Upcoming webinar – .brands 101

Upcoming webinar – .brands 101

Upcoming webinar: .brands 101

You may have heard that over 550 big brands have a .brand Top-Level Domain (TLD), such as .microsoft, .ford and .barclays. But what exactly is a .brand TLD, and what can you do with it?

Following our successful .brand update webinar in June, we’re pleased to bring you another webinar that goes ‘back to basics’ on .brands. 

Register for this webinar to hear:

• An explanation of what a .brand TLD is in plain English (also perfect for bringing co-workers up to speed)
• Why some big brands have a .brand, and what to do if you want one too
• The different models being utilized with .brand TLDs
• The five real reasons .brand should be used

Come along for a great refresher on the fundamentals of .brand TLDs – or invite your colleagues to introduce, educate and inspire them about the .brand movement!

 

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

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Answering your brand TLD questions

Answering your brand TLD questions

brand TLD questions webinar dotbrands

Answering your brand TLD questions

By Tony Kirsch
Head of Professional Services, Neustar

Recently, I was thrilled to join a webinar with ClickZ Intelligence and discuss .brands with Matt Dorville of Major League Baseball and Katie Hankinson of VaynerMedia. The feedback from webinar has been fantastic – with several hundred live attendees and a highly engaged audience asking lots of brand TLD questions.

Our moderator (ClickZ Intelligence’s Andrew Warren-Payne) selected some great questions from the audience for us to answer, but the interest and discussion that came from this session exceeded what we could cover in a one-hour webinar.

So with that in mind, I wanted to take another look at some of the questions that came out of the webinar – and in doing so, hopefully cover some of the topics that may not have been covered in the session and perhaps answer something you’ve always wanted to know about .brands.

“I love the suggestions of social.brand examples. Do you have some other ideas that may be common to other .brands?”

I gave the example of Audi’s redirecting social media domains – for example, you can find the brand’s Facebook page at www.facebook.audi and its Twitter profile at www.twitter.audi. This is a really clever and simple way to introduce the .brand TLD and begin training customers about how they can use the .audi domain.

This is also a great example of vanity domains – a URL that is short and memorable but redirects to content deeper within a site. While in this case the domains forward to external sites, the same theory can apply within your own website.

Some common examples we’ve seen include ‘shortcuts’ to website content such as investors.brand, media.brand, annualreport.brand, blog.brand and careers.brand. These types of corporate pages are common across businesses and industries and are rarely relocated, so setting up a vanity URL to create a simplified call-to-action that gets visitors there quickly and easily can be a great introduction to using your .brand.

brand TLD questions brainstorm ideas dotbrands

Looking at existing vanity domains like surface.microsoft, they are both short, clear and intuitive. As any marketer will tell you – if it’s simple it’s probably more likely to connect, so I expect we’ll see a lot more of these in the future. 

Customers aren’t stupid, nor lazy – they’re very savvy and will almost always take the fastest road to engagement where possible.

brand TLD questions dotbrands webinar

“From the Super Bowl, we saw some analysis that domains were used as calls-to-action more than social media for the first time in a few years. What worried us was that almost half the ads had no CTA at all. Why is that?”

Firstly, there are different types of campaigns that exist – anything from pure brand related activity through to specific product promotion – and the actions marketers want their audiences to take from these campaigns differ greatly.

What’s important to note is that many marketers have either simply given up when it comes to CTAs or have a naive view that putting their “generic” brand.com CTA on a specific promotion is actually effective in helping the customer connect to the message.

Customers aren’t stupid, nor lazy – they’re very savvy and will almost always take the fastest road to engagement where possible.

Today’s consumer has become so dependent on methods other than direct-type navigation to find the information they want online. And who can blame them, with company websites becoming larger, more complex and harder to navigate? Some of our clients’ websites have tens of millions of pages – true fact!

The opportunity .brands provide is to reintroduce direct navigation via domain names by giving consumers short, memorable URLs that – whether at that address or by redirect – deliver visitors to locations deep within a website quickly and easily. Instead of relying on long and unwieldy subdomains, distracting search results or allied services such as social media, organizations can begin to train their customers to type in “anything they want”.brand to get the information they’re looking for instantly. 

“Are .brand TLDs available for companies to acquire now? Or do we need to wait somehow for more TLDs to be released?”

This is a question that has become more and more prevalent as brands roll out their .brand TLDs. As the power of .brands becomes more apparent, other organizations are looking to take advantage of this valuable asset.

However the short answer is no – at the moment, the application process for brands to apply is closed.

When ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers – essentially the global regulator of the Internet) opened applications for new Top-Level Domains several years ago, it was a limited application period. These applications had to go through a long period of review and testing and have started to roll out over the last two to three years. While discussions are underway as to whether a second round of applications could be conducted, currently this is looking like it may still be a few years away.

However, pressure from organizations looking to apply may well contribute to demand for a second round, so if this is something you are passionate about then make your voice heard! Get in touch with us if you’d like to know more about the road to the second round – email dotbrands@registry.neustar.

These are just a handful of the common questions from the webinar. What else have you always wanted to know about .brands? What would you like to see us answer in future articles?

Drop us a line at dotbrands@registry.neustar and we’ll be only too happy to answer your questions!

You can also watch the recording of the full webinar here.

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

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Part 1: 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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WEBINAR: Hear about .brands from ClickZ, Neustar, Major League Baseball & VaynerMedia

WEBINAR: Hear about .brands from ClickZ, Neustar, Major League Baseball & VaynerMedia

WEBINAR: Hear about brand TLDs from ClickZ, Neustar, Major League Baseball & VaynerMedia

In this webinar, we will cover everything you need to know about brand TLDs, exploring their history, benefits, limitations implications and everything in between. 

For the majority of us, our company urls end in either .com, .net or .org. However, over the last few years almost 600 companies, the majority of which are listed in The Fortune 500, have applied to own and utilize their own branded top-level domains (TLDs). Essentially replacing ‘.com’ for ‘.[insert your company name here]’. 

Join us as we discuss:

  • What are brand TLDs and where did they come from

  • An analysis of where .brands are currently being used across the world

  • What the implications are for search

  • How TLDs can boost customer loyalty, build trust and increase awareness

  • Why so many of The Fortune 500 are making the switch

  • How these companies are working towards being a ‘digital superbrand’

Register now to join the webinar and hear from experts from ClickZ, Neustar, Major League Baseball and VaynerMedia. Click here for more information.

brand TLDs webinar .brands dot brands

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

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