Like every business owner, when we were launching A&B, we went looking for a .com domain and like many business owners, these days ended up not finding it. We had two choices:-
Pay the domain owner (squatter) crazy amounts of money to buy it from them.
Go for a geographical TLD like .in or .co.in.
Become adventurous with a domain like .xyz
Option 1 was out as we did not have too many $$$, Option 2 was out as it would restrict us in case of a future expansion, so we had pretty much no choice 🙂
The below story is how we fought our .com obsession, and not only adopted newer TLD like xyz but also outranked .com domains.
The first thing you need to step in the Digital World is a website, where you can land your users. And obviously, a unique domain name is needed for users to remember and visit your website.
A lot of times what happens is the domain with the .com variation you want to buy is already taken and you are left with the option to go ahead with some other name or compromise with your TLD (Top Level Domain).
But do you know xyz as a TLD exists?
A lot of Webmaster and business owners are hesitant to try a new TLD because of a lot of reasons. One of the major is: SEO of the website depends on a lot of factors and your domain name is one of them and that’s the reason webmasters are scared to invest in it.
By the end of this blog, you would be convinced that using an XYZ domain is no different than the other gTLD’s
Before we get started let’s introduce you to the person who was responsible for the emergence of xyz domain in the year 2014. Daniel Negari is the CEO of XYZ registry and one of the youngest registry operators in the world when asked about his view on xyz TLD and why it should exist? He told, “you end the alphabet with X, Y, Z, why not end domain names the same way?”.
Like you are not getting a domain with a .com TLD just because it’s on auction which indirectly impacts the freedom to use the internet for this reason xyz TLD came into the existence ..!! You may also see big brands launching on xyz. eg. MIT (Engine.xyz), the co-founders of Skype (Starship.xyz), etc. You can check out a full list of xyz domain live around the globe here.
Do you know how many websites in the world use a xyz TLD?
“In November 2015, xyz reached 1.5 million domain name registrations. As of January 2016, xyz was the sixth most registered domain name on the Internet. As of June 2016, xyz was the fourth most registered global top-level domain (gTLD) name on the Internet, after .com, .net, and .org”
This implies the use of the xyz TLD is going upwards. In fact, Google itself chose this domain for their parent company Alphabet Inc.
A strange thing happened in our case: Moz OSE didn’t use to show any metric for xyz TLD, even to the limit that the tool showed DA, PA as just 1 for Google’s parent company abc.xyz
We tweeted Moz & Rand Fishkin with the issue and they were very astonished to figure this out. Even John & Rand had a fun time in the comments when John said, “It implies Google doesn’t consider Domain Authority in their rankings”
— TheRankMachine (@TRMrankmachine) December 14, 2017
But the good bit is Moz has now updated their OSE to Link Explorer Tool, it now recognises most of the TLDs.
Do TLD matters to Google?
For SEO’s even a hint of a ranking factor can make or break the deal for them. The most commonly used TLD in the world is .com with a 46% stake.
There was a time when Google used to consider .com as the preferred TLD for ranking websites in their search engine. But the story has changed completely now. Google has officially mentioned a number of times that TLD doesn’t matter and they crawl almost all the TLDs that are present in the current system. In 2015 John Mueller wrote this blog on How Google processes all the new TLDs in search rankings.
Actionable Steps we took to rank www.aandb.xyz ahead of other .com domains.
1. Optimised Page Speed with the score of 99/100:
The first thing we started with the work for our website was page speed improvement. Though page speed is officially a ranking factor in mobile searches, we emphasised on this point since 2016 and knew very well that the speed of a website impacts rankings in search engines to an extent. We used PSI Tool to work on the website speed and we had a goal in common with the dev team that the optimisation score should be at least in 90’s out of 100.
The result: we improved and optimised the load time of all the pages on our website with a minimum score of 90.
Here’s the screenshot of PSI score of our home page:
2. Revamped Website Design
We worked a lot on revamping our website design as the older version was not that good and interactive. so we planned for a new version of A&B. Started with including an attractive video in the first fold which includes what we are, what we do and our office space. See how kick it is here.
Our website was just a static one earlier, during this revamp we designed & created all the internal pages. We added the call to actions on proper places on the page to ease the navigation for the users.
We also launched our blog and created a page for case studies so that more content can be added on the website as it is visually very appealing but the room for content is less on services and home page.
The alignment of the folds on our webpage was done keeping in mind the user and mobile accessibility.
Revamping the website helped us a lot in terms of usability and gave our website a good structure, more content, and more service pages which we targeted for different keywords
3. Focused on User Experience
After the process of revamping, we managed to achieve a better user experience as compared to what we had earlier. As a result of the revamping process, we observed an increase in the Dwell time which is the time spent by the user on a website.
Adding some interesting videos, images or anything which is related to your services and make the website more informative (level of information matters whether it’s for the home page, service page or any other page). Accordingly, we managed to frame the content, video, and image to create a better user interaction.
“The whole and sole motive were to make the user interact with the website which in turn increases the Dwell time and make sure the user takes proper actions in our case it was getting more digital marketing leads.”
4. Created Backlinks to our Website
Backlinks are consistently one of the most important ranking factors for the search engines and also one of the hardest things to do in SEO.
Our strategy for creating backlinks to our website was simple. It included guest blogging, content marketing for our blog articles and one benefit we had was we got links from the footer of the website which we had designed and developed.
As we are in the agency business a lot of agencies shut down in a year and we found some similar agencies which were closed permanently and had broken links coming from high authority websites. We did reach out to them and managed to get to some links.
Our main focus in this area was to build High-Quality backlinks instead of low-quality quantitative links. The result: we managed to outrank domains with more backlinks and referring domain than us. We approached the right websites that actually linked back to us.
5. Started with CRO
After all the aspects of SEO (on-page, off-page, technical) were taken care of, we started with CRO
CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) is the mechanism of increasing the conversions on a website with the current set of visitors by doing A/B tests, improving UI, UX issues, fixing and resolving bugs, etc.
The ultimate goal of any business is to increase revenue, One side where SEO, PPC, social and other channels bring traffic to the website, on the other hand, CRO helps to convert the potential traffic into customers.
The best way to start is to get in your customer shoes and see how they are experiencing the website.
A lot of tools like Hotjar, Yandex Metrica, Crazyegg etc all can help you to analyse and track user behaviours.
We personally used Hotjar and Yandex Metrica and started to look for any blockage that would hurt our conversions.
We used the heatmap and session replay feature of Hotjar to find out how the users were experiencing our website
Below is the list of bugs which we found on our website and got it fixed.
To our surprise, we found that the fonts we used were looking different in chrome, safari, and firefox which was causing a readability issue.
There was a glitch in the video on our home page and similar bugs. We also made a few UI changes for a better mobile experience.
All this helped us to improve the user experience and directly improving our conversion rate.
The Result: Our Website started to rank ahead of a lot of .com domains.
The result of all these efforts? We are still ranking ahead of the .com, .in domains and most commonly used TLDs domains. We are ranking on the first page for most of our targeted keywords and not only ranking locally but also for some keywords in the UK. We were getting leads from London because our website mentions the address of our London Office.
Below are some of the 1st-page rankings for competitive keywords:
Keyword: digital marketing agency in mumbai- 4th Position
Keyword: seo agency in mumbai – 6th Position
Keyword: Influencer marketing agency mumbai – 1st position
Clearly, you can’t say that only .com and ccTLD can rank on the 1st page. The conclusion here is to focus on the 5 pillars of SEO that is
- Code – Keep your code clean, and website accessible to search engines.
- Content – keep your users in the first place and develop content keeping them in mind.
- Performance – focus on speed and make sure everything loads under 3-5 seconds.
- Links – Create High Quality, contextual links to your website.
- Mobile – focus on user experience and optimise for mobile devices, make your website responsive and be ready for Mobile First Indexing
Do your normal SEO, definitely, Google will reward you with high rankings and don’t stress about your TLD.