It’s no secret that now Britain is leaving the EU, Scotland is hoping to hold another referendum in a bid to leave Britain (and in effect break up the Union) but what does this have to do with SEO? Brexit will definitely change the face of British politics and society to some extent, but when it comes to search, why would anything change?
How would SEO be effected?
Scotland voting Yes or No depends on what side of the fence (or wall) you sit on, but as an SEO it’s not my job to decide right or wrong, but instead to use every situation as a positive. So what are the chances of Brexit changing SEO and how can you use the situation to benefit your business?
One of the most obvious changes Brexit may have on SEO is local search. Built as a savior for the small businesses up and down Britain, local search can have a significant impact on your business. If the Union does break up, local search has a chance to become even more localised, with fantastic opportunities for better regional identifiers.
If Scotland does become independent, and perhaps even Ireland reunified, people home and abroad may stop searching for Britain and UK and instead start using England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. This would not only pave the way for some smaller businesses but could also help some larger businesses appeal to audiences abroad. The appeal for ‘British made’ goods has great appeal in many parts of the world, something that regionalised TLD’s may only help to strengthen.
Could .co.uk be phased out?
There is also a possibility of the ccTLD .uk becoming obsolete and slowly phased out. If there is no such thing as the United Kingdom anymore, what is the point in having .co.uk? If .co.uk were to be phased out, it certainly wouldn’t be the first ccTLD to be so, with .GB and .DD (east Germany) previously phased out.
Although a ccTLD may become obsolete, this doesn’t necessarily mean the country code will definitely be made inactive. An example of this would be the ccTLD .su (Soviet Union) which was originally assigned in 1990 and still has quite an unsettling amount of registered domains. The domain is also publicly available, with domains available from just £29.95 a year.
ccTLD’s + Mobile
Research shows that using a local country code domain in preference to a broader TLD, such as .eu or .com, may yield a greater propensity to trust and therefore CTR. This preference comes from audiences having greater expectations from websites that use a local country code in terms of currency; localised services and delivery time / costs. The .scot TLD has already seen a fair amount of use to those who want a more specific identity, with .cymru and .wales also showing an increase in popularity.
It is also important to note that now mobile searches have officially overtaken desktop searches, Google is putting a greater emphasis on improving those search experiences. A reduced bounce rate, increase in CTR and most importantly ‘Mobile Friendliness’ are all considered ranking factors that should not be ignored. Coupling these new mobile improvements with potentially new regional identifiers across Britain could signal some fantastic localised search opportunities for proactive businesses.