Domain names and brands go hand in hand and by now you should know the golden rule: get the .com domain that matches the brand.
A year ago I discussed the optional, yet advisable suggestion to also get the .net and .org, forming the so-called domain trinity.
This approach enables you to make a bold statement about the brand and to utilize the secondary TLDs for separate functions.
There are times, however, that additional TLDs, ccTLDs and gTLDs should be considered, registering them alongside the primary domain name, all of which should match the keyword(s).
Which TLDs should you go after?
The answer to this question can vary on a number of parameters that include your locale, brand niche market, and the specific keywords involved.
If you're starting off your brand targeting markets in a number of countries, securing these ccTLDs is highly advisable.
Keep in mind that you should have a full strategy on the localized promotions and a plan to use these domains as pointers to individual portals. Do not go after local ccTLD domains and skip localized content-building; it's a mistake that Google won't be kind to you about. Keep in mind that ccTLDs target countries and regions, not languages.
The niche market of your brand might determine the need for additional top level domains to be registered.
There are plenty of such gTLDs that exist for specific industries: Dot .photography for photographers, dot .cafe for cafes and social groups, dot .estate for land and property, and .design and .art for the creative crowd. There are currently well over 1,200 gTLDs and one or more of them might be suitable to register your keyword in, alongside the .com.
To decide on whether it'd be beneficial to get a domain ending with a new gTLD, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is there a gTLD closely relevant to your brand or business?
- Would a new gTLD assist with your brand's function and application?
- Would that help you operate on a shorter, memorable, and distinct domain along with your existing .com?
It’s worth noting that in the eyes of Google and other search engines, all TLDs are equal and there's no penalty from Google for using a new gTLD.
The brand's keywords may also allow you to utilize these gTLDs in a split fashion: the keyword, plus the gTLD matching the brand in what's known as a "domain hack."
For example, if your brand is "Spectacular Green" then getting the domain Spectacular.Green along with SpectacularGreen.com is a smart move. A business that owns BobsCoffee.com might register the domain Bobs.coffee as a means of brand protection.
While on the subject of domain hacks, avoid registering domains that split the keywords to form a brand using a ccTLD—unless the brand is formed by a single word only.
Google considers a range of ccTLDs as "generic" and treats domains ending in these extensions as equal to generic TLDs, such as .com. The list of these extensions includes .co, .me, .tv and many others. Whether you need to register or acquire these ccTLDs depends on your overall branding strategy.
Conclusion: Examine how additional ccTLDs and gTLDs would help improve your SEO and help promote your brand. Going beyond the .com is a proven necessity that adds to your brand's potential.