by Christopher Ambler, GoDaddy
Let’s dispel two myths before we begin. The first is that all domains that are not .com domains are worthless. The second is that generic domains like .com are dead with the introduction of hundreds of new top-level domains. Both assumptions are false, yet both need to be understood in order to take advantage of the new landscape in domain names. Especially when considering a geographical domain, making your choices with these two myths in mind can greatly improve your experience and chances of success in geographical marketing.
The myths suggests a truth, and that truth is that domain names are not a zero-sum game. There is no reason your business should not have a main, brand able, easy-to-remember domain name that “everyone knows.” Presumably it’s the name of your business. It’s most likely a .com if you’ve had it for a long time, or one of the newer generic top-level domains (gTLDs) if you are either new or going for a memorable name that sticks with people. It’s the name everyone knows you by.
That being established, intent-specific domains, in addition to your main brand, allow for innovative marketing campaigns as well as laser-focused targeting of demographics. Geographic domains fit perfectly into this strategy.
A key benefit to a geographical domain is search. As more top-level domains begin to make their way into the decisions made by search engines like Google or Bing, geographical considerations are a leading factor. This is predictable, as the intent of a geographical domain is pretty clear and it is easy for search engines to recognize this.
By branding your business with a geographical domain, you’re not only creating a new way for customers to reach you, you’re also creating a new search pathway tied to your location.
When BillsBaitAndSushi.com is also BaitAndSushi.NYC, search engines are increasingly likely to return your result for searches like “Bait and Sushi in New York.”
Take pride in your town
Everyone is proud of where he or she lives and works, right? Consider a marketing campaign tied to your location. When Bill, the Tuna Ninja was considering a new marketing campaign, he knew that he had the best fish in Quebec and he wanted to be sure that everyone else knew it as well. A .Quebec domain that pointed to a landing page on his website offering discounts to loyal local customers was just the thing. When Bill then took out an ad claiming to have the freshest fish in Quebec and used his geographical domain name, people made the association and remembered it.
Look outward and expand
What about geographical domains for areas other than your physical location? One way to expand is to consider advertising in a new market. If a geographical domain is available in a market you’re considering (or, even better, if one suggests a market you’d not thought about yet), create a campaign. Find an angle, create a message, and put it on a web page linked to a geographical domain.
Returning to the idea of search, people seeking your product or service and adding a geographical region might see results based solely on the domain name’s indexing in the major search engines. Once you have them looking at your business in that mindset, you can make your pitch.
Especially with the trend towards more mobile usage, location-based suggestions are just one way geographical domains are finding their way into the mainstream. Take advantage of them!
About the Author
Christopher Ambler is a Senior Architect at GoDaddy who writes sleek, performant, low-overhead Java and Scala code. In his copious spare time he can be found playing poker or listening to progressive music not in 4/4 time. He recently relocated to sunny California from Seattle. Christopher blogs at Bit Parts, and you can also find him on LinkedIn and Facebook. Connect with Chris on Google+. The world’s largest domain name registrar and Web hosting provider, GoDaddy gives small business owners the tools to name their idea, build a beautiful online presence, attract customers and manage their business. To get more tips for your small business—including articles, videos and webinars—check out the GoDaddy Training Hub.