Banking SEO

In a move to prevent people setting up spam/scam sites Barclays Bank are moving away from the traditional domain extension .com and and will be using the domain extensions .barclays and .barclaycard but what does this mean for targeted traffic and how do search engines send traffic to your website?

Why ccTLDs matter

The single and strongest way to show search engines and users that site content is specifically targeted to a certain country or region is to have a country code top-level domain extension. When a site uses a ccTLD, Google and other search engines assume that the site (and all the content on it) is specifically relevant to the geographic area targeted by the ccTLD and should appear on SERPs in that area.

Domain extensions which are country code top-level (ccTLD & TLDs) domains are geo-targeted whereas other domain extensions will drive traffic from all over the world, so a domain extension such as .barclays will have the traffic coming from all countries, which could affect your global search rankings.

If any bank has cybersquatting issues it should start a UDRP. This stops scammers in their tracks and reports to the authorities.

What may happen if you decided on having a brand name as the domain extension you will end up with traffic from all over the world which is no good if you are only targeting traffic in the UK.

This change has already started for the non-transactional sites and will be introduced across all sites over time. During the migration period, automatic domain redirects will ensure customers still reach the appropriate page.

Barclays Group CISO Troels Oerting said the changed domain names simplify the user experience and make it clear to customers they are engaging with a genuine Barclays site.

Yes, I agree to a certain degree you will know you are on a government site if the domain extension is .gov or an education site .edu but how many customers are going to remember to use the brand name at the end of the URL extension? Customers want less complicated ways of searching and although the brand name will work as a vanity/charm domain extension it will do absolutely nothing in terms of their SEO.

A gccTLD is a domain extension country code top-level domain (ccTLD) that is considered GENERIC due to its branding and usage. That’s what gccTLD stands for, generic country code top-level domain. gccTLDs are seen by search engines such as Google as generic instead of country-targeted for search. So what Google and other search engines will do is every time someone types in the keyword brand name, the brand name will pop up but will send traffic from all countries. So for example, if you are only targeting the UK you may get some Japanese or Chinese visitors also.

An IT Security professional in the banking sector said initiatives like this will help, but he warned that educating customers to check the actual domain name they are visiting is legitimate.

I reckon to educate the consumer brand names wishing to use vanity domain extensions need to do a lot of Advertising and PR, especially on Social Media as not everyone watches Terrestrial TV anymore or reads the newspapers. This campaign needs to be quirky so that the user is engaged in the advertisement and does not skip it.

Vanity Domain Extension – These are much like a custom license plate. The purpose can be to express the individuality of the business or brand. However, it has to be said that Vanity Domain Extension does nothing to help with country code targeted traffic. Some examples are .NINJA, .TRAVEL and .CLUB. .BANK

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