Serbia is joining Russia as the second country that has Cyrillic TLD (top level domain) names, .срб in addition to the already present .rs TLD. What is the reason for this, benefit and what can happen in the future regarding the functionality and popularity of this new TLD?
Let’s clarify the technicality first; .срб is not a TLD per se, but actually a ccTLD, which means country code Top Level Domain, which are country related domain extensions like .rs, .uk or .au. What separates it from the rest is that it is Cyrillic based and is depended upon Serbian alphabet (Azbuka), which states, read as you write and write as you read, with each character representing one sound, one letter.
The new domain will only be available to webmasters that already own a .rs domain for the first 6 months, after which the public will be able to access this domain extension. Also, a great deal was made by ICANN which offers .срб domains at 1 dinar, and the retail price to webmaster will be set to 500 dinars for top level domain and 250 for a subdomain.
From the Serb’s perspective this is a great accomplishment, as Azbuka is their pride and helps to promote Serbian culture even online. Sites that will mostly benefit from this will be of cultural and educational type, libraries, colleges and historic related, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be more uses for this domain.
Unlike .me which is a Montenegro TLD that is used for all sorts of domain compilations (because of the “ME” which can be used creatively) like about.me, most webmaster will find it hard to think of cool names with the .срб domain extension. In the end, I am sure that creative webmasters will find some nice names to combine with the new TLD.
The greatest benefit for webmasters is improved presence in the local search. Google as the major search engine narrows down results based on local preferences and looks for several factors that will help a website go up in search for local results. One of the factors is the domain extension that states that the website is from a specific country. Since we already have a .rs domain this will not have a major influence on the search engine rankings, but even so, with a site optimized for local search and a .срб domain it will be easier to achieve higher rankings for Google.rs. Maybe we will even be able to see Google.срб in the near future; we very well know that Google needs to improve their understanding of Cyrillic letter, so this may be the motivation for them we were looking for.
Another thing that also influences the search engines is the possibility of .срб having more impact and more authority on Cyrillic search queries. Since they are tied to the Cyrillic alphabet it is possible that Google will give more weight to websites with the new .срб domains extension for Cyrillic searches than it will for .rs or .me websites. This is just a possibility, but a high one.
We will monitor the Serbian online space and the influence of the new TLD in play, there will certainly be new implications for webmaster and possibilities to gain the favor of search engines and improve their traffic. For now, we can be proud to have a TLD that emphasizes the Serbian origin.
Guest author: Zarko Zivkovic, a search engine optimization strategist working for Dejan SEO, an Australian Based SEO company. He is also the founder of Practical SEO, a small SEO agency. You can connect with Zarko on Twitter and Google+.