.uk top level domain extensions are now available to buy. If you already own the .co.uk extension for your domain, you will have the first right to buy the new name.
One of the reasons for the release of these and other new extensions in the past few months is because we’re running out of options with traditional endings such as.co.uk and.com. Others say it’s an additional cost for businesses to bear as domain registrars cash in on the expansion of available names.
Whatever your view, there’s no denying that .uk provides a simpler version of your branded address on the web. As marketers, we see more benefits:
- The rest of Europe has single “dot” extensions so this would bring us in line with a globally accepted syntax. Think of France, .fr, Germany .de and Italy .it
- Dot-uk is more memorable and so simpler to market, also simpler for your target audience to enter for email addresses and urls.
- Buying it anyway stops your competitors from having it in the future (although you currently have first option to buy your .uk if you already own the .co.uk, this could change in the future)
Introducing your .uk
To start with, just reserving it is a good idea. You can do this through any domain registrar or ask us. If you have access to your current .co.uk name you can forward the new .uk name to your main domain quite easily.
The benefit of forwarding or re-directing is that people who assume you have that name will automatically be directed to your main website if they use it to find you. You can keep it like this for as long as you need to and it’s a very quick way to start seeing the benefit of reserving the name.
In the medium to long term you might consider migrating your main website to the .uk domain as from a marketing perspective it will eventually make more sense. There are some interesting early adopters already such as Heart Internet: www.heartinternet.uk
We also see a number of government and high level organisations using .uk already although they have been able to do this earlier, such as NHS (www.nhs.uk ), British Library (www.bl.uk ) and The Police (www.police.uk).
SEO implications and pitfalls
Before rushing to adopt your .uk as your main website domain, there are a number of things you need to consider. We strongly advise a phased approach so that all of the authority you have built on your .co.uk is not lost, which could have a dramatic impact on your search engine results position.
If you make the .uk your main domain, Google will index it as a new website and it will take time to re-establish its weight. Moving your website to a different domain could also involve server changes so it needs to be managed. If it’s possible avoid making big changes like moving domain name, changing hosting, making structural changes to website etc at the same as if you do notice any negative changes you wont be able to diagnose the reason and solve the problem very quickly.
It’s also not a good idea to point a new dot-uk straight at the existing server for your main domain (.co.uk for example), essentially displaying a copy of the site on the new domain, as Google may interpret this a duplicate website – a big no-no for SEO.
The best two options are:
- Forward the new domain for now to your existing main website url.
- If you choose to do so, plan the switch to .uk so that your existing authority is re-directed to the new domain. This may also involve updating your marketing materials and online profiles so it may not be an overnight exercise!
For help with this, speak to your current website provider and domain provider. Nominet has a good article on choosing a domain name registrar if you don’t already use one.