Stanley Park, Vancouver, Google Search

Google is the way to find places and things

Apparently those responsible for Stanley Park are concerned that people may just type in StanleyPark into their browser address field and end up on the website of Gerry O’Neil who operates the horse-drawn carriage tours in the Park. It is true that most browsers will behave exactly like that. So according to the Vancouver Sun, the Park Board is asking Mr. O’Neil to give them the StanleyPark.com domain. Apparently they much prefer the dot com domain to the StanleyPark.ca domain, which also exists.

What they seem to be forgetting is that more and more people use Google nowadays to find almost anything. Only a tiny minority would try to guess the domain that might apply. Would that be StanleyPark.com or Stanley-Park.com or something else? Google is so much easier. Doing a Google search for ‘Stanley Park’ quickly brings up a number of relevant websites. Surprisingly not too many of them look like StanleyPark.com. The closest are the following:

  • #7 www.stanleypark.org for Welcome to the Stanley Park of Westfield, MA 01085
  • #17 www.friendsofstanleypark.org.uk The website of Friends of Stanley Park, Blackpool, UK
  • #79 mystanleypark.com All about Stanley Park in Vancouver, Canada

You have to go as far as #161 to find the cherished stanleypark.com. So is it really so important to have the dot com? stanleypark.ca isn’t even in the top 500 so that’s not the answer.

It’s a pity that those dot ca domains aren’t getting more recognition. As Michael Geist points out in The Toronto Star, the dot-ca domain name policy puts us in the Internet vanguard.

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority, the agency that manages the dot-ca domain, celebrated its one-millionth domain name registration. A noteworthy development is that CIRA also quietly announced the implementation of a new “whois” policy that will better protect the privacy of hundreds of thousands of Canadians and serve as a model for domain name registries around the world.

However fine the attributes of a dot-ca, it doesn’t seem to get respect. For example, the Royal Bank doesn’t own rbc.ca. However if you do a search for ‘Royal Bank’, then most of the initial entries are for Royal Bank of Canada websites, with the rbc.com coming in at #3. rbc.ca doesn’t feature in the first 500. Nor should it, since it is the Recreation and Business Centre. It can’t even appear in the first 100 for a search of its exact name.

The bottom line on all this is that the domain name has very little influence on how Google or the other major search engines choose what is relevant when someone searches. If a website has good content on its subject and other websites link to it as a reference, then it will feature highly in Google. That search engine visibility is the most important online strength a domain can have.

Reference: SWOT That Company Name