Institutional rebranding and .edu domain change

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Institutional rebranding and .edu domain change

Rosenberger, Luke E

Colleagues: back in April I posted to uwebd about planning a potential institutional name change, and the implications that would be involved in changing our .edu domain. Thanks again to those of you who provided helpful responses to that inquiry.

 

Our rebranding process is indeed moving forward now -- and we are, in fact, looking ahead at the implications of the domain change. One of the biggest challenges, of course, is the restriction in EDUCAUSE policy that limits each institution to only one .edu domain. Under current policy, if an institution wants to change to a new .edu domain, they only have a six-month grace period to overlap between the old domain and the new domain. That limitation is pretty daunting, because the impacts go so much further than just the website. EDUCAUSE does offer provisions to request an extension, and we have also recently learned of some moves toward lifting that one-domain-per-institution policy, but much of that is either hypothetical, envisioned, or uncertain.

 

Some of my colleagues here have recently been looking at what our sister institution in Tyler did, when they rebranded from “UT Health Science Center Tyler” to “UT Health Northeast”: they ended up deciding to go with a .org domain (uthealth.org) as their primary domain. This is attractive on the implementation side, because it means we could keep our current .edu domain, and overlap it indefinitely with a new .org domain which would become our primary, aligned with our new branding. (Note: the official name of our institution will remain UT Health Science Center San Antonio, but under the rebranding, we will take on a new “doing business as” identity, much as they did in Tyler).

 

However, I’m concerned about some of the possible implications of going with a .org as our main domain.  First, while the general Internet user population may not pay a lot of attention to the TLDs of websites, I’m concerned that certain key subsets of our audience, such as prospective students, faculty or researchers, will pay attention to the TLDs of search results as a way to help distinguish between legitimate institutional sites and other sorts of sites (like third-party rating/ranking sites).

 

Second, and perhaps even more importantly, is the question of search engine positioning. We’ve operated for quite a while on the understanding that, independent of other factors such as content quality, having a .edu TLD tends to give our site better authority scoring in search-engine ranking algorithms.

 

Unfortunately, I haven’t yet found any really objective studies or data to quantify the effect of either of those two effects on user behavior (i.e. clickthrough rates) or search positioning. There is, however, an awful lot of conflicting “expert” opinion out there about both issues.

 

Do any of you know of any other institutions (besides UT Health Northeast in Tyler) that have gone with a .org as their main institutional domain -- or have considered doing so? Or do you know of any research into the actual objective effects that a .edu domain has either on search positioning or on click-through rates from SERPs?

 

Thanks,

-- 
Luke Rosenberger
Director of Web Initiatives
UT Health Science Center San Antonio
7703 Floyd Curl Dr MSC 7900
San Antonio TX 78229-3900
<a href="tel:%2B1%20210.567.2486" target="_blank">+1 210.567.2486[hidden email]

 



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RE: Institutional rebranding and .edu domain change

Kreider,Eric W

Very quick, off the hip reaction:

 

If you use the .org and keep the current .edu, do an admissions portal in the .edu domain. A little creative work with vanity links etc. and you could mirror the sites. This will, however, create and SEO nightmare and you’ll have to be very careful how you proceed with your redirects and DNS entries. And I’m NOT the one to tell you how to do that. I’d hire it done!

 

 

 

-Eric

Eric Kreider

Director, Web Services

(330) 972-5303

[hidden email]

 

From: Rosenberger, Luke E [mailto:[hidden email]]
Sent: Tuesday, August 23, 2016 12:15 PM
To: [hidden email]
Subject: [uwebd] Institutional rebranding and .edu domain change

 

Colleagues: back in April I posted to uwebd about planning a potential institutional name change, and the implications that would be involved in changing our .edu domain. Thanks again to those of you who provided helpful responses to that inquiry.

 

Our rebranding process is indeed moving forward now -- and we are, in fact, looking ahead at the implications of the domain change. One of the biggest challenges, of course, is the restriction in EDUCAUSE policy that limits each institution to only one .edu domain. Under current policy, if an institution wants to change to a new .edu domain, they only have a six-month grace period to overlap between the old domain and the new domain. That limitation is pretty daunting, because the impacts go so much further than just the website. EDUCAUSE does offer provisions to request an extension, and we have also recently learned of some moves toward lifting that one-domain-per-institution policy, but much of that is either hypothetical, envisioned, or uncertain.

 

Some of my colleagues here have recently been looking at what our sister institution in Tyler did, when they rebranded from “UT Health Science Center Tyler” to “UT Health Northeast”: they ended up deciding to go with a .org domain (uthealth.org) as their primary domain. This is attractive on the implementation side, because it means we could keep our current .edu domain, and overlap it indefinitely with a new .org domain which would become our primary, aligned with our new branding. (Note: the official name of our institution will remain UT Health Science Center San Antonio, but under the rebranding, we will take on a new “doing business as” identity, much as they did in Tyler).

 

However, I’m concerned about some of the possible implications of going with a .org as our main domain.  First, while the general Internet user population may not pay a lot of attention to the TLDs of websites, I’m concerned that certain key subsets of our audience, such as prospective students, faculty or researchers, will pay attention to the TLDs of search results as a way to help distinguish between legitimate institutional sites and other sorts of sites (like third-party rating/ranking sites).

 

Second, and perhaps even more importantly, is the question of search engine positioning. We’ve operated for quite a while on the understanding that, independent of other factors such as content quality, having a .edu TLD tends to give our site better authority scoring in search-engine ranking algorithms.

 

Unfortunately, I haven’t yet found any really objective studies or data to quantify the effect of either of those two effects on user behavior (i.e. clickthrough rates) or search positioning. There is, however, an awful lot of conflicting “expert” opinion out there about both issues.

 

Do any of you know of any other institutions (besides UT Health Northeast in Tyler) that have gone with a .org as their main institutional domain -- or have considered doing so? Or do you know of any research into the actual objective effects that a .edu domain has either on search positioning or on click-through rates from SERPs?

 

Thanks,

-- 
Luke Rosenberger
Director of Web Initiatives
UT Health Science Center San Antonio
7703 Floyd Curl Dr MSC 7900
San Antonio TX 78229-3900
<a href="tel:%2B1%20210.567.2486" target="_blank">+1 210.567.2486[hidden email]

 



You are currently subscribed to [hidden email].
To unsubscribe send an email to [hidden email] with the subject line unsubscribe uwebd. Leave the message body blank. If you experience problems, contact list owner Eric Kreider at [hidden email]. More information is available at: http://www.uakron.edu/webteam/university-web-developers.dot




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RE: Institutional rebranding and .edu domain change

Rosenberger, Luke E

Hmm, interesting. You mention being careful about how we proceed with redirects... I’m actually wondering whether we could get creative with our http status codes 301 vs 302 and/or our XML sitemapping.

 

Normally, we would create permanent 301 redirects, which would (upon reindexing/recrawling) mean that the new URLs (targets of the redirects) would show in the search results.

 

I’m wondering if we do as you suggest and leave our search targets for academic searches (i.e. program pages) in the .edu domain (and correspondingly in XML sitemaps), but use 302 temporary redirects to redirect those URLs to pages on to the new .org domain to support the new branding, would that keep the .edu domain showing on the SERPs (and preserve the authority value of the .edu domain)?

 

That may be something I could actually test out. Thanks for the idea!

 

Luke

 

From: Kreider,Eric W [mailto:[hidden email]]
Sent: Tuesday, August 23, 2016 11:37 AM
To: [hidden email]
Subject: [uwebd] RE: Institutional rebranding and .edu domain change

 

Very quick, off the hip reaction:

 

If you use the .org and keep the current .edu, do an admissions portal in the .edu domain. A little creative work with vanity links etc. and you could mirror the sites. This will, however, create and SEO nightmare and you’ll have to be very careful how you proceed with your redirects and DNS entries. And I’m NOT the one to tell you how to do that. I’d hire it done!

 

 

 

-Eric

Eric Kreider

Director, Web Services

(330) 972-5303

[hidden email]

 

From: Rosenberger, Luke E [[hidden email]]
Sent: Tuesday, August 23, 2016 12:15 PM
To: [hidden email]
Subject: [uwebd] Institutional rebranding and .edu domain change

 

Colleagues: back in April I posted to uwebd about planning a potential institutional name change, and the implications that would be involved in changing our .edu domain. Thanks again to those of you who provided helpful responses to that inquiry.

 

Our rebranding process is indeed moving forward now -- and we are, in fact, looking ahead at the implications of the domain change. One of the biggest challenges, of course, is the restriction in EDUCAUSE policy that limits each institution to only one .edu domain. Under current policy, if an institution wants to change to a new .edu domain, they only have a six-month grace period to overlap between the old domain and the new domain. That limitation is pretty daunting, because the impacts go so much further than just the website. EDUCAUSE does offer provisions to request an extension, and we have also recently learned of some moves toward lifting that one-domain-per-institution policy, but much of that is either hypothetical, envisioned, or uncertain.

 

Some of my colleagues here have recently been looking at what our sister institution in Tyler did, when they rebranded from “UT Health Science Center Tyler” to “UT Health Northeast”: they ended up deciding to go with a .org domain (uthealth.org) as their primary domain. This is attractive on the implementation side, because it means we could keep our current .edu domain, and overlap it indefinitely with a new .org domain which would become our primary, aligned with our new branding. (Note: the official name of our institution will remain UT Health Science Center San Antonio, but under the rebranding, we will take on a new “doing business as” identity, much as they did in Tyler).

 

However, I’m concerned about some of the possible implications of going with a .org as our main domain.  First, while the general Internet user population may not pay a lot of attention to the TLDs of websites, I’m concerned that certain key subsets of our audience, such as prospective students, faculty or researchers, will pay attention to the TLDs of search results as a way to help distinguish between legitimate institutional sites and other sorts of sites (like third-party rating/ranking sites).

 

Second, and perhaps even more importantly, is the question of search engine positioning. We’ve operated for quite a while on the understanding that, independent of other factors such as content quality, having a .edu TLD tends to give our site better authority scoring in search-engine ranking algorithms.

 

Unfortunately, I haven’t yet found any really objective studies or data to quantify the effect of either of those two effects on user behavior (i.e. clickthrough rates) or search positioning. There is, however, an awful lot of conflicting “expert” opinion out there about both issues.

 

Do any of you know of any other institutions (besides UT Health Northeast in Tyler) that have gone with a .org as their main institutional domain -- or have considered doing so? Or do you know of any research into the actual objective effects that a .edu domain has either on search positioning or on click-through rates from SERPs?

 

Thanks,

-- 
Luke Rosenberger
Director of Web Initiatives
UT Health Science Center San Antonio
7703 Floyd Curl Dr MSC 7900
San Antonio TX 78229-3900
<a href="tel:%2B1%20210.567.2486" target="_blank">+1 210.567.2486[hidden email]

 



You are currently subscribed to [hidden email].
To unsubscribe send an email to [hidden email] with the subject line unsubscribe uwebd. Leave the message body blank. If you experience problems, contact list owner Eric Kreider at [hidden email]. More information is available at: http://www.uakron.edu/webteam/university-web-developers.dot




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RE: Institutional rebranding and .edu domain change

Sorensen, Jeffrey T [ITUIS]
In reply to this post by Rosenberger, Luke E

You should also be concerned that there are services out there that use a .edu email as an automatic affirmation that you’re an educational institution. If your mail starts coming from a .org address which anyone can register, you may have extra hoops to jump through when you’re trying to establish various cloud services.

 

Jeff Sorensen

______________________________________________

Web Development Services, IT Services

Iowa State University

515-294-6654 / www.it.iastate.edu

 

 

 

From: Rosenberger, Luke E [mailto:[hidden email]]
Sent: Tuesday, August 23, 2016 11:15 AM
To: [hidden email]
Subject: [uwebd] Institutional rebranding and .edu domain change

 

Colleagues: back in April I posted to uwebd about planning a potential institutional name change, and the implications that would be involved in changing our .edu domain. Thanks again to those of you who provided helpful responses to that inquiry.

 

Our rebranding process is indeed moving forward now -- and we are, in fact, looking ahead at the implications of the domain change. One of the biggest challenges, of course, is the restriction in EDUCAUSE policy that limits each institution to only one .edu domain. Under current policy, if an institution wants to change to a new .edu domain, they only have a six-month grace period to overlap between the old domain and the new domain. That limitation is pretty daunting, because the impacts go so much further than just the website. EDUCAUSE does offer provisions to request an extension, and we have also recently learned of some moves toward lifting that one-domain-per-institution policy, but much of that is either hypothetical, envisioned, or uncertain.

 

Some of my colleagues here have recently been looking at what our sister institution in Tyler did, when they rebranded from “UT Health Science Center Tyler” to “UT Health Northeast”: they ended up deciding to go with a .org domain (uthealth.org) as their primary domain. This is attractive on the implementation side, because it means we could keep our current .edu domain, and overlap it indefinitely with a new .org domain which would become our primary, aligned with our new branding. (Note: the official name of our institution will remain UT Health Science Center San Antonio, but under the rebranding, we will take on a new “doing business as” identity, much as they did in Tyler).

 

However, I’m concerned about some of the possible implications of going with a .org as our main domain.  First, while the general Internet user population may not pay a lot of attention to the TLDs of websites, I’m concerned that certain key subsets of our audience, such as prospective students, faculty or researchers, will pay attention to the TLDs of search results as a way to help distinguish between legitimate institutional sites and other sorts of sites (like third-party rating/ranking sites).

 

Second, and perhaps even more importantly, is the question of search engine positioning. We’ve operated for quite a while on the understanding that, independent of other factors such as content quality, having a .edu TLD tends to give our site better authority scoring in search-engine ranking algorithms.

 

Unfortunately, I haven’t yet found any really objective studies or data to quantify the effect of either of those two effects on user behavior (i.e. clickthrough rates) or search positioning. There is, however, an awful lot of conflicting “expert” opinion out there about both issues.

 

Do any of you know of any other institutions (besides UT Health Northeast in Tyler) that have gone with a .org as their main institutional domain -- or have considered doing so? Or do you know of any research into the actual objective effects that a .edu domain has either on search positioning or on click-through rates from SERPs?

 

Thanks,

-- 
Luke Rosenberger
Director of Web Initiatives
UT Health Science Center San Antonio
7703 Floyd Curl Dr MSC 7900
San Antonio TX 78229-3900
<a href="tel:%2B1%20210.567.2486" target="_blank">+1 210.567.2486[hidden email]

 



You are currently subscribed to [hidden email].
To unsubscribe send an email to [hidden email] with the subject line unsubscribe uwebd. Leave the message body blank. If you experience problems, contact list owner Eric Kreider at [hidden email]. More information is available at: http://www.uakron.edu/webteam/university-web-developers.dot




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RE: Institutional rebranding and .edu domain change

Piero Tintori
Also, having a .edu gives you a higher SEO boost versus .org. .edu are really trusted domains and treated as such by search engines. I wouldn't even consider going with the .org option

Piero

________________________________
From: Sorensen, Jeffrey T [ITUIS] [[hidden email]]
Sent: 23 August 2016 16:48
To: [hidden email]
Subject: [uwebd] RE: Institutional rebranding and .edu domain change

You should also be concerned that there are services out there that use a .edu email as an automatic affirmation that you’re an educational institution. If your mail starts coming from a .org address which anyone can register, you may have extra hoops to jump through when you’re trying to establish various cloud services.

Jeff Sorensen
______________________________________________
Web Development Services, IT Services
Iowa State University
515-294-6654 / www.it.iastate.edu



From: Rosenberger, Luke E [mailto:[hidden email]]
Sent: Tuesday, August 23, 2016 11:15 AM
To: [hidden email]
Subject: [uwebd] Institutional rebranding and .edu domain change

Colleagues: back in April I posted to uwebd about planning a potential institutional name change, and the implications that would be involved in changing our .edu domain. Thanks again to those of you who provided helpful responses to that inquiry.

Our rebranding process is indeed moving forward now -- and we are, in fact, looking ahead at the implications of the domain change. One of the biggest challenges, of course, is the restriction in EDUCAUSE policy that limits each institution to only one .edu domain. Under current policy, if an institution wants to change to a new .edu domain, they only have a six-month grace period to overlap between the old domain and the new domain. That limitation is pretty daunting, because the impacts go so much further than just the website. EDUCAUSE does offer provisions to request an extension, and we have also recently learned of some moves toward lifting that one-domain-per-institution policy, but much of that is either hypothetical, envisioned, or uncertain.

Some of my colleagues here have recently been looking at what our sister institution in Tyler did, when they rebranded from “UT Health Science Center Tyler” to “UT Health Northeast”: they ended up deciding to go with a .org domain (uthealth.org) as their primary domain. This is attractive on the implementation side, because it means we could keep our current .edu domain, and overlap it indefinitely with a new .org domain which would become our primary, aligned with our new branding. (Note: the official name of our institution will remain UT Health Science Center San Antonio, but under the rebranding, we will take on a new “doing business as” identity, much as they did in Tyler).

However, I’m concerned about some of the possible implications of going with a .org as our main domain.  First, while the general Internet user population may not pay a lot of attention to the TLDs of websites, I’m concerned that certain key subsets of our audience, such as prospective students, faculty or researchers, will pay attention to the TLDs of search results as a way to help distinguish between legitimate institutional sites and other sorts of sites (like third-party rating/ranking sites).

Second, and perhaps even more importantly, is the question of search engine positioning. We’ve operated for quite a while on the understanding that, independent of other factors such as content quality, having a .edu TLD tends to give our site better authority scoring in search-engine ranking algorithms.

Unfortunately, I haven’t yet found any really objective studies or data to quantify the effect of either of those two effects on user behavior (i.e. clickthrough rates) or search positioning. There is, however, an awful lot of conflicting “expert” opinion out there about both issues.

Do any of you know of any other institutions (besides UT Health Northeast in Tyler) that have gone with a .org as their main institutional domain -- or have considered doing so? Or do you know of any research into the actual objective effects that a .edu domain has either on search positioning or on click-through rates from SERPs?

Thanks,
--
Luke Rosenberger
Director of Web Initiatives
UT Health Science Center San Antonio
7703 Floyd Curl Dr MSC 7900
San Antonio TX 78229-3900
+1 210.567.2486<tel:%2B1%20210.567.2486> • [hidden email]<redir.aspx?REF=L4DjRvenfcwiBCZ0541kf0A5UqNnxnvFdZ7zOelu9HFYhM1ymcvTCAFtYWlsdG86cm9zZW5iZXJnZXJAdXRoc2NzYS5lZHU.>




You are currently subscribed to [hidden email].
To unsubscribe send an email to [hidden email] with the subject line unsubscribe uwebd. Leave the message body blank. If you experience problems, contact list owner Eric Kreider at [hidden email]. More information is available at: http://www.uakron.edu/webteam/university-web-developers.dot




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RE: Institutional rebranding and .edu domain change

Piero Tintori
In reply to this post by Sorensen, Jeffrey T [ITUIS]
Just another thought. If you're looking for a direct comparison between two world class universities, take a look at IMD in Switzerland and Insead in Paris. They are both world class business schools with IMD using www.imd.org<http://www.imd.org> and Insead using www.insead.edu.<http://www.insead.edu.> Maybe a tool like SEOMOZ could help you do a comparison based on search engine data.

Piero

________________________________
From: Sorensen, Jeffrey T [ITUIS] [[hidden email]]
Sent: 23 August 2016 16:48
To: [hidden email]
Subject: [uwebd] RE: Institutional rebranding and .edu domain change

You should also be concerned that there are services out there that use a .edu email as an automatic affirmation that you’re an educational institution. If your mail starts coming from a .org address which anyone can register, you may have extra hoops to jump through when you’re trying to establish various cloud services.

Jeff Sorensen
______________________________________________
Web Development Services, IT Services
Iowa State University
515-294-6654 / www.it.iastate.edu



From: Rosenberger, Luke E [mailto:[hidden email]]
Sent: Tuesday, August 23, 2016 11:15 AM
To: [hidden email]
Subject: [uwebd] Institutional rebranding and .edu domain change

Colleagues: back in April I posted to uwebd about planning a potential institutional name change, and the implications that would be involved in changing our .edu domain. Thanks again to those of you who provided helpful responses to that inquiry.

Our rebranding process is indeed moving forward now -- and we are, in fact, looking ahead at the implications of the domain change. One of the biggest challenges, of course, is the restriction in EDUCAUSE policy that limits each institution to only one .edu domain. Under current policy, if an institution wants to change to a new .edu domain, they only have a six-month grace period to overlap between the old domain and the new domain. That limitation is pretty daunting, because the impacts go so much further than just the website. EDUCAUSE does offer provisions to request an extension, and we have also recently learned of some moves toward lifting that one-domain-per-institution policy, but much of that is either hypothetical, envisioned, or uncertain.

Some of my colleagues here have recently been looking at what our sister institution in Tyler did, when they rebranded from “UT Health Science Center Tyler” to “UT Health Northeast”: they ended up deciding to go with a .org domain (uthealth.org) as their primary domain. This is attractive on the implementation side, because it means we could keep our current .edu domain, and overlap it indefinitely with a new .org domain which would become our primary, aligned with our new branding. (Note: the official name of our institution will remain UT Health Science Center San Antonio, but under the rebranding, we will take on a new “doing business as” identity, much as they did in Tyler).

However, I’m concerned about some of the possible implications of going with a .org as our main domain.  First, while the general Internet user population may not pay a lot of attention to the TLDs of websites, I’m concerned that certain key subsets of our audience, such as prospective students, faculty or researchers, will pay attention to the TLDs of search results as a way to help distinguish between legitimate institutional sites and other sorts of sites (like third-party rating/ranking sites).

Second, and perhaps even more importantly, is the question of search engine positioning. We’ve operated for quite a while on the understanding that, independent of other factors such as content quality, having a .edu TLD tends to give our site better authority scoring in search-engine ranking algorithms.

Unfortunately, I haven’t yet found any really objective studies or data to quantify the effect of either of those two effects on user behavior (i.e. clickthrough rates) or search positioning. There is, however, an awful lot of conflicting “expert” opinion out there about both issues.

Do any of you know of any other institutions (besides UT Health Northeast in Tyler) that have gone with a .org as their main institutional domain -- or have considered doing so? Or do you know of any research into the actual objective effects that a .edu domain has either on search positioning or on click-through rates from SERPs?

Thanks,
--
Luke Rosenberger
Director of Web Initiatives
UT Health Science Center San Antonio
7703 Floyd Curl Dr MSC 7900
San Antonio TX 78229-3900
+1 210.567.2486<tel:%2B1%20210.567.2486> • [hidden email]<redir.aspx?REF=GX0-vWMCbxNCQOKoAPEnk6Uc7-sljfDRtS1EKxE8OPdAsHo2msvTCAFtYWlsdG86cm9zZW5iZXJnZXJAdXRoc2NzYS5lZHU.>




You are currently subscribed to [hidden email].
To unsubscribe send an email to [hidden email] with the subject line unsubscribe uwebd. Leave the message body blank. If you experience problems, contact list owner Eric Kreider at [hidden email]. More information is available at: http://www.uakron.edu/webteam/university-web-developers.dot




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RE: Institutional rebranding and .edu domain change

Rosenberger, Luke E
In reply to this post by Piero Tintori
Well, that's what I thought, too -- but as I said in my message below, I had never seen actual objective studies to back up that assertion, just a lot of conflicting "expert" opinion. I didn't want to base such an important decision on "conventional wisdom" that could turn out to be essentially a higher-ed urban legend.

Interestingly, in the last few hours, a colleague and I came across two different correlation studies that actually have something to say on the matter:

* https://moz.com/search-ranking-factors is a 2015 study that looks at the correlation of a wide variety of website dimensions against search engine positioning. The specific section at https://moz.com/search-ranking-factors/correlations#5 looks at TLDs among other factors. Note that in this study, pages with .edu TLD actually had a *negative* 0.04 correlation with higher search positions, while pages with .org TLD actually had a *positive* 0.06 correlation with higher search positions.

* https://moz.com/blog/google-vs-bing-correlation-analysis-of-ranking-elements is another correlation study from 2010 that looks at both Google and Bing, and found the same pattern: .edu TLDs had a negative correlation with higher search positions (-0.07 for Bing, -0.14 for Google), while .org TLDs had a positive correlation with higher search positions (+0.175 for Bing, +0.125 for Google).

Obviously, as they say, correlation is not causation -- so it could be that entities that have .org TLDs just do a way better job of SEO than those of us with .edu TLDs (a scandalous theory, I know). But at the very least, these studies make it appear less likely that there's any automatic/inherent search positioning advantage to the .edu TLD.

I'd certainly be interested in any other evidence (or counter-evidence) that any of you might find (I'm certainly still looking).

Luke

-----Original Message-----
From: Piero Tintori [mailto:[hidden email]]
Sent: Tuesday, August 23, 2016 4:09 PM
To: [hidden email]
Subject: [uwebd] RE: Institutional rebranding and .edu domain change

Also, having a .edu gives you a higher SEO boost versus .org. .edu are really trusted domains and treated as such by search engines. I wouldn't even consider going with the .org option

Piero

________________________________
From: Sorensen, Jeffrey T [ITUIS] [[hidden email]]
Sent: 23 August 2016 16:48
To: [hidden email]
Subject: [uwebd] RE: Institutional rebranding and .edu domain change

You should also be concerned that there are services out there that use a .edu email as an automatic affirmation that you're an educational institution. If your mail starts coming from a .org address which anyone can register, you may have extra hoops to jump through when you're trying to establish various cloud services.

Jeff Sorensen
______________________________________________
Web Development Services, IT Services
Iowa State University
515-294-6654 / www.it.iastate.edu



From: Rosenberger, Luke E [mailto:[hidden email]]
Sent: Tuesday, August 23, 2016 11:15 AM
To: [hidden email]
Subject: [uwebd] Institutional rebranding and .edu domain change

Colleagues: back in April I posted to uwebd about planning a potential institutional name change, and the implications that would be involved in changing our .edu domain. Thanks again to those of you who provided helpful responses to that inquiry.

Our rebranding process is indeed moving forward now -- and we are, in fact, looking ahead at the implications of the domain change. One of the biggest challenges, of course, is the restriction in EDUCAUSE policy that limits each institution to only one .edu domain. Under current policy, if an institution wants to change to a new .edu domain, they only have a six-month grace period to overlap between the old domain and the new domain. That limitation is pretty daunting, because the impacts go so much further than just the website. EDUCAUSE does offer provisions to request an extension, and we have also recently learned of some moves toward lifting that one-domain-per-institution policy, but much of that is either hypothetical, envisioned, or uncertain.

Some of my colleagues here have recently been looking at what our sister institution in Tyler did, when they rebranded from "UT Health Science Center Tyler" to "UT Health Northeast": they ended up deciding to go with a .org domain (uthealth.org) as their primary domain. This is attractive on the implementation side, because it means we could keep our current .edu domain, and overlap it indefinitely with a new .org domain which would become our primary, aligned with our new branding. (Note: the official name of our institution will remain UT Health Science Center San Antonio, but under the rebranding, we will take on a new "doing business as" identity, much as they did in Tyler).

However, I'm concerned about some of the possible implications of going with a .org as our main domain.  First, while the general Internet user population may not pay a lot of attention to the TLDs of websites, I'm concerned that certain key subsets of our audience, such as prospective students, faculty or researchers, will pay attention to the TLDs of search results as a way to help distinguish between legitimate institutional sites and other sorts of sites (like third-party rating/ranking sites).

Second, and perhaps even more importantly, is the question of search engine positioning. We've operated for quite a while on the understanding that, independent of other factors such as content quality, having a .edu TLD tends to give our site better authority scoring in search-engine ranking algorithms.

Unfortunately, I haven't yet found any really objective studies or data to quantify the effect of either of those two effects on user behavior (i.e. clickthrough rates) or search positioning. There is, however, an awful lot of conflicting "expert" opinion out there about both issues.

Do any of you know of any other institutions (besides UT Health Northeast in Tyler) that have gone with a .org as their main institutional domain -- or have considered doing so? Or do you know of any research into the actual objective effects that a .edu domain has either on search positioning or on click-through rates from SERPs?

Thanks,
--
Luke Rosenberger
Director of Web Initiatives
UT Health Science Center San Antonio
7703 Floyd Curl Dr MSC 7900
San Antonio TX 78229-3900
+1 210.567.2486<tel:%2B1%20210.567.2486> * [hidden email]<redir.aspx?REF=L4DjRvenfcwiBCZ0541kf0A5UqNnxnvFdZ7zOelu9HFYhM1ymcvTCAFtYWlsdG86cm9zZW5iZXJnZXJAdXRoc2NzYS5lZHU.>





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RE: Institutional rebranding and .edu domain change

Rosenberger, Luke E
I meant to express my appreciation to David Poteet and colleagues at NewCity, who pointed me to the 2015 study cited below, just as I had begun to despair of all reason and science amidst a swirling cloud of SEO black magic and wizardry ;-)

Luke

-----Original Message-----
From: Rosenberger, Luke E [mailto:[hidden email]]
Sent: Tuesday, August 23, 2016 4:23 PM
To: [hidden email]
Subject: [uwebd] RE: Institutional rebranding and .edu domain change

Well, that's what I thought, too -- but as I said in my message below, I had never seen actual objective studies to back up that assertion, just a lot of conflicting "expert" opinion. I didn't want to base such an important decision on "conventional wisdom" that could turn out to be essentially a higher-ed urban legend.

Interestingly, in the last few hours, a colleague and I came across two different correlation studies that actually have something to say on the matter:

* https://moz.com/search-ranking-factors is a 2015 study that looks at the correlation of a wide variety of website dimensions against search engine positioning. The specific section at https://moz.com/search-ranking-factors/correlations#5 looks at TLDs among other factors. Note that in this study, pages with .edu TLD actually had a *negative* 0.04 correlation with higher search positions, while pages with .org TLD actually had a *positive* 0.06 correlation with higher search positions.

* https://moz.com/blog/google-vs-bing-correlation-analysis-of-ranking-elements is another correlation study from 2010 that looks at both Google and Bing, and found the same pattern: .edu TLDs had a negative correlation with higher search positions (-0.07 for Bing, -0.14 for Google), while .org TLDs had a positive correlation with higher search positions (+0.175 for Bing, +0.125 for Google).

Obviously, as they say, correlation is not causation -- so it could be that entities that have .org TLDs just do a way better job of SEO than those of us with .edu TLDs (a scandalous theory, I know). But at the very least, these studies make it appear less likely that there's any automatic/inherent search positioning advantage to the .edu TLD.

I'd certainly be interested in any other evidence (or counter-evidence) that any of you might find (I'm certainly still looking).

Luke

-----Original Message-----
From: Piero Tintori [mailto:[hidden email]]
Sent: Tuesday, August 23, 2016 4:09 PM
To: [hidden email]
Subject: [uwebd] RE: Institutional rebranding and .edu domain change

Also, having a .edu gives you a higher SEO boost versus .org. .edu are really trusted domains and treated as such by search engines. I wouldn't even consider going with the .org option

Piero

________________________________
From: Sorensen, Jeffrey T [ITUIS] [[hidden email]]
Sent: 23 August 2016 16:48
To: [hidden email]
Subject: [uwebd] RE: Institutional rebranding and .edu domain change

You should also be concerned that there are services out there that use a .edu email as an automatic affirmation that you're an educational institution. If your mail starts coming from a .org address which anyone can register, you may have extra hoops to jump through when you're trying to establish various cloud services.

Jeff Sorensen
______________________________________________
Web Development Services, IT Services
Iowa State University
515-294-6654 / www.it.iastate.edu



From: Rosenberger, Luke E [mailto:[hidden email]]
Sent: Tuesday, August 23, 2016 11:15 AM
To: [hidden email]
Subject: [uwebd] Institutional rebranding and .edu domain change

Colleagues: back in April I posted to uwebd about planning a potential institutional name change, and the implications that would be involved in changing our .edu domain. Thanks again to those of you who provided helpful responses to that inquiry.

Our rebranding process is indeed moving forward now -- and we are, in fact, looking ahead at the implications of the domain change. One of the biggest challenges, of course, is the restriction in EDUCAUSE policy that limits each institution to only one .edu domain. Under current policy, if an institution wants to change to a new .edu domain, they only have a six-month grace period to overlap between the old domain and the new domain. That limitation is pretty daunting, because the impacts go so much further than just the website. EDUCAUSE does offer provisions to request an extension, and we have also recently learned of some moves toward lifting that one-domain-per-institution policy, but much of that is either hypothetical, envisioned, or uncertain.

Some of my colleagues here have recently been looking at what our sister institution in Tyler did, when they rebranded from "UT Health Science Center Tyler" to "UT Health Northeast": they ended up deciding to go with a .org domain (uthealth.org) as their primary domain. This is attractive on the implementation side, because it means we could keep our current .edu domain, and overlap it indefinitely with a new .org domain which would become our primary, aligned with our new branding. (Note: the official name of our institution will remain UT Health Science Center San Antonio, but under the rebranding, we will take on a new "doing business as" identity, much as they did in Tyler).

However, I'm concerned about some of the possible implications of going with a .org as our main domain.  First, while the general Internet user population may not pay a lot of attention to the TLDs of websites, I'm concerned that certain key subsets of our audience, such as prospective students, faculty or researchers, will pay attention to the TLDs of search results as a way to help distinguish between legitimate institutional sites and other sorts of sites (like third-party rating/ranking sites).

Second, and perhaps even more importantly, is the question of search engine positioning. We've operated for quite a while on the understanding that, independent of other factors such as content quality, having a .edu TLD tends to give our site better authority scoring in search-engine ranking algorithms.

Unfortunately, I haven't yet found any really objective studies or data to quantify the effect of either of those two effects on user behavior (i.e. clickthrough rates) or search positioning. There is, however, an awful lot of conflicting "expert" opinion out there about both issues.

Do any of you know of any other institutions (besides UT Health Northeast in Tyler) that have gone with a .org as their main institutional domain -- or have considered doing so? Or do you know of any research into the actual objective effects that a .edu domain has either on search positioning or on click-through rates from SERPs?

Thanks,
--
Luke Rosenberger
Director of Web Initiatives
UT Health Science Center San Antonio
7703 Floyd Curl Dr MSC 7900
San Antonio TX 78229-3900
+1 210.567.2486<tel:%2B1%20210.567.2486> * [hidden email]<redir.aspx?REF=L4DjRvenfcwiBCZ0541kf0A5UqNnxnvFdZ7zOelu9HFYhM1ymcvTCAFtYWlsdG86cm9zZW5iZXJnZXJAdXRoc2NzYS5lZHU.>






You are currently subscribed to [hidden email].
To unsubscribe send an email to [hidden email] with the subject line unsubscribe uwebd. Leave the message body blank. If you experience problems, contact list owner Eric Kreider at [hidden email]. More information is available at: http://www.uakron.edu/webteam/university-web-developers.dot




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RE: Institutional rebranding and .edu domain change

Angela Burrell-2
I just want to point out that this is a uniquely American problem. :)

Those of us in other countries don't have any other option but to use "regular" TLDs, as ".edu" isn't available to us - and we still have cloud services with companies like Microsoft and good SEO. At least for us, our top-level domain doesn't seem to impact us much (not that we have a choice). However, our intended audience doesn't expect an .edu domain, so that probably helps :)


Angela Burrell
Web Developer
Information Technology
Lambton College
Sarnia, Ontario
www.lambtoncollege.ca



> -----Original Message-----
> From: Rosenberger, Luke E [mailto:[hidden email]]
> Sent: August 23, 2016 7:13 PM
> To: [hidden email]
> Subject: [uwebd] RE: Institutional rebranding and .edu domain change
>
> I meant to express my appreciation to David Poteet and colleagues at
> NewCity, who pointed me to the 2015 study cited below, just as I had begun
> to despair of all reason and science amidst a swirling cloud of SEO black magic
> and wizardry ;-)
>
> Luke
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Rosenberger, Luke E [mailto:[hidden email]]
> Sent: Tuesday, August 23, 2016 4:23 PM
> To: [hidden email]
> Subject: [uwebd] RE: Institutional rebranding and .edu domain change
>
> Well, that's what I thought, too -- but as I said in my message below, I had
> never seen actual objective studies to back up that assertion, just a lot of
> conflicting "expert" opinion. I didn't want to base such an important decision
> on "conventional wisdom" that could turn out to be essentially a higher-ed
> urban legend.
>
> Interestingly, in the last few hours, a colleague and I came across two
> different correlation studies that actually have something to say on the
> matter:
>
> * https://moz.com/search-ranking-factors is a 2015 study that looks at
> the correlation of a wide variety of website dimensions against search engine
> positioning. The specific section at https://moz.com/search-ranking-
> factors/correlations#5 looks at TLDs among other factors. Note that in this
> study, pages with .edu TLD actually had a *negative* 0.04 correlation with
> higher search positions, while pages with .org TLD actually had a *positive*
> 0.06 correlation with higher search positions.
>
> * https://moz.com/blog/google-vs-bing-correlation-analysis-of-
> ranking-elements is another correlation study from 2010 that looks at both
> Google and Bing, and found the same pattern: .edu TLDs had a negative
> correlation with higher search positions (-0.07 for Bing, -0.14 for Google),
> while .org TLDs had a positive correlation with higher search positions (+0.175
> for Bing, +0.125 for Google).
>
> Obviously, as they say, correlation is not causation -- so it could be that
> entities that have .org TLDs just do a way better job of SEO than those of us
> with .edu TLDs (a scandalous theory, I know). But at the very least, these
> studies make it appear less likely that there's any automatic/inherent search
> positioning advantage to the .edu TLD.
>
> I'd certainly be interested in any other evidence (or counter-evidence) that
> any of you might find (I'm certainly still looking).
>
> Luke
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Piero Tintori [mailto:[hidden email]]
> Sent: Tuesday, August 23, 2016 4:09 PM
> To: [hidden email]
> Subject: [uwebd] RE: Institutional rebranding and .edu domain change
>
> Also, having a .edu gives you a higher SEO boost versus .org. .edu are really
> trusted domains and treated as such by search engines. I wouldn't even
> consider going with the .org option
>
> Piero
>
> ________________________________
> From: Sorensen, Jeffrey T [ITUIS] [[hidden email]]
> Sent: 23 August 2016 16:48
> To: [hidden email]
> Subject: [uwebd] RE: Institutional rebranding and .edu domain change
>
> You should also be concerned that there are services out there that use a
> .edu email as an automatic affirmation that you're an educational institution.
> If your mail starts coming from a .org address which anyone can register, you
> may have extra hoops to jump through when you're trying to establish
> various cloud services.
>
> Jeff Sorensen
> ______________________________________________
> Web Development Services, IT Services
> Iowa State University
> 515-294-6654 / www.it.iastate.edu
>
>
>
> From: Rosenberger, Luke E [mailto:[hidden email]]
> Sent: Tuesday, August 23, 2016 11:15 AM
> To: [hidden email]
> Subject: [uwebd] Institutional rebranding and .edu domain change
>
> Colleagues: back in April I posted to uwebd about planning a potential
> institutional name change, and the implications that would be involved in
> changing our .edu domain. Thanks again to those of you who provided
> helpful responses to that inquiry.
>
> Our rebranding process is indeed moving forward now -- and we are, in fact,
> looking ahead at the implications of the domain change. One of the biggest
> challenges, of course, is the restriction in EDUCAUSE policy that limits each
> institution to only one .edu domain. Under current policy, if an institution
> wants to change to a new .edu domain, they only have a six-month grace
> period to overlap between the old domain and the new domain. That
> limitation is pretty daunting, because the impacts go so much further than
> just the website. EDUCAUSE does offer provisions to request an extension,
> and we have also recently learned of some moves toward lifting that one-
> domain-per-institution policy, but much of that is either hypothetical,
> envisioned, or uncertain.
>
> Some of my colleagues here have recently been looking at what our sister
> institution in Tyler did, when they rebranded from "UT Health Science Center
> Tyler" to "UT Health Northeast": they ended up deciding to go with a .org
> domain (uthealth.org) as their primary domain. This is attractive on the
> implementation side, because it means we could keep our current .edu
> domain, and overlap it indefinitely with a new .org domain which would
> become our primary, aligned with our new branding. (Note: the official name
> of our institution will remain UT Health Science Center San Antonio, but
> under the rebranding, we will take on a new "doing business as" identity,
> much as they did in Tyler).
>
> However, I'm concerned about some of the possible implications of going
> with a .org as our main domain.  First, while the general Internet user
> population may not pay a lot of attention to the TLDs of websites, I'm
> concerned that certain key subsets of our audience, such as prospective
> students, faculty or researchers, will pay attention to the TLDs of search
> results as a way to help distinguish between legitimate institutional sites and
> other sorts of sites (like third-party rating/ranking sites).
>
> Second, and perhaps even more importantly, is the question of search
> engine positioning. We've operated for quite a while on the understanding
> that, independent of other factors such as content quality, having a .edu TLD
> tends to give our site better authority scoring in search-engine ranking
> algorithms.
>
> Unfortunately, I haven't yet found any really objective studies or data to
> quantify the effect of either of those two effects on user behavior (i.e.
> clickthrough rates) or search positioning. There is, however, an awful lot of
> conflicting "expert" opinion out there about both issues.
>
> Do any of you know of any other institutions (besides UT Health Northeast in
> Tyler) that have gone with a .org as their main institutional domain -- or have
> considered doing so? Or do you know of any research into the actual
> objective effects that a .edu domain has either on search positioning or on
> click-through rates from SERPs?
>
> Thanks,
> --
> Luke Rosenberger
> Director of Web Initiatives
> UT Health Science Center San Antonio
> 7703 Floyd Curl Dr MSC 7900
> San Antonio TX 78229-3900
> +1 210.567.2486<tel:%2B1%20210.567.2486> *
> [hidden email]<redir.aspx?REF=L4DjRvenfcwiBCZ0541kf0A5UqN
> nxnvFdZ7zOelu9HFYhM1ymcvTCAFtYWlsdG86cm9zZW5iZXJnZXJAdXRoc2NzY
> S5lZHU.>
>
>
>



You are currently subscribed to [hidden email].
To unsubscribe send an email to [hidden email] with the subject line unsubscribe uwebd. Leave the message body blank. If you experience problems, contact list owner Eric Kreider at [hidden email]. More information is available at: http://www.uakron.edu/webteam/university-web-developers.dot