Inside: How New TLDs Impact Your Brand and Your Online Presence

tlds(Ping! Zine Issue 75) – As new TLD (Top Level Domains) are being continually rolled out by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) this year, it is important to look out for branding and other opportunities to protect and advance your company’s online presence. Whether or not the new TLDs really take hold in e-commerce and online culture remains to be seen. In the meantime, you should still think about obtaining a TLD if it relates to your industry or location. TLDs can protect your brand while helping your online ranking and increasing your online presence at the same time.

There might very likely be more than one that would apply to your business. Unfortunately, even if you have no intention of scooping up a new specialized domain name, it might be necessary just to protect your brand from competition or would-be competitors that will try to capitalize on the brand name you have already established for yourself. This article will further discuss how search engine optimization, branding, and online strategies are impacted by this new and ongoing development affecting websites all over the world. Here is how to turn these new TLDs into an opportunity instead of a headache.

tld_graphicTLDs and Search Engine Optimization
It seems that every change and every aspect of web sites today seems to draw speculation about how it will affect search engine rankings and search engine optimization. All the new TLDs and their many keyword possibilities are no exception. However, Matt Cutts from Google’s Web Spam Team was quick to shoot down the idea that Google will be favoring any TLDs in the rankings. Of course, the speculation didn’t end there. Many believe, and it stands to reason that there can be some benefits from well-done new websites that promote your business, especially with a focus on certain aspects of your business. By well-done, we mean well put together websites with the content needed to gain visitors and attract the attention of your customers. The extra web presence and links certainly will not hurt your search ranking status. As with any search engine optimization tactic, if you try to take short cuts or get around Google’s rules and guidelines, you are going to get burned. Instead, follow best practices and you will be pleased with the advertising value and search ranking value you can enjoy as a result of your hard work.

TLDs and Branding
Branding with TLDs can be twofold. It can be about building your brand; but it can also be about protecting your brand from competition or those one or two disgruntled customers or employees that have it out for you. Of course, some TLDs can offer both. For example, .BOO is one TLD that is available. It could mean than someone is jeering your company name, but for a Halloween of costume brand, YourHalloweenDomain.BOO can be a lot of fun! Speaking about fun, .fun is another TLD available, so if your company is about fun, parties, cruise companies or vacations, that is a great way to stress the “fun” aspect of your business. Another TLD that can have dual meanings is the .SUCKS domain. You likely want to grab your brand and your domain in the .SUCKS TLD just to secure it and protect it from the haters out there. However, don’t just think of it as a negative. Consider how a domain name like SlipandFalls.SUCKS for a personal injury attorney or how BeingBrokenDown.SUCKS could help a tow truck company promote their services. These catchy domains can help advertising efforts, especially in highly competitive advertising markets. These examples should help you brain storm how these and the hundreds of other new domain extensions could help your branding efforts.

Takeaways for Your Business
For many companies, you have to ask yourself if you need a new domain name. Do you have a clear purpose for the domain name and can you invest enough time, effort, and money into the project to make it work? Of course, there is also the consideration of the cost of the domain name itself. Some of the new TLDs will be a considerable investment themselves, with some TLDs costing hundreds of thousands, or even in the millions for exclusive rights. If a new domain is not in your budget, instead think about how capturing a less expensive domain or building out a branding campaign for your company would benefit you better and be a wiser investment.

Writer’s Bio: Elizabeth Victor is blogger and Brand Advisor for iSentia.com. She enjoys sharing tips on mediamonitoring and PR software, as well as general online business tips.

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