www.livingculture.lixil

www.livingculture.lixil

www.livingculture.lixil

Japanese building materials and housing equipment company Lixil is exploring stories of innovative living spaces from history on this new microsite.

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www.cinema.arte

www.cinema.arte

www.cinema.arte

Arte, a European television channel, has launched a microsite showcasing its cinematic offerings.

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Part 2: How vanity URLs & a .brand TLD could supercharge your SEO

Part 2: How vanity URLs & a .brand TLD could supercharge your SEO

How vanity URLs & a .brand TLD could supercharge your SEO
(Part 2)

In this exclusive MakeWay.World guest series, Major League Baseball’s Matt Dorville shares his perspective on how to use vanity URLs within your .brand TLD to really drive your SEO ranking.

Matt is Major League Baseball Advanced Media’s Content and SEO Strategist. He is widely regarded as a leading global SEO expert and develops SEO strategies for MLB.com, NHL.com, and all 61 ball clubs within MLB as well as for Major League Baseball Advanced Media’s partners both domestic and internationally.

 

In the first part of my blog, we discussed vanity URLs – how they benefit brands and how Google has adapted its treatment of them in recent months to remove the penalty for redirecting domains. You can read part one of this series here and part three here.

It’s all about amplification 

In addition to the ease of use for customers trying to access the exact landing page or part of a site that they’re looking for, vanity URLs are also an excellent way of establishing a social connection with the customer and generating links.

With Twitter feeds now showing up in SERPs and social now an excellent and widely understood method of amplifying content and links, vanity URLs provide a wonderful opportunity to spur social involvement, amplify and extend reach for links, and build traffic and discoverability around a marketing campaign.

Whilst it is true that social links don’t affect ranking in the same way as traditional links, the diversity and power of social media does increase the amplification of those links, allowing customers to know about the campaign and post in ways that do affect ranking (on their own sites for example).

vanity urls seo brand TLDs

Broadcasting links on social media leads to serious amplification of campaigns, which then turns into backlinks as those links either hit a news source or possibly blogs that write content about the campaign. These backlinks in turn help SEO and strengthen the landing page as well as the site itself through the quality links generated by the campaign. 

For example, the domain bigmac.com is owned by McDonald’s, and while they currently don’t utilize this as a vanity URL, a redirect from bigmac.com to their recent promotion of the Big Mac, located at https://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en-us/new-big-mac.html seems like an easy marketing win to create online attention as well as links to the page. The URL bigmac.com is both direct and easy to remember. The reader simply assumes that bigmac.com ‘must be’ a McDonald’s property – thus engendering trust.

In using this type of vanity URL, McDonald’s should ensure that bigmac.com takes the user to content about the Big Mac, not about McDonald’s in general or a McDonald’s homepage. By not utilizing the vanity in this type of campaign, McDonald’s are missing out on both an SEO and direct traffic opportunity.

“Whenever an organization does a marketing campaign, it really should pair itself with a great SEO campaign. You want them to work together.”

vanity urls seo brand TLDs

What does this all mean? 

The number of microsites utilizing .brand URLs in the last year or so has been steadily growing. But for some, the ability to move the existing home page content is a really significant process.

Vanity URLs using .brands are a simple and highly effective method of getting your customers to where they want to go, as well as giving your SEO a boost that won’t be easily replicated by your competitors.

Of course, it’s possible to do a subdomain or subfolder, for example bigmac.mcdonalds.com or mcdonalds.com/bigmac, but that doesn’t have the simplicity that bigmac.com or bigmac.mcdonalds has and most likely when broadcasting it, a lack of simplicity will lead to a lack of amplification.

Whenever an organization does a marketing campaign, it really should pair itself with a great SEO campaign. You want them to work together. But it’s often difficult to achieve your goals from a marketing standpoint as well as a SEO standpoint.

That’s where vanity URLs open doors.

Using vanity URLs with your .brand allows: 

– the marketing team to get the URL with the product name they want,
– the development team to avoid a lot of work getting the consumers there, and
– SEO to gain strength both on the landing page for the campaign as well as use the link building to strengthen the entire site.

The recent change in 301 redirection is significant news and a vanity URL within a .brand domain should provide excellent benefits in broadcasting on social as well as generating links to the domain through amplification.  The simplicity of the vanity domain, most times pairing up the product, action, or campaign with .brand should be able to tie in with marketing to increase SEO strength on both the landing page and the entire site, and generate traffic through organic and social channels.

Looking further ahead, as the biggest brands in the world fight to re-establish direct relationships with their customers wherever possible, the ability to use a vanity URL strategy to allow customers to type in <anything>.brand vanity URLs to find the content they’re seeking is a very interesting one.

Consumers will still rely on search to navigate the ever expanding amount of content on the web. However, the use of vanity URLs within .brand TLDs in the coming years is going to be a significant opportunity to garner excellent growth in both long term and short term SEO as well as increasing highly valuable direct type-in traffic in the future.

Part 3 of Matt’s guest post series looks at ways .brand TLD owners can use their exclusive branded namespaces to take advantage of vanity URLs. Read it here.

GoDaddy acquired Neustar's registry business as of August 3, 2020.

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Part 2: How vanity URLs & a .brand TLD could supercharge your SEO

Part 1: How vanity URLs & a .brand TLD could supercharge your SEO

supercharge-your-seo

How vanity URLs & a .brand TLD could supercharge your SEO
(Part 1)

In this exclusive MakeWay.World guest series, Major League Baseball’s Matt Dorville shares his perspective on how to use vanity URLs within your .brand TLD to really drive your SEO ranking. 

Matt is Major League Baseball Advanced Media’s Content and SEO Strategist. He is widely regarded as a leading global SEO expert and develops SEO strategies for MLB.com, NHL.com, and all 61 ball clubs within MLB, as well as for Major League Baseball’s Advanced Media partners both domestic and internationally.

As any SEO manager will tell you, a site’s search ranking is made up of numerous factors. But if you want to boost your ranking, the ability to generate and build links is still one of the most powerful ways to do so.

Link building is a valuable part of any SEO strategy and having a good link building campaign can help boost any website for the keywords you’re targeting, irrespective of its size.

The recent release of .brand Top-Level Domains (TLDs) – where URLs such as iphone.apple can be created instead of subfolder URLs like apple.com/iphone – has the potential to create a whole new paradigm for digital marketers and SEO managers looking to generate links to their site. 

And when combined with recent changes announced by Google, a vanity URL strategy may be the key to that much needed SEO boost for the 570 or so companies that have these exclusive .brand TLD assets.

Vanity URLs uncovered 

Vanity URLs are generally shorter, customized URLs that complement rather than replace a brand’s main homepage URL and are designed to be easier to remember and provide simplicity in their approach. 

Typically, you’ll see these being used to help the customer get to the landing page for a particular product or promotion. Using a simple 30x level redirect, the user is carried to the final destination they are seeking, often a piece of content deeper within the website.

vanity urls seo brand TLDs
vanity urls seo brand TLDs

For example, yankees.com is one of Major League Baseball’s best known URLs and the homepage of the New York Yankees. Many would be surprised, however, to hear that yankees.com is actually a vanity URL and we host the site’s content at http://newyork.yankees.mlb.com/ for strategic reasons. 

At MLB, we see this as a win-win.

The yankees.com address is far easier for people to remember and type in – giving the customer a fast and easy way to access the Yankees content. And for us at MLB, it gives us the benefit of increasing the volume of links toward newyork.yankees.mlb.com and allows us to rank well in search.

Do users care that the browser bar shows a different domain to the one they typed in? Not in my experience – they just want to reach the content as quickly and easily as possible.

Understandably you won’t find many long vanity URLs, as their simplicity also leads to brand trust. There’s a complete logic that yankees.com should take you to the official site of the New York Yankees and it’s an example of the idea that a well-done vanity URL could increase a marketing campaign’s success rate by up to 35 percent.

With vanity URLs…now transferring link strength as much as a direct link to the site, the opportunity to use a vanity URL strategy with your .brand is now squarely back in focus.” 

The game has changed 

In the past, while vanity URLs were frequently seen as a viable strategy for generating quality links and building one’s website, there was often conflict with this decision. Many SEO managers tended to request that their sites shy away from vanity URLs, as redirecting each vanity URL redirect resulted in a loss of around 15 percent of the link strength. 

Additionally, in 2012 when Google said that its search algorithms would treat new TLDs just like they would treat any other TLD such as .com or .org, SEO managers became skeptical as to their use – as there was limited likelihood that websites could use keyword ‘stuffing’ to benefit rankings.

However, recent changes to Google combined with the continued global emergence of .brand TLD usage opens up a new strategy that shows great potential.

On July 26th 2016, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, Gary Illyes, announced that 30x redirects no longer lose PageRank, which was a significant shift in the underlying algorithm. You can hypothesize that Google did this for a great many reasons, no doubt their ongoing campaign to encourage websites to migrate to https being a large factor in this.

Did everyone rush out to put a vanity URL strategy in place?

Of course not. Finding a range of relevant .com domains is extremely expensive or virtually impossible in many cases.

For .brand owners, however – the companies with no limitations to what names they can register within their own extension – this is interesting, as the results of this change now open the door to making vanity URLs an excellent strategy for marketing campaigns and link building. With vanity URLs that are either temporary (302 redirect) or permanent (301 redirect) now transferring link strength as much as a direct link to the site, the opportunity to use a vanity URL strategy with your .brand is now squarely back in focus.

vanity urls seo brand TLDs matt dorville

Part 2 of Matt’s guest post series discusses how a vanity URL strategy could offer an invaluable boost to your SEO ranking. Read it here.

Part 3 of the series looks at five key ways .brands can take advantage of vanity URL strategies. Read it here.

GoDaddy acquired Neustar's registry business as of August 3, 2020.

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AFL Women’s Trailblazing In Digital As Well As Women’s Sport

AFL Women’s Trailblazing In Digital As Well As Women’s Sport

AFL Women’s Trailblazing In Digital As Well As Women’s Sport

This piece was originally published on B&T. Read the original post here.

By Tony Kirsch
Head of Professional Services, Neustar

When the Australian Football League (AFL) CEO Gillon McLachlan announced that the inaugural season of the NAB AFL Women’s Competition would start in 2017, it was a historic moment for elite sport in Australia. However, that’s not the only trailblazing move the AFL has made – the launch of the website at the address www.womens.afl is another incredible move by the country’s most innovative sporting organisation.

The keen observer may have noticed the lack of the traditional .com or .com.au extension at the end of the address, which is significant on many levels. Last year, the AFL joined over 550 of the world’s largest brands in acquiring their own web extension (.afl), giving the AFL full control of their own real estate on the web. 

Some of the most recognisable brands on the planet have started using their .brand namespaces. From Google and Canon to BMW, big brands have begun to flex their creative muscle. Among this group, a handful of innovative Australian brands also applied, taking control of .anz, .seven, .monash and .iselect, to name just a few.

afl women's league dot brand TLD
afl women's league dot brand TLD

AFL chief information officer Scott Jendra saw a long term upside in using the .afl namespace in the communications supporting the launch, including the new television campaign. “The groundbreaking nature of AFL Women’s deserved to be supported with next-generation digital tools – we were just lucky enough to be one of the few brands to have our own web extension in .afl,” Jendra said. 

“One of the ambitions of the new league is to broaden its existing fan base and engage new audiences who are hungry for information and content to maximise their football experience. We aim to support that with www.womens.afl as well as our usual digital and offline channels.”

“the AFL will continue to roll out selective properties with the .afl extension over time and will continue with new innovations such as AFL Women’s breaking new ground – in the representation of women in sport as well as in innovative, future-minded digital marketing”.

This isn’t the first time the AFL has taken bold steps with .afl; www.play.afl was used for a grassroots community site and the commercial venture www.coffee.afl lets fans buy team-branded coffee pods. If differentiation is king in marketing, then the 550 plus brands (many ASX 100 and Fortune 500) with their own .brand namespace might just reign in 2017. 

There won’t be another chance to apply for one for several years at least. Until then, the lucky few each have the opportunity to do things in the digital space that their competitors simply cannot match. There is no doubt that 2017 is likely to explode with digital branding and concepts most of us haven’t even considered possible.

Brands will use their .brand web extension to create meaningful and memorable calls to action in their promotional material, like the AFL has done with www.womens.afl in the TVC. Today’s larger companies simply have so much digital content to share, and using short and meaningful URLs really give these organisations the ability to let their customers navigate to exactly what they want easily and directly. 

Digital marketers have more tools at their fingertips than ever before, but in this crowded environment our ability to track the customer journey and create strong connections with our audience is weakened. The AFL is not only building direct relationships with a new audience, they have full visibility and control of the customer experience.

The AFL was also the first sporting code in the world to launch its branded domain ahead of Major League Baseball, the NFL and the NBA who each also own a .brand extension.

While the AFL has been a pioneer in this space, internationally there have already been over 100 organisations putting their toe in the water with their .brand namespaces, including organisations such as the UK based Barclays bank who last year moved their entire digital presence from barclays.com to home.barclays.

According to Jendra, “the AFL will continue to roll out selective properties with the .afl extension over time and will continue with new innovations such as AFL Women’s breaking new ground – in the representation of women in sport as well as in innovative, future-minded digital marketing”.

GoDaddy acquired Neustar's registry business as of August 3, 2020.

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