Should I Get A .london Domain For My Local Business?

In case you missed the recent coverage on BBC and wider UK media, or the more permanent debate amongst techies, Bloggers, SEOs and other web creatures, we are running out of domains, the solution has been to create more location and theme specific domains.

London-Early-Morning

Image credit – www.londonandpartners.com

This is a question that quite a few of my clients have asked about recently, and in particular in the context of SEO and local rankings, if we have not discussed this via email here is my take on it.

Should you buy a .london and specifically for local SEO rankings?

I’m an SEO and my personal view is that if you’re going to buy one, in the hope that by doing so your rankings will magically increase, the bad news is they will not. Below is a partial quote from Matt Cutts – Google head of the webspam team, where a question about local TLDs (top level domains) and rankings appeared. 

I read a post by someone offering new top-level domain (TLDs). They made this claim: “Will a new TLD web address automatically be favoured by Google over a .com equivalent? Quite simply, yes it will.”

Sorry, but that’s just not true, and as an engineer in the search quality team at Google, I feel the need to debunk this misconception. Google has a lot of experience in returning relevant web pages, regardless of the top-level domain (TLD)…

I’ve writen a couple of blog posts about domains before and in essence what applies to .com vs .co.uk also applies to the upcoming .london, there are also .uk and a heap of others in the pipeline.

I think it is useful to separate two different ideas and these are whether we are talking about a new site or an existing one, quoting myself for your benefit:

For a new website and all things being equal, I would say yes the logic being the one explained in the excerpt above. You could also think of it as .co.uk and other .uk TLDs as being similar to the post code for your region or the +44 for the country telephone calling code.

For an existing website probably NOT. Meaning if your site runs on a .com and you are thinking of moving to a .co.uk or whatever you local TLD is, just for the purpose of your SEO, it is highly unlikely that the local TLD alone will make any difference, at least any that you can measure and attribute to the new local TLD. Having said that, if you run example.com and example.co.uk is available I would recommend buying it and simply redirect the .co.uk to your existing .com.

The same logic applies here, if you’re about to launch a new site, a .london may help a little in terms of SEO, but that is more likely to help in terms of branding.

In the old days (and sadly in the present ones too) in the mythical land of SEO, there was/is a practice called domaining, in this mythical land the innocent and gullible believed that in order to rank for SEO, you will need the keywords in the domain, in this land of fantasy, Pedro Matias would never rank for SEO and London related queries, I will leave it to your imagination to test it out, try anything with Pedro and SEO in it and you can see this site ranking for it, you could also try a few things with London and SEO and you would probably find me also.

Buying a domain for SEO is not a line of thinking, SEO or business strategy I would recommend for any London based business, remember you are in here, whatever your business is about you’re bound to have many potential customers amongst the ten million of us. So why then think in terms of artificial and short term SEO, there is no business sense in that.

Buying a .london domain for branding

Having said all the above just as with .com and .co.uk, they are worth buying if for nothing else for branding and more for reputation management, meaning that you will defend your site and brand from impersonation or from for example “extortion” attempts from these domainers types. Imagine one of those people anywhere in the world copying your site (yoursite.com) launching an entire new copy of it on (yoursite.london). Not pretty, not that .londons are that easy to get hold of yet.

That was the SEO reason for buying the new domains, so more for defensiveness than for actual ranking purposes, there are other considerations and these are branding, you may want to show that you know what is going on on the web, what are e latest trends and your .london may just help you to do that.

All these new domains are coming for a reason, which is, we’re running out of names.

In Summary:

  • Do not buy .london for SEO rankings
  • Buy for reputation management
  • Buy for defensive SEO – avoiding impersonation
  • Buy to avoid extortion attempts from cybersquatters
  • Buy for branding
  • Buy for coolness
  • Buy because you can!

Applications are now open and if you have a London address then you are in Luck.

Check domain availability

Availability overview

We are operating two phases through which you can get a Dot London domain name. The first phase will begin on 29 April 2014 at 5pm when the Dot London registry opens for applications. This phase will last until 31 July 2014. The second phase will start on 9 September 2014:

  1. Phase 1: London Priority Period gives priority to registered trademark holders and Londoners applying for domain names
  2. Phase 2: General Availability gives equal access to all interested customers for all other available domain names

Names applied for during the first phase will be allocated according to a priority ranking as set out in more detail below. Names registered during General Availability will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

This post is getting long but while I am at it, I may as well briefly show you where to get the .UK, which is also coming soon.

Go to www.dotuklaunch.co.uk

They also have an handy .uk domains right look up tool, but in essence if you own the (something.co.uk) then you will have the rights to (something.uk), sounds fair!

What are your thoughts? Are you getting one or both? Let me know, and share!

 

About Pedro Matias

I'm a central London SEO consultant and private tutor, also specialise in WordPress web design and training. All SEO, web consulting and training approaches are centred on user experience, minimalism, speed and engineering centric design. Run 10K for lunch most days for fun and health.
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  • I guess you may have a point, but the fact is we are running out of names!

    That is also my advice to anyone that has a site, brand or personal and can afford to buy them, they should.

  • Personally I see it as nothing more than a money generator for Nominet et al as they all know that big brands and business’ that are defensive will immediately buy up all these new domains that could be associated with them and redirect them at their existing sites to prevent impersonation.

  • Martin

    Excellent summary, thanks!

  • Bradleydanielelliot

    now i knew, i will definitely buy a London domain for my local business in Algeria.