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How to Move Domains the SEO-Friendly Way

How to Move Domains the SEO-Friendly Way

Ideally, your website’s domain name should stay the same forever. Changing it can have a negative effect on your organic search rankings.

However, there are circumstances wherein switching to a new domain is necessary like when you change your business name. There are also those who do it because their current domain is not performing well or they simply want to get a better top-level domain (TLD).

Whatever your reason is for changing your domain name, you need to keep in mind that this needs to be done properly. You have to ensure that you observe the right process, so you won’t lose years of SEO work.

Moving Domains and SEO: What’s the Connection?  

Switching to a new domain directly affects a website’s SEO performance. To be more specific, it can pull down your rankings on organic search results. Consequently, your website may experience an immediate drop in traffic which eventually translates to lost revenue.

Certainly, you do not want these things to happen to your website. Moreover, you would not like the time, effort and money you’ve spent on optimising your site to go to waste.

As you already probably know, landing on the first page of search engine results pages (SERPs) does not happen overnight. It is going to take some time for you to regain the position you’ve lost. Until your rankings improve, traffic and conversion are going to stay low.

But why does switching domains affect search engine rankings? Search engines use ranking metrics which are based on the page level and domain level. Basically, by changing your site’s domain name, the domain metrics is reset to zero.

How much it will affect your website’s ranking largely depends on how you do the migration. Do it right and what your site would experience is just a short-term drop in position. Its rankings will rebound in a few months after Google indexes the changes.

But if you do it wrong, the loss is going to be significant, potentially erasing the SEO success you’ve achieved.

Moving Domains Without Losing SEO Gains

Fortunately, it is possible to switch domains without drastically affecting your SEO performance. The process requires technical know-how, so it is best to let an SEO specialist do this project.

By letting an expert take care of the site migration, you can be certain that the right steps are taken from start to finish.

But even if you let an SEO professional handle the change in domain, it is important for you to have an idea of what the process entails. So, here is a step-by-step guide on how to move domains the SEO-friendly way.

  • Your old domain needs a sitemap, so you need to create one for it.
  • Build the content for your new domain – start with your company description, contact information and “about us”. You can also publish content which are link-worthy, so you can start building links already.
  • Set up your new domain, then make it live.
  • Go to Google Webmaster Tools. Register and verify your old domain and new domain.
  • Set up a 404 page with the old domain. This is going to inform your visitors of the transition and the existence of the new domain.
  • Make sure that you test each redirect from the old domain to the new domain in a development environment. This should be a 1:1 redirect.
  • Set up a 301 redirect for the old domain to the new domain.
  • Inform search engines like Google and Bing about the change by submitting the old sitemap. You’ll find the submission pages within Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Centre. This step is necessary for search engines to change their index.
  • Go to Google Webmaster Tools and fill out the Change Address form.
  • To ensure that search engines are aware of new URLs which are not on the old domain, make a new sitemap and submit it to them.
  • Wait for Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Centre to run diagnostics and update and fix the errors it finds.

After doing all these steps, all you have to do is to monitor your site’s performance on search engine results pages.

Need to switch domains? Work with our SEO specialists to ensure that your rankings won’t take a nosedive! Call us today on 019609023 or visit our website to learn more about our services.

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