Search, SEO and the Advantages of a .CPA Domain for Firms

Moving to a new web address, an updated ‘online’ business location, is just like upgrading to the ‘exclusive’ office in your city. Depending on your current location, moving could be just like going from a small office on the outskirts of your local city to a large office in a high-rise in the central business district. It’s all about location and a change makes a statement: you’re moving up.

It’s the First Thing They See

The first time a potential client sees your web address, they’ll know exactly what your firm does, even before they click through to your website. They’ll see a URL such as www.MyFirm.cpa. There’s no question about what they’ll find – the website of a CPA firm – when it turns up in a search or link on another site.. The proper domain name, especially a domain name that includes a “keyword” that describes your business, helps with your firm’s overall image, branding, and marketing. And since an appropriate keyword is in the domain name, it can help with your search engine positioning.

How the Search Engines See .CPA Domain Names

Search engine representatives, such as John Mueller from Google, have pointed out that all top-level domains (TLDs)), such as .com, net, .org, .bank and even .cpa have the same opportunities to “rank” well in search engine results pages. Every domain name and URL is given the same chance to rank well for their intended keywords. This is good news, as they’re all created equal. But, why do some websites rank at the top of the search engine result pages, higher than other websites? There are hundreds, if not thousands, of search engine algorithm factors that go into the search engine results. But, one in particular can give you an ‘edge’ over the competition. Let me explain. One important factor is how other sites refer to your website, or how they “link” to your website. The search engines look at the context of where your link appears, the “link text” that is used as a link, and even the URL of the link, as well as the ‘keywords’ that are in the link. If you use a keyword rich domain name, such as keyword.cpa, then there is a good chance the other website linking to you will use “keyword CPA” or “keyword CPAs” to link to your website. That’s a good thing if you want to show visitors and the search engines that your website is about “keyword CPA” or “keyword “CPAs”.

You’re in Good Company

All .cpa domain names are in what is called a “restricted TLD (Top Level Domain)”. Only licensed CPA firms and (eventually) licensed individual CPA are allowed to own a .cpa domain name and put a website on it. What that also means is there will never be a .cpa domain name that contains content that’s unrelated to accounting. On an unrestricted TLD, there will inevitably be websites that don’t match the keywords in the domain name -- these could contain website spam, or even phishing and illegal activities. By using a .cpa domain name, you’re in good company since applicants for .cpa domain names are properly screened. The search engines know it’s a restricted TLD and they could take that into consideration when evaluating the website for search engine rankings. And, as more and more .cpa firms’ websites go live, the public will learn to trust a .cpa domain name, just as they trust a .gov or .edu domain name.

Concerns about Moving to a New .CPA Domain Name

Companies and individuals have been moving their websites to a different domain name for years. In fact, I did my first domain name migration back in the 1990s. I moved the site to a much better domain name. There are many reasons why websites need to move to a new URL, including companies that merge, businesses that acquire other businesses, and some that sell their domain name or even purchase a better or shorter domain name. All are valid reasons for moving and migrating to a new web address. Over the years, best practices have been developed, and search engines like Google provide a Change of Address form to assist website owners when they move. The key here, though, is to get all of the “technical issues” right so that there aren’t any issues when you do make that move to a better .cpa domain name. Adhere to the industry’s best practices for moving and migrating, and technically there won’t be any reason why the website should lose any website traffic, or even lose any search engine rankings because of the move.

Moving to Another Domain Name: Best Practices

What are these best practices?. They generally involve pre-move preparations, pre-planning the move, steps made when actually moving, and tasks that should be done after the move is complete. Pre-planning involves tasks such as making a backup of your website, using web crawling tools to help you make a list of all of the pages on your website, and getting ready to set up a “redirect” from the old web page(s) to the new web page(s) on the domain name you’re moving to. Then, I recommend pre-planning, such as working through the tasks on a moving checklist. Planning a date and time, as well as detailing who is responsible in your organization for moving the website, is recommended. There are tasks that must be performed on “moving day”, such as actually moving some files on the website’s web server. Then, after moving day, it’s smart to keep an eye on things and inform other websites you’ve moved to a new location so they will update their links.

The Bottom Line: Should You Move to a .CPA Domain?

Should you move to your existing website CPA website to a .cpa domain name? I highly recommend it. I consider it an upgrade, an opportunity to further enhance your firm’s branding and a chance to secure, in most cases, a shorter domain name. Are you using something like “yourfirmnamecpa.com”? A shorter version would be yourfirmname.cpa or even ‘yourcity.cpa’. The main keyword is in the domain name and it describes exactly what your firm does --even before visitors click to your website, they’ll know you’re a CPA.

The .cpa Registry, the folks behind .cpa, are doing everything right to ensure your success with a new .cpa domain. Look for additional resources, such as guides to moving and checklists to ensure your future success online.