In the fast-paced digital landscape, the decision to change your domain is not one to be taken lightly
Lately, a lot of our clients have approached us about switching their domain from [.com.au] to [.au]. Though it might be tempting, it comes with potential downsides that can significantly impact your online presence. Let’s explore why this seemingly small change can have far-reaching consequences for your online visibility and authority.
What’s [.au] and will it affect my SEO?
[.au] is a new domain that’s become available for Aussie businesses. You’re probably wondering if switching your primary domain from [.com.au] to [.au] will make much difference from an SEO perspective.
The short answer is: yes, absolutely.
Search engines like Google rely on historical data to assess a website’s authority and relevance. When you transition from a [.com.au] domain to a [.au] domain, you essentially present search engines with what appears to be a brand-new website. The lack of historical data associated with the new domain means that your website’s authority resets to zero.
Website authority is a critical factor in search engine rankings. Sites with higher authority are more likely to secure prime positions on search engine results pages (SERPs). However, with a domain change, this authority is lost, leading to a drop in search rankings. Your website will need to rebuild its authority from scratch, which can take a lot of time and effort. This can lead to a temporary loss of organic traffic and a dip in online visibility.
What are my options?
If you’re starting a new business and want [.au] as your primary domain, that’s absolutely fine as you have no existing rankings to worry about. We do recommend purchasing both domains (if they’re available) and redirecting [.com.au] to [.au].
Australians will be conditioned to typing [.com.au], so purchasing this domain and redirecting will help. Securing both domains is a good idea in general as it provides brand protection. Your customers are less likely to get confused between you and a company with a similar name that takes the [.com.au] version. Big brands will also try and secure every domain variation including [.net.au] and close variations. The other part of brand protection is to make it more difficult for cyber fraudsters to try and scam people (by getting a domain similar to yours and doing dirty tricks like sending fraudulent invoice emails that look legit).
If you already have a [.com.au] domain name, we recommend sticking with the status quo. There’s no need to change, but you can absolutely grab the [.au] version and redirect this to your site.
If your heart is set on changing your primary domain from [.com.au] to [.au], then you can; you just need to ensure your web developer redirects the [.com.au] pages to the corresponding [.au] pages. This will help somewhat mitigate the negative SEO impact, but even if you do this the impact on your search rankings will still certainly be negative.
Making the final decision
If you’re changing the name of your business, then a domain change is unavoidable. However, if you just want to transition from [.com.au] to [.au], it’s crucial to weigh the potential SEO setbacks against the benefits. Your online presence is a valuable asset; make domain decisions that boost, rather than hinder, your success.
Need some advice about your domain? Get in touch with us; we’d be happy to help.