The introduction of the .London domain next year will give UK brands based in the city the chance to trade on their connection to the capital. It’s also set to have an impact on SEO, and on the visibility of London-based brands to their international audiences.
Domain registration body ICANN is making the new .London suffix available next summer, and both brands and individuals will be able to apply. There will be a cost for one of the new websites, which hasn’t been announced yet.
It’s doubtful that prices will have much of an impact on demand for the domain, given the current level of interest. Selfridges has been one of the first brands to publicly declare their interest in making the switch from .co.uk, and is joined by tens of thousands of others. Announcements directly from the Mayor of London encouraging companies to adopt the domain feel almost unnecessary – but they do reveal just how important the move will be for the capital itself.
The direct link between a brand and its London heritage benefits both online, bringing them to a wider audience and potentially boosting tourism in the capital. In cases where ‘[company] London’ is already a popular search term, making the transition to that domain means it’s easier for brand fans to find the website. On top of that, the new .London website names could be catchier and more memorable. Companies that use domains such as .it, .is and .me have already seen the benefit of being more creatively named.
As for the search engine optimisation implications of the new domain, Google has previously admitted that local and more specialist domains are taken into account for search results. The geographical nature of the domain lends itself particularly well to searches based on current location. Websites using .London could end up ranking higher than the .co.uk and .com equivalents, especially if the search terms contain the word ‘London’ or the person searching is identified by GPS as being in the capital at the time.
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