We are all familiar with the .com, .org, .net etc but by the third quarter of 2014 NAR is expected to roll out their new top level domain .Realtor. What does this mean for Real Estate Agents & Brokers? Should you give up your .com sites? Should you 301 redirect your .com sites to your new.realtor site? Or should you just forgo the whole .Realtor extension and push forward with what you have?
In this post I will share ideas on why you should or shouldn’t get a .Realtor TLD (Top Level Domain)
First let’s talk about the benefits of the .Realtor TLD
- The search engines like Google and others will most likely treat these domain extensions differently than the .com, .org etc. Why? Because only Realtors can get this TLD. Also NAR is the only entity that can provide this domain to you. So the trust factor for the search engines might be higher. Of course you still need to follow SEO best practices but this might be an opportunity for you to future proof your Real Estate SEO. Note: this is my opinion based on the fact that unlike other new top level domains that are more generic like .lawyer or .movie etc, the .Realtor is tied to an association and that is why I hypothesize that this will have a positive impact.
- Early adopters can get better domain names. This is huge. If you already signed up for the Priority Registration List then you’re good. You can have yourname.realtor . But if you didn’t sign up early all is not lost. Just stay on top of the release that will happen in the 3rd Quarter of 2014.
- People can separate you from the crowd. This might not be the biggest thing since the average person generally defaults to the .com extension or just simply runs a basic search in google for a search term like city real estate to get local results but some people do look at the url and having the .Realtor extension might lead to higher conversions.
Now the Cons of the .Realtor TLD
You might not always be a Realtor! This is a big one. You need to remember that when you get a domain name you are actually just licensing the name from a domain registrar. This means that you never actually own it outright. That’s ok with the .com, .org etc because all you need to do is pay your $10 per year to keep the domain name. But with the .Realtor extension, NAR has full control of it and if you decide in the future to no longer be a Realtor then you will lose your precious domain name even if you offered to continue to pay for it.
You might be thinking about why would you no longer be a Realtor. You never know what the future holds and extra limitations should always be considered. Example: If I get the domain name joel.realtor and in the future I decide to no longer be a Realtor and just be a Real Estate Agent then I forfeit that domain name. But wait I still own the files and data so I’m ok right? Not necessarily. Whoever then gets the domain name will benefit from all the links that come into joel.realtor for their website. Of course you can hire a professional to analyze all your incoming links and reach out to have them change the old links to your new domain name but that’s a lot of work and cost. This means that you will have to start from scratch to reach page one of google. This also devalues your website if you chose to sell. Remember, a website is online real estate.
Should you get the new .Realtor TLD?
It doesn’t hurt to get a new domain name that might be easier for you to market yourself with. You just need to really determine if it makes sense for you.
If you’re a life long realtor that has been in the business for years then I would say yes.If you’re just getting into the business and aren’t completely sure if this is going to be what you do forever then I would advise to hold off. The .com,.org and others are generic and will be cheaper to maintain. The specialty extensions like .realtor will cost more. Note: NAR is giving Realtors the first year free. Additional pricing has not been worked out.
What to do with your current domain name?
If you already have a website and have had success reaching page one then you really need to consider if changing domain names makes sense. You can always follow SEO Best Practices when migrating a domain name.
- 301 Redirect all your .com pages to your new pages with .realtor extension. If done properly then you should maintain your rankings. Note: that this isn’t 100%. You do lose some value.
- Get new high quality links to your new .realtor site. Note: Don’t buy links! Ever! Earn them.
- Promote the new site on all social media sites, with bloggers and news sources.
Just remember the cons of doing this. Today you have a website that ranks well, you migrate the domain name to the .realtor extension, your seo value migrates there and you later decide to no longer be a realtor. You can’t easily reverse the seo value.
This is just food for thought. Obviously everyone’s career is different and what might be great for one person might not be so for others. This is your business and you need to really think through every course of action that you take.
For more information on the .Realtor TLD visit NAR.
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