You may have noticed that over the course of the past two years a number of brands and individuals have been choosing to upgrade from their existing web address to .CO. We’ve seen companies ditch the dash (e.g. komai-co.com to komai.co), save future visitors from typing way too many characters (e.g. startupamericapartnership.org to s.co) and in the case of LeWeb, choose to upgrade to a web address that better suits their brand: from LeWeb.net to LeWeb.co. But, what are the SEO implications behind such an upgrade?
LeWeb is the #1 Internet event in Europe — with over 3,500 participants from 76 countries. This popular conference’s speakers have included some of the most notable web technology business leaders from around the globe — we’re talking about executives from tech giants such as Google, YouTube, Spotify, Zappos and more!
Founder of LeWeb, Loic Le Meur was eager to move from what he referred to as “my grandmother’s domain extension” of .NET to .CO in order to reflect the cutting-edge LeWeb brand by embracing the domain extension of innovators. I helped the LeWeb team complete the upgrade to .CO without skipping a beat on the search engines.
When we started in May 2012, I found the following stats for LeWeb.net:
- The single #1 listing for branded “leweb” terms
- Not in top 150 listings for competitive terms such as “2012 web conference”
Here’s what the upgrade timeline was like from an SEO standpoint:
3 months in advance:
- Coordinated with technical team
- Benchmarked current traffic, rankings, and technical metrics
- Identified current pages indexed, external links, 404s and 301 redirects
- Submitted sitemap.xml for the current site
- Ensured current site had been crawled by Google
- Established a 301 redirect plan
- Launched a new site with a robots.txt site blockage for testing purposes
- Programmed and tested 301 redirects
- Submitted new sitemap.xml for new .co site to Google Webmaster Tools
- Removed robots.txt blockage
- Continued to test 301s on live site
- Completed change of address in Google Webmaster Tools
- Launched social media and PR campaigns
- Monitored traffic and rankings
- Modified external links to point to new .CO site
- Built new external links to new .CO site
After completing a smooth transition in May of 2012, this is where LeWeb.co ranked as of June 2012:
- Increased search engine visibility due to multiple search engine listings for the same term (i.e., #1, #2 and #3)
- Ranking increases of over 50 spots for more competitive terms such as “2012 web conference”
- 123% increase in monthly organic visits
Now, obviously this wasn’t just due to the upgrade of the domain extension, as all SEO requires content optimization as well, but it’s a great example of how you can improve both your branding and your SEO value during an upgrade to .CO!
If you want more information on .CO and SEO, you can also see our .CO SEO page here!