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Why having an Australian domain name is important 

Despite being in the midst of a recession, Australians are shopping online in record numbers and choosing to spend more of their cash with Aussie operators. A com.au domain name extension is one way to take advantage of the opportunity.

Shop local reignited

While COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on the world’s economies, it’s also revived the ‘shop local’ movement as Australians look for ways to support a fast recovery on home turf. In fact, according to new research commissioned by the Australian domain name administrator (auDA), 70% of Australians believe it’s more important than ever to support local retailers – a sizeable 18% increase on pre-pandemic figures. 

It’s good news for local businesses, provided your customers know yours is an Australian business. So, what can you do to show you’re local? According to auDA, a com.au domain name can help. Findings from the auDA research showed that 92% of shoppers identify Aussie retailers via their domain name extension. 

What’s more, according to auDA chief executive officer Rosemary Sinclair, “businesses with com.au domain names were almost twice as likely to have their website associated as trustworthy and secure than businesses with other common commercial domain names”.

How to choose your domain name, or switch your current one

Changing your domain name extension is easier than it sounds. If you’ve decided to go with a com.au domain extension to replace your current website address, it’s important to preserve the progress you’ve already made.

This means making your current site visitors, subscribers and customers aware of the change well in advance. It’s also a good idea to hold onto any search engine rankings you may have and inbound links you’ve harvested from other sites. 

This is where Google’s approved method, a 301 redirect, comes in handy. It’s essentially a set of instructions that is hosted under your current domain name to inform visitors the page has moved to a new location.

From here, the visitor is automatically redirected to your new domain. You can read more about 301 redirects, and find detailed instructions for switching, via Google Search Central here. If that sounds a little too technical, consult a specialist web developer who understands how to execute such a change with minimal impact.

Search engines and rankings 

Even though, generally speaking, domain names are not a major factor in search engine optimisation (SEO), changing the extension can temporarily affect your search referral traffic. Rerouting your customers via a server-side 301 redirect is one way around this, as it funnels customers and search engines through to the correct new page, so you don’t lose any business during the transition.  

You’ll also need to make sure all internal links on your new site are amended to direct audiences to your new domain (not your old one), and all your online listings and social media channels are updated.

Choosing a domain, or deciding to switch domains, is an important decision for any business. While having a com.au domain extension can be a great asset for an Australian business trying to attract Australian customers, the fundamentals of a good domain shouldn’t be overlooked. Your business’s domain should, first and foremost, reinforce your brand and make it easy for customers to find you. 

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