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.au domains, all talk or actual benefit? Your hard-hitting questions answered

Posted20/05/2022

A new domain end point (TLD) has arrived on the scene, making domains both shorter, easier to search with (not on Google), and available for all Australian businesses and individuals. But does this special domain cloaked in awe actually have the ability to hinder your business? Allow me to answer your questions here.

The auDA, you know, the big guns when it comes to creating the rules and regulations around buying the .au domain names, have released the newest domain end point in the arsenal, the .au. This latest domain, also dubbed .au direct names, allows for short and sweet domains, making it easier for your customers to search for you. No longer do you need to have long domains like ‘banana.com.au’ when you can have ‘banana.au’.

In theory, this is a great marketing tactic for a lot of businesses, making easier, human-readable domains that allow a wider breadth of marketing opportunities. As well as the added benefit that you’re most likely already applicable to get one of these domains, for the sole reason that if you own a .com.au domain, you can get an exact match domain as a priority.

But, as expected, there are a few gotchas…

 

The SEO Harbinger of Domain-based Death*

*Not actual death, just SEO-related pain

The biggest issue with this is using your new domain. You can easily swap your website to be pointed to your new .au domain and totally ignore that old and dirty .com.au. But is it best practice? The quick answer is most definitely not!

You may not realise, but if you have been in the business for a long time, your old .com.au domain may have been generating backlinks and rankings on Google. If you change your domain, all your backlinks will disappear (be unusable), and you might lose your website rankings on Google. That is if you aren’t doing the domain transfer in the proper way.

To avoid feeling the wrath of good ol’ Google, follow this quick checklist to make sure the domain change damage is minimalised:

  1. Make sure to always make a backup of your website. This is just to make sure you don’t lose any of your website data as you transfer hosting and domains.
  2. Implement a 301 redirect to make sure that any existing links to your websites don’t disappear into thin air. It also helps Daddy Google understand the new structure of your website in its early stages.
  3. You should also use Google Search Console to tell Google directly about your domain change. You can do this by heading to the ‘Change of Address’ tool in Google Search Console and adding in your new web address.
  4. Submit your new sitemap to Google Search Console.
  5. Double and triple check your website. Use the old links and new links to make sure everything is correctly transferred.
  6. Celebrate that you have successfully swapped to your new domain, but just be cautious and aware of the potential ranking losses you may face.

 

Marketing Benefits

Now that the doom and gloom is over, it’s time to talk about the marketing-related benefits!

With your new domain name, use it in a more upfront way, making it easier for customers and clients to remember your domain in physical versions of media.

Here are some ideas off the top of our head:

  • Instead of listing your full domain name (e.g. Zakazukha.com.au), list it in physical printed media using your new shorter domains (either Zaka.au or Zakazukha.au). It might not be much, but it allows more space and makes it easier to write.
  • Use it as a short link for your website. This is a little more technical so you may need your web developer to get involved. However, using a tool such as YOURLS allows you to have your own customised short links.

 

Do I actually need to get it before the September deadline?

No, you can take as long as you want.

The auDA allows businesses who already own a domain name in exact relation (e.g. Zakazukha.com.au) to get the .au domain (zakauzkha.au) via their priority status plan. If after the September date, and granted no one else takes that domain in the meantime, you’ll still be able to grab your domain with no issues, just like how you would buy any other domain name.

But this isn’t the end of the story.

As the auDA is extremely strict in the purposes of registering domains, any domain that is registered has to somehow relate to the actual business, either by a synonym or a brand name.

For example, Zakazukha is a trademarked name, but if someone buys the Zakazukha.au domain and their individual identity or business isn’t related to the word or brand, then Zakazukha can either open a dispute (as with any domain name under the auDAs banner) or pay off the domain squatter to get it back.

This isn’t the end of the world. It just means a little extra effort is required to get back something related to your business.

 

Our verdict

The .au domains are a great addition to your arsenal, allowing you to do exciting new marketing tactics and giving your business a fresh breath of modern tech-based air. We recommend you use it more as a tool instead of a replacement. So, instead of making it the main domain name, your business should use it as a redirected domain name, using it for short links.

The possibilities are endless but always remain vigilant as there are hidden dangers in this new goldmine of opportunity.

If you’re looking to spin your new .au into action, contact the Zakazukha team to ensure you and your business reach new goals!