Search engine optimization (SEO) was traditionally looked upon as a means of being found in first page at the top for search query returns. Over the years it has acquired new meanings and today encompass protecting your online brand image as well. With so many players in the Internet, it is easy to be lost in the wilderness, even though your website may have a unique name. Worse still, people may mistake other businesses for yours. If that is the case, you could lose your existing customers, and new ones may not be able to find you.
The Old Ways of Finding Your Business Still Works
If every visitor came to your website through links, life would have been much easier for you, but facts are otherwise – and you should remember that a vast majority of those who visit websites, still do it by jotting down the website’s name on a piece of paper before keying them in the browser address line. This can prove to be a bane as well as God’s gift for your website. Gift, if somebody else’s customer came to you and bane if you lose a prospective customer. Of course, you will never be able to tell how many you have lost.
All this happens because of the numerous domain names that are in use today, with the dot com extension being the most common and most preferred. When you optimize your website, you should take this fact into consideration, and you shouldn’t forget that genuine as well as unscrupulous elements can take advantage of this single malady to hijack your customers.
How to Protect Your Brand from Cyber Squatters?
Of course, legal protection is available to protect your domain name from being used by others even if they are used with other extensions, but the expenses associated with petitioning the courts and the time delays that they cause can be frustrating and the end result sometimes disappointing. However, not everything is lost, if you take timely actions to secure yourself.
Here is how some domain owners protect their brand name (domain name) from being misused by others.
- When you first register your domain name with the domain registrar for .com, you should also register the same for other popular extension like .edu, .net, .org and others. After registering them, provide an automated redirect to your principal domain from the ancillary domains. This single step by itself can aid substantially in not losing visitors. The other benefit is your brand will gain credence and value.
- Register you domain name as a registered trademark internationally. International laws provide solutions protecting the privacy of your brand name and that includes your domain name privacy as well. Once you have done that, you will have unfettered rights to its usage, and no one other than you can use it even for other domain names. This step does entail some expenses, including hiring a trademark attorney. He or she will be able to guide you on how to proceed with legal formalities.
- Unscrupulous elements can hijack your brand name when they register a domain name with words such as “the” at the beginning of the name. Registering your brand name will help you fight against this, but a simpler and easier way to come around this problem is to register a variant of your domain name with, or without “the” if you have it in your name already.
- Another trick that cyber squatters, as they are known, use to hijack your domain name is by registering it ahead of your doing it. When you do a who is search, you will notice that the domain is for sale. Requesting a domain transfer from cyber squatters is expensive. They did it days ahead of you to make a killing. If you have a valid registration for your preferred domain name, you can fight it out though.
- The best way to protect your business brand name is to ensure that the chosen name is unique and does not have some commonly found words in it. When you register it under trademark or intellectual property laws, you are doubly assured of safety from cyber squatters.
There are a few apps that help you choose creative domain names just in case you are stuck.
Advice You May Want to Try
Fortunately, genuine websites can use the services of Uniform Domain-name Dispute Resolution Policy to get disputes settled within a time frame. They will help you save time and court expenses. Registering your brand name in advance will, in most cases, help you get your domain name if it has been hijacked. Remember that prevention is better than cure.
Domain names have a big effect on your SEO and Social Media efforts. So act fast and protect your brand.
Kathryn Smith works for InnovateSearch as a SEO and social media manager. She has contributed her findings to many blogs and spread ideas among many in the search engine optimization community.