Introducing the newest domain extension on the block: .health. The shiny new domain will be available to a growing number of brands and organizations throughout fall 2017. Learn why and when to get a .health, and how to make the most of it.
We’ve seen a lot of new top-level domains open up in recent years: .tech, .media, .store, and even .bar. This summer marked the arrival of a new vertical TLD relevant to anyone who works in a health-related profession or industry.
July 20 to November 30, 2017 marks the industry access phase of the .health domain extension. Which means that any health industry brand, organization or individual can apply for a token to register for a .health domain. Once this phase is closed, the domain opens up to everyone. If you offer or plan to offer products and services that are remotely related to health and wellness you may want to explore the opportunities that a .health domain can bring.
Why register a .health domain?
Brands haven’t always embraced the new wave of domain extensions, many of which have been associated with domain squatters or companies that were too late to the party to obtain a coveted .com domain.
We expect this to change as online retailers, services and organizations become increasingly specialized. While many organizations are simply hedging their bets by getting all the shiny new TLDs, others understand that the right domain extension with the right content can help lead to new audiences, markets and revenue.
DotHealth LLC, the company behind the new domain, claims it has policies to ensure that anyone who registers a .health is legitimately providing health services, products or information. This means your brand will share a relevant extension with other brands that are legitimately in your vertical. A best case scenario will see a .health domain carry as much information and authority as a .org or .edu.
When can you register your .health domain?
DotHealth is offering .health domains in three phases:
- Sunrise period: Until July 7, 2017
The first organizations eligible to acquire a .health domain required existing trademarks registered with the ICANN Trademark Clearinghouse. In other words, if you already own the top-level domain for your organization’s trademarked name, and have registered with the Clearinghouse, you can register a .health equivalent during the sunrise period.
- Industry access period: July 20 to November 30, 2017
During the second phase, qualified health care organizations, brands and individuals can qualify for advance access to a .health domain. To qualify, you must receive a token from a health industry partner, or apply for a token online.
- General availability: begins December 5, 2017
Once ICANN trademark holders and qualified health industry applicants have had a chance to register their .health, the domain extension becomes available to everyone. According to dotHealth, they will monitor domain holders to verify their legitimacy and ensure the long-term quality sites that carry the .health extension.
Will a .health help with SEO?
At the time of this post, a .health domain is not expected to give you any SEO benefit. But as we all know, this can change. If it is proven over time that .health domains have authority with users, Google may well give more weight to .health domains. It’s up to you and everyone else who holds a .health domain to create content that gives .health the authority it deserves.
Is a .health domain going to help my business?
The jury is still out on whether one of the dozens of new domain extensions will generate more or better traffic for your business. Part of it is up to you: How can you make a .health domain work for you business or organization?
Here are a few ways to make the most of your shiny new .health domain:
Keep squatters at bay
By registering a .health domain and associating it with your brand, you keep domain squatters at bay, ensuring that .health doesn’t become the latest craze for parked domains and spammy content. Along the same lines, if you buy your .health domain when it first comes available, you may be spared paying considerably higher prices to a domain squatter down the road.
If your business is active in many verticals (for example, insurance), you may want to create a .health domain for the part of your business that provides health-oriented products and services. This is a great opportunity to target health consumers with custom landing pages and health-related content.
Come up with a memorable URL
Get creative by registering a domain that turns .health into a memorable phrase. Try variations such as wecareaboutyour.health or workingtogetherfor.health (these may or may not already exist…).
Differentiate yourself as a practitioner
Healthcare practitioners may be interested in registering a .health domain to associate it with their personal or business name. If you have a popular name, registering a domain with .health on the end of it will help potential patients or clients identify you as someone who provides health services.
.health is what you make of it
In many ways, a new domain extension thrives based on what the industry does with it — the quality of the services, product and content that people can find on websites that carry the domain. If you’re active in the health industry, you can contribute to giving .health a good name by associating it with a solid brand with engaging content.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on the new .health domain. Did you get one? Do you plan to do anything unique with it? Let us know!
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