How The New .AU Domains Could Transform Your Business Growth
The days of .com.au might be over.
Australia has finally launched its own domain name: .au.
While this doesn’t mean that .com or .net will disappear overnight, it does signal a big shift in the Australian digital space. We have already seen similar moves in other countries dropping the .com, with the UK offering .uk, Canada using .ca and Japan employing .jp.
This move comes from the auDA. They are responsible for the administration of top-level domains in Australia and they have signalled that in July registrations will open for .au domains.
Are You Eligible?
Currently, the auDA has not confirmed an exact date for the change but has outlined a number of regulations for the process.
The key rule here to note is that preference will be given to domains that already exist. For example, google.com.au could reserve google.au. This is great news as it stops squatting or the accidental purchase of a domain. Take the story of this man who managed to purchase Google Argentina for about $3.50.
This isn’t an infallible process, and if you were to miss the cut off date your .au domain could easily be purchased by someone else. There has also been tweaks to the eligibility requirements.
Previously, if you wanted to secure a .com.au domain you needed a matching commercial connection with the domain. If your business was Sunflower Produce, your web address was required to match. You couldn’t pick out something like keepitsunny.com.au. The reasoning behind this was to keep the trust and prestige of the domain but this rule has also left some smaller businesses locked out of having their preferred address.
The new .au rules are a little different. There are no specific eligibility requirements other than having an Australian presence. This means that if you have been looking to get a new domain, now is your chance. You can read all the updated terms and conditions here.
What Are the Benefits?
As with owning any domain, the gift here is consistency. You might think that if you are not operating globally there might not be a point in owning multiple domains — but this isn’t true. Not only can you target specific markets, but having a suite of domain options also boosts your Google rankings.
Prevent Brand Confusion
By making sure you register for the new .au domain you ensure that you own your business name. This stops any potential doppelgangers and confusion with clients with similar web addresses. Customer trust is hard-won, so you don’t want a competitor to take any potential conversions towards their copycat website.
Build Consumer Trust
Consumers trust a localised domain. A survey in the UK shows that customers trusted a .uk address 84% more than any other domain. We saw the results of this trust when local eCommerce businesses recorded a jump in revenue from 20% to 30% following the release of the .uk domain. We could see similar results here too.
Improve Your SEO
Having multiple domains registered is also a boon for SEO and Google’s spiders. It is all about striking a balance between hitting keywords and maintaining relevance. Most importantly, the .au domain will instantly signal to both Google and any potential clients that your business is Australian based. When coupled with expert SEO optimisation it can result in great clickthrough rates.
As trust in .au builds, we are positive that it will be great for local businesses. This domain change might only seem like a few letters but if you’re not prepared, your online presence could be in trouble. Take the time today to set up your website for success.
Are you looking to register your new .au domain? Come and chat with the digital experts and we’ll be happy to discuss your options.