- by Stuart Fuller, Head of Brand Services -
The new gTLD program was a concept driven by the Internet community and is designed to overcome the perceived shortage of Internet addresses, drive competition online and provide a vehicle for innovation. Organizations that now own a DotBrand have the unique opportunity to create a unified and globally consistent digital namespace and demonstrate their commitment and vision to being online innovators, and perhaps more importantly in the ever increasing competitive online environment, gain an advantage in the battle for SEO ranking.
A dotBrand is a single, intuitive and secure location at the pinnacle of the domain universe that can vastly improve online marketing, fraud prevention and intellectual property protection. Owning a DotBrand for many organizations is about more than just protecting their own digital presence.
It is being used to create new digital concepts, usage scenarios and centralized domain name strategies that allow an organization to have a complete and cohesive view of when and why domains should be registered, define who has responsibility for domain names and what parameters should be used to expand or contract the domain name portfolio. For those organizations who are yet to determine a strategy for their DotBrand, focusing on the advantages both financially and competitively that they can achieve is a good starting point.
By using their dotBrand, organizations have full control over the registration and use of campaign related domain names, not having to worry about potential acquisition costs of gaining control of relevant third-party owned names. In addition, domain names under the DotBrand can be used to create URLs that match existing brand architecture and have high search compatibility, meaning that less is more in terms of return on investment for both Search Engine Optimisation and Search Engine Marketing. Exact Domain Match (EDM) capabilities also reduce the reliance on AdWords spend and reduce the competitive digital pressures on organizations.
One specific area that DotBrands address is that of the use of vanity URLs. These are generally shorter, customized URLs that complement rather than replace a brand’s main homepage URL and are designed to be easier to remember for web users and consequently often used for marketing purposes. Vanity URLs often redirect to core web addresses that may either be complex URLs that aren’t easy to remember or may look as if they do not belong to the brand holder. An example of a very well-used Vanity URL is www.iphone.com which redirects to https://www.apple.com/iphone/?cid=oas-us-domains-iphone.com – hardly the easiest string to remember.
Using a DotBrand allows organisations to create URL structures at will and at virtually no cost that are readable, meaningful and memorable – three of the key pillars of search as defined by the major search engines and a number of DotBrands have been able to use their digital asset to great effect during the last few months where updating customers with information on COVID-19 has been essential – such as www.coronavirus.dhl or www.covid19.google.
DotBrands are also now starting to look at using their domains as EDMs, taking advantage of the benefit they can achieve in search rankings – recent examples of domains being used to great effect include www.3door.mini, www.service.bentley and www.365.microsoft.
There was a fear that using a DotBrand would have a detrimental effect on search rankings but more and more brand holders are now investing resources in creating search strategies based on their DotBrands. Surely but slowly momentum is building and it will only be a matter of time before it is the norm to see them at the top of search ranking results.
In the final part of our DotBrand guide we will look at how organisations can potentially innovate using their digital asset to create a competitive advantage.