Following changes to Google’s search algorithms reducing the importance of domain names in search engine optimisation (SEO) ranking, recent data indicates that exact match and keyword domains have once again become a prominent part of good SEO practice.
This, according to a report released this week by the .au registry AusRegistry, caused many to re-evaluate their domain name portfolios and SEO strategies.
The report, Behind the Dot: State of the .au Domain, is the second in a quarterly series from AusRegistry, providing detailed analysis and commentary on the .au namespace and issues affecting the domain industry.
On local news, the .au ccTLD is now approaching three million domains, with growth rates in 2014 stabilising. The report found that during 2014, four quarters of consecutive six percent growth were achieved, indicating that the .au growth rate has stabilised and that this is a mature namespace consistent with other ccTLDs such as .uk, .de, .ca and .nz.
Australians seem to like their ccTLD. With eligibility restrictions that mean an Australian presence is required, it has the second highest number of domains registered per 1,000 people in the ten Asia Pacific countries .au was compared to in the report, slightly behind .nz which has no eligibility restrictions.
In addition, .au is consistently placing in the top 10 of all 283 country codes, with over 2.9 million domains registered as of 31 December, 2014. According to the latest Domain Name Industry Brief from Verisign for the quarter ending 30 September 2014, .au ranked ninth in total registrations behind .tk (Tokelau), .de (Germany), .cn (China), .uk (United Kingdom), .ru (Russian Federation), .nl (Netherlands), .eu (European Union) and .br (Brazil) and is ahead of .fr (France).
There is also a report on a survey of business use of .au. The 2014 .au Survey reported that 76 percent of the survey respondents who hold domain names hold .au domains.
Among survey respondents, most domains are obtained for business use (over 60%) and over 20 percent of domain name holders owned a domain names portfolio.
The .au ccTLD has also entered a more secure phase. From 1 February 2015, DNSSEC became operational in .au – allowing end users to make use of DNSSEC and sign their domains.
The full report as well as the business survey report can be downloaded from: