/ Published 12 September 2021
`Australian businesses with websites have had second-level domains for a long time. By second domain, we’re talking about getting web names like “domain.com.au, domain.net.au, or domain.org.au,” which somewhat seems a tad lengthy for clients. In 2017, auDA announced introducing a set of rules for the Australian domain, all under “direct registrations.” 
The main idea was to shorten the URLs and broaden the available names list as they won’t be linked to the “.com” or “.net” domains. Instead, the names will simply be “domain.au.”(a tacky digital marketing idea).
The law was passed on 12 April 2021 and websites could now migrate to the new URL extension. So, what does this mean for law firms and businesses alike? In this piece, we’ll go through the rules of owning a .au domain and how you need to adjust your business SEO as a result. 
And oh, you don’t have to change your domain if you don’t want to. The website migration process is totally optional.

What Is A Domain Name?

In every business online, there has to be a point of preference or accessibility. A domain name gives a business a permanent address on the internet. It is where you can find the business online by typing the address of the business. The website name has a lot of formats, but the general website address looks like “www.yourcompanyname.com.” Clients or visitors use the domain names and internal links to interact with the website or find it on search engines like Google. The site name has a lot of SEO value such as link building, driving organic traffic, social media marketing, etc.

Do I need to have my web address to end with .au instead of .com.au?

We know that location is a big part of Australian customer selection criteria. Most companies still prefer to work with local service providers because they have more control, better service quality, direct communication and ultimately piece of mind. We believe that if the business serves local suburbs then it must use .com.au or .au. 


1. Launching your website with or changing to .au will reinforce you local brand and carry over the "Australian made" message. You have an immediate advantage over .com competitors. 
2. It takes less time to type. 
3. Better relevancy in terms of SEO, as long as it helps your target audience and create less confusion.
4. Some larger firms use the TLDs (last bit of the web address) to capture their brand name. For example goo.gle, bure.au or chate.au. Be creative! 


1. If you are already using .com.au, it may be very expensive to move over to .au. Just transitioning emails on itself to a new TLD is going to be an extended process and retraining of staff. 
2. You will have to add redirects. If a website mentions your website they will link to the correct new domain, otherwise your page will not be found. Learn more about permanent redirects on Ahrefs.  
3. Market overall may not be ready for .au. Australia has been typing .com.au at the end of the web addressed since 1991 and for users to get used to typing the new format may take some time. 

A Glance At The New auDA Changes

The new changes might be a little too complex for new website owners, but luckily we have made it easier for you with key takeouts and site scenarios. Typically most of the new changes aren’t new but rather tweaked to fit the new rules which add an SEO benefit. However, here are some notable changes that businesses with the old site need to be keen on. 
The first significant change is that you don’t need to sign up for a trademark to get the new .au domain. auDA has changed the requirements for site migrations, and companies don’t need to prove a connection with the site name such as an Australian Trade Mark. All they need is proof of Australian presence.

But what entails an Australian presence? 

In simpler terms, a business must show that they are based in Australia and have a permanent Australian residency or an Australian Company Number (ACN)/ Australian Business Number (ABN). Such businesses can apply for a new site name if the name is not already taken or prohibited by the government.  Also, the businesses must have a valid Australian phone number where clients can access the staff. 
Speaking of trademarks, the new rules are quite strict for foreign businesses. For example, once you have satisfied the Australian presence feature, you need to have an exact match of the TradeMark to be given your preferred site name. In short, the website must match the name on the TradeMark word by word. It should also be in the same order which they appear in the Trade Mark. 
While this move seems a bit tricky, it may prove to be a real game-changer in search engine optimisation and boosting search traffic. It prevents your URL to show up in irrelevant Google search engine results. From an SEO point of view, new businesses should take a keen interest in google analytics, link explorer, content creation, and search engine rankings. 
For instance, let’s say you have a real estate company called Smart Development Inc and Sharp Development Inc. Still, you only own registration rights to Smart Development Inc. Before, you could use the following websites in Australia: 
However, under the new rules, you’ll need separate trademark applications for the three names, “Smart Development Inc,” “Smarter Development Inc,” and “Sharp Development”, to be able to register these site-specific domains.
If you want to lease to third-party companies or maybe sell subdomains, the company needs to be a related corporation with an Australian presence. The new auDA rules on subdomains help create credibility in data found on WHOIS as it will reflect the original company using the website name. 

No Exceptions For Monetisation

Also, another addition to the new auDA rules is the licensing of domain monetisations. The law does not allow website monetisation for “.au” websites. In addition, the rule does not apply to “.com.au” and “.net.au” domains. Before, site owners were allowed to use website names for monetisation if the brands used did not match any site name and content had met certain url requirements. 

What To Do As a Website Business Owner

First off, if you already own a “.com.au” or “.net.au” domain and it expires after 12th April, previous rules will apply until this date. The new rules apply to existing websites but do not force any company to change to the new website. However, we recommend doing so, as it seems to have better benefits to companies. 
Some options to consider following this change include: 
Check on the site name, user, and use of URL names to ensure you fully comply with the new set of rules. 
Site name complaints and transfers from registered users with similar names take a long time, and it is important to consider this during such processes. 
Review site names that require exact matches of TradeMarks, especially in applications held by foreign businesses. 
Read through all policies and implement where possible to ensure there are no breaches, especially with usage restrictions. 
Renew your site name for the next five years to ensure a smooth transition for the new rules. 

What's Next For Australian Businesses?

The new rules brought by auDA keep the namespace industry trusted and well-protected under Australian jurisdiction. It breathes new life into the SEO community as it will change how Australian companies appear on Google search results. While the new website migration law makes it easy for Australian brands to protect their authority, it also makes it a bit strenuous for foreign businesses that do not yet have an Australian presence.
Even with local SEO or word of mouth advertising, the real credibility of such sites will show in the ."au" domain. For them to be visible on Google and other search engines, the new Australia website extension may be indispensable in the future. Foreign brand owners need to work on these requirements for site audits before registering for the new “.au” website domain. 
This opens up more SEO opportunities for Australian domain owners to hold more site names and possibly increase traffic from Australia. It will help maximise the old site portfolio and increase SEO visibility to clients all over. Even for foreign companies looking to start a business, it gives you an ideal opportunity to build upon solid grounds with all requirements fulfilled. It is also a convenient chance to use the new “.au” domain instead of doing website migrations! 

Get Site Migration SEO Today

If you need to migrate to the new “.au” domain or perhaps need other SEO site migration services, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Bam Studio to prepare a domain migration plan. Our SEO experts offer site migration to the new country code top-level domain, digital marketing, keyword research, etc. Our content marketing techniques give your website domain authority and a better ranking in search engines. Contact us today for a free consultation! 

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