Every company aspires to be at the top of Google searches. The ability to attract new consumers and increase income is aided by having a high level of visibility. Migrations can be intimidating and frightening. If you don’t carefully adopt the new domain name, it can have an influence on your search engine rating.
Why change domains?
You’ve launched a new brand. It’s time to change the name of your company on your website. This includes renaming your website’s domain.
You want a domain name that is shorter and easier to remember. You’d like to use a better domain name that is now accessible.
You wish to merge several comparable domains into one. You might want to consider merging your domains if you have numerous sites that are effectively delivering the same types of material to a similar audience.
Does Changing a Domain Name Affect SEO?
Yes, a domain name change can have an impact on SEO. The pages on your existing domain have been indexed by search engines. The development has caught the search engines off guard.
Furthermore, your current domain has a proven track record. This track record demonstrates authority. The authority of your current domain is what propels your content to the top of the search results.
The good news is that you may change your domain name without losing traffic by following a set of actions that inform search engines and website users of the change.
Make sure the new domain is sound and has a clean past
If you’ve just purchased a brand-new domain name, you can skip this step.
However, if you’ve bought a previously registered domain, you should always endeavor to learn everything you can about it. You should double-check that it isn’t carrying over any old penalties.
You’d go up the domain on archive.org to see what actual website pages were displayed on it in the past.
You might also use ahref’s Backlink Checker tool to look for the domain. Please double-check that the domain has a strong backlink network and that it hasn’t been flagged for questionable conduct like low-value link building.
The first step is to coordinate this change with your site designer and hosting company. They’ll create a full backup of your website. This step allows you to duplicate your website so that you can set up redirects from your old domain to the new one effectively.
Create a site map and make it available to search engines
A Sitemap is essentially a map of your website that Search Engines can use to find it. In an XML document, this document organises the resources and content related to each page of your website. It also has a significant impact on search engine rankings.
It enables search engines to index all of your site’s pages. So, develop (or update) your sitemap and make sure it’s shared with search engines so that new URLs can be indexed faster.
The most straightforward method is to submit it to Google Search Console.
Create 301 redirection (permanent web forwarding) to new pages
You’ll essentially be hosting two identical sites if you skip this crucial step. And you’ll be setting yourself up for severe duplicate content fines. As a result, most migrations fail at this point.
Search engine bots need to know where to retrieve the material from your previous URLs in order to maintain your rating. This phase allows you to link each of the pages on your prior website to the new site’s corresponding page.
The prior content has been relocated to a new page, which is communicated to search engines. The old pages will be deindexed, and new pages will be indexed in their stead.
Note: If your prior domain was secured with HTTPS, double-check that the HTTPS versions of the URLs still work.
Review existing backlinks and Update Them
Backlinks are links from other websites pointing to yours, and they show the level of trust placed in each page. Make a list of inbound backlinks before beginning the migration.
The next step is to contact websites that have connected to you and ask them to change their backlinks with your new domain name’s new URL. If you don’t have time but have a lot of backlinks, prioritize connections from high-authority sites first, as these will have the biggest impact on your ranking. A backlink that hasn’t been updated will result in a 404 error, which will lower your ranking.
Search and Replace Internal Links
Also, when internal links in the new domain still point to the old domain, this is a regular oversight. That’s because the SQL database you cloned contains all of your site’s links (contained in the page/post text). You don’t want to go to olddomain.com/about by clicking on “About” in the navigation menu on the homepage of your new site. As a result, you’ll need to update all of those internal links at some point.
Officially Tell Google You’ve Moved
This change can be made directly in Google Search Console: Simply enter your website address and confirm that you are the owner.
You should also update Google Analytics. The admin area of your existing Google Analytics property has settings that are matched to your domain. Go to Admin in Google Analytics and update all references to the old URL.
Post Migration Action
A new blog article will notify current clients and website visitors, while a new email campaign will notify newsletter subscribers, and a series of scheduled social media postings will notify followers.
Also, change any and all references to your former domain name.
- social media account profiles
- other online accounts you have
- business cards & stationery
- email signature
- advertising campaigns
- Google My Business listing
- Canonical tags
- Schema tags
- Hreflang tags (including those on other sites)
- Paid links
- Open Graph tags
- Twitter cards
- CDN settings
- Analytics tags
- Third-party ad servers, API keys, or other widgets that are domain-specific.
For optimal results, keep the old domain up for at least 2-3 months – just for the 301 redirects.
Final Testing After the Change
Once the change has been done, do not rush through things. Do a thorough Manual Testing and analyze your website’s traffic in Google Analytic. Try to check if the number of 404 Error Pages has started increasing. In such a case, your redirection has some issues.
You can also check performance issues using a free tool called PageSpeed Insights.
By applying these tips, you can limit the negative consequences and Change Domain without losing SEO Authority. Remember, any SEO Juice will slowly get transferred over to the new domain.