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Why Should Healthcare Organizations Buy .health Domains?

Blayne Fielder

For many years, clients have asked us about the necessity of buying URLs for their healthcare sites. Should we purchase every possible domain that could be affiliated with our brand? Every .net, .biz, etc.?

There’s some misinformation that additional domains could offer some search engine optimization (SEO) benefit. We’ve even had cases where “squatters” have tried to resell a client’s similar domain name back to them for thousands of dollars.

Purchasing extra domain names is almost never necessary. There’s absolutely no immediate SEO benefit from a new domain unless it’s already in use on another website. The .org and .edu domain suffixes most healthcare organizations use is authoritative and recognizable enough to distinguish brand sites from similarly-named URLs.

But a recently released domain suffix has us changing our tune. On July 20, 2017, dotHealth, an internet registry company, released the domain suffix “.health” for healthcare and health industry websites. We recommend our healthcare partners consider purchasing a .health domain right away. It’s a smart move short-term to provide a branded digital marketing option (think owned landing pages), and long-term to plan for the flexible growth of your brand. If your brand name ends with “health,” then stop reading and register right now!

Why we recommend applying for a .health domain now

During the current industry-access period, only organizations and brands that are validated to provide high-quality health information, services, and products will be allowed to apply for the domain. The .health domain suffix will open to the public in December 2017, with specific regulations they must follow. However, now is your chance to pick up affiliated URLs before anyone else has the chance to snap up your domain of choice.

Mayo Clinic, Pfizer, Amazon, and Google already are registered for .health domains, which work just like .com, .org, and other high-level domain suffixes. And as more medical centers move from “healthcare” branding to “health” branding, the .health domain suffix can become a natural and attractive extension of the brand. For example, if “Cedar Rapids Health” had the current website URL crhealth.org, we would recommend purchasing cr.health.

The .health domain suffixes provide unique opportunities for branding and current and future digital marketing campaigns the often live on third-party domains

And if a site is redesigned in the future, healthcare organizations will already own the URL and could potentially use it for their new site, depending upon the success of the .health domain suffix. Either way, it’s an option that’s worthwhile and that we recommend.

Schedule a free 15-minute call with Blayne Fielder to discuss digital marketing ideas for .health URLs.

How to get a .health domain

All organizations that want to purchase a .health domain suffix must go through an application and qualification process. Healthcare and health and wellness organizations and brands must validate that they are qualified members of the health industry. To do so, you must get an Industry Access token directly from dotHealth at www.get.health/apply, or from a health organization partner of dotHealth.

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