready to take advantage of regional web identity?

A new domain is a new identity and you need to treat it as such
A new domain is a new identity and you need to treat it as such

Simon Yeoman, the general manager of Fasthosts, provides a five-step guide for utilising regional domains as a new business, to make sure you benefit from SEO value.

Over the last year, regional identity has been growing in importance in online marketing circles. The release of new location based domain names like .london, .scot, .cymru, .wales and .irish represent the newest addition to the content marketing toolbox. The domains offer a new opportunity for individuals and smaller brands particularly, to establish or revitalise their web presence while highlighting their locality and benefitting from keyword relevancy.

When considering search engine optimisation (SEO) advice is simple. As an early-stage firm, create the best website you can and regularly update it with unique, quality content. Try to interact with influencers in your industry and encourage them to share the content you have created – if you can do this, you’ll be sending very strong signals to search engines and when your site is crawled you will see a steady improvement in your position over time.

The advice is similar for an established web presence but with one strong caveat – a new domain is a new identity and you need to treat it as such. If you want to benefit from SEO value you will need to create a new microsite not just a gateway page (a page stuffed with the keyword or domain name that you are trying to rank for) or you might even consider re-branding your existing site – if you heed Google’s advice you’ll be able to minimise the risk to you current search engine position too. If you follow the guide below, you’ll offset any impact with best practice and have created an outstanding online presence.

Five steps to achieving online success with your new domain:

(1) Make it personal

When choosing a domain name, you should try to pick one that describes your services or products perfectly. If you own a grocery shop in London then grocers.london could be a great domain for you. However, if you own a grocery business in Newcastle then it would just confuse the people who visit your website. You can reinforce your brand further by using the same domain in a professional sounding personalised email address too.

(2) Be proud of your location

Using a new location-based domain will highlight your connection and affinity with your locality but it also lets you draw on its reputation. So, if you teach at an Irish dancing club and want to take advantage of Ireland’s energy and culture, jig.irish, could be the ideal choice. It is commonplace for consumers to support local businesses so why not let them know where you’re based using a relevant domain and show that you’re proud of your roots?

(3) Choose a memorable domain

With the influx of new domains there are plenty of opportunities to find one that can help you rival enterprise-sized companies without being restricted by the limited options remaining with established extensions like .co.uk and .com. Try to pick a domain that is short, to the point and above all, memorable. You want your customers to come back, so it helps to make it as easy as possible for them.

(4) Get found easily online

If you’ve carefully chosen a relevant keyword and paired it with a suitable domain name, you have all the basics needed for a really strong online presence. If you can then combine this with quality content and update it regularly, when you’re crawled and indexed by search engines you should rank well and see your site quickly improve in position over time.

(5) Your domain as part of content marketing

Content marketing might sound like a buzz phrase but if you want to give your online presence the best chance at succeeding long term it’s worth considering how your domain name and content marketing strategy tie together. In simple terms, this means it’s important to consider how your domain name could influence the creation of material relating to your branding, business needs and marketing goals. For example, if you do choose to invest in a location based domain, it’s worth considering how a local element could enhance your online offering.

The new domain names are already proving really popular and it’s easy to see why when so many of their uses are proving pivotal to branding and content marketing strategies. If you’re thinking about securing one of the new domain names, and haven’t yet, you can check available domain names here.

Image: Shutterstock

Simon Yeoman is the general manager of internet service provider Fasthosts.

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