Businesses within the UK and Northern Ireland are currently witnessing a revolutionary online development with the introduction of the new top level domain .uk created by the Governing body, Nominet. The new domain allows a quicker and more accessible gateway for businesses and users to grow and cultivate within the online world.
We have all seen the plethora of domain styles emerge: over the last few months we have seen the launch of domains like .london, .services, .christmas and even .ninja! You can spend a fortune (unnecessarily) on a gaggle of specific domains, but I would suggest unless you are a ninja then that particular domain style is not relevant or appropriate to you. The domain .uk is different!
Currently in the UK we use .co.uk and .org.uk which are second level domains. The domain country code has been shortened to allow users to focus solely on website names and identify where companies are based, building trust and precise answers from the sites they are looking to use and/or buy from, thus separating them from other popular worldwide domains such as .com and .org.
The development of this domain name has opened up a new avenue for users to update and create websites using what is a new top level domain for sites in the UK. It is possible to directly register a domain name with Nominet UK, but it is faster and cheaper to do it via a Nominet registrar.
Top level Domain .UK
“New registrations directly under .uk have been accepted by Nominet since 10 June 2014…however there is a reservation period for existing customers who already have a .co.uk, .org.uk, .me.uk, .net.uk, .ltd.uk or .plc.uk domain to claim the corresponding .uk domain, which runs until 10 June 2019” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.uk
Whether you are setting up a new website or want to transform your existing one into modern day top level domain, the facility to add a .uk domain is available for new and existing websites. It is uncertain at this early stage as to how this will impact Search Engine Optimisation. It is only something that can and will be tested and reviewed as the development of this country code is used.
Although the impact of this change is positive, there have been concerns over the possible confusion it may bring, especially for newer users along with the notion of why fix something that isn’t broken? We are not advising you to discard your .co.uk, however if Google and search engines treat this new country code preferentially due to its top level domain status, then it makes sense to host your site to this domain for search engine optimisation with your good old .co.uk and other second level domains forwarding to it so your regular site users don’t get left behind.