High quality, exact-match keyword domains using gTLDs can be effective SEO tools. They give you the opportunity to increase your organic search traffic and reduce your spend on paid advertising.
Plus a domain name that matches your brand name makes for the ultimate combination of memorability and searchability. See more in our blog The Power Of Using Exact Match Domains.
Despite these advantages, many brand owners are still cautious about adopting new gTLDs because they’re worried about disrupting the established search engine ranking they’ve built with their current domain.
Using branded short links as 301 redirects
Major brands like Apple are finding smart ways to launch a new domain or use a keyworded domain to elevate specific parts of their existing website in organic search results: using branded short links for 301 redirects.
Quick refresher: A 301 redirect tells your browser that a web page has permanently moved. If you click a link for the old URL, it automatically redirects you to the URL of the new page. Used for SEO, a 301 redirect lets you set up a branded short link that will show up in search results, and when a user clicks that link, it redirects it to the correct page on your current, established website.
When people search for Apple watches, the keyword domain “Apple.Watch” will rank in search results. Apple.Watch is a 301 redirect, so clicking on this link will redirect to the relevant product page on Apple.com
This allows them to capitalize on keyword domain names while preserving their existing search rankings. It also ensures that the redirects appear in organic search results.
In this example, the product page has a complicated link structure (https://www.apple.com/watch/?cid=oas-us-domains-apple.watch). By marketing the Apple.Watch gTLD, and having it visible in search results, it gives Apple the advantage of using a short, clean, and descriptive domain that’s more memorable for potential buyers.
The 301 redirect allows Apple to keep the watch product page on their site while using the Apple.Watch domain as if it is its own website.
Another benefit worth mentioning is that using apple.watch or apple.news capitalizes on an all-to-common typo many users make when they’re typing in a multiword search term on a mobile device: typing a period instead of a space between two words. On an iPhone keyboard the period and the space keys are only millimeters apart so it’s an easy typo to make, and most users won’t bother to correct it because their search engine will automatically suggest the correct phrase. When that happens, Apple’s domain names are an exact match for the typo, too.
Why 301 redirects are critical to your SEO authority
Moving your website without using permanent redirects means searchers will be served 404 errors when they try to reach your old online address. This will attract the attention of Google and it can seriously affect your link authority.
European airline Ryanair overlooked implementing 301s as part of a website upgrade. Previously dominating SERP for their keywords, Ryanair was quickly penalized by Google for serving up 404 pages in search. They lost their premium position on the front page, and experienced an estimated 25% drop in search traffic. This significant loss in ranking could have been avoided if 301s had been put in place.
If you’re an established business using legacy domains, you don’t necessarily need to rebrand in order to leverage the many advantages of keyword gTLDs. 301 redirects are a simple solution to many SEO problems. They enable you to experience all the benefits of a new gTLD, including improved organic traffic and brandability, without dampening your current traffic and ranking authority.
If you’d like to learn more about valuable keyword domains for your business, contact our domain consultancy team at Premium.Domains.