Is it wise for dealers to adopt .CARS domain names?

When St. Louis Motorcars, a luxury automotive dealership in Missouri, decided to move their existing website from www.STLMotorcars.com to www.STL.CARS, no one knew what would happen. The website’s traffic would be redirected to the new web address, but when it came to the adoption of their new URL on the web, and how the search engines would treat it, was anyone’s guess. In an effort to understand how the internet search engines, such as Google, deals with the new Top Level Domains (TLDs) such as .CARS, .CAR, and .AUTO, Globe Runner looked at several early adopters of the .CARS domain names. Specifically, we did a deep dive on one website in particular, St. Louis Motorcars. When we looked at the data before the move and after the move, you’ll never believe what had happened when they moved.

Based on our thorough review, we have observed direct evidence that the site’s overall search engine rankings have gone up. Google Analytics data, Google Search Console data and third party data have all led us to conclude that the site did not suffer as a result of the move. In fact, the website’s overall traffic is trending upwards since the website was moved from StlMotorcars.com to Stl.Cars. We are very interested in the fact that the website was moved from StlMotorcars.com to Stl.Cars, without any on-site changes, and the website’s rankings went up. The site’s rankings continue to trend upwards, especially for ‘generic’ keyword phrases. Based on our observations, we recommend that website owners in the automotive industry consider moving their websites to a .CARS/ .CAR/ .AUTO domain name if the domain name will be shorter and ultimately “better”. We don’t see any negative impacts from moving, and we are even seeing upward traffic and ranking trends after moving. We recommend involving someone who is highly experienced in moving websites from one URL to another, as the moving process is complex and can easily be done in a way that can actually harm the website’s traffic and search engine rankings

Posted by Bill Hartzer, March 16th 2016- Globe Runner Study

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