Want to change your website’s domain name after a business rebrand, or want to switch to something shorter?
That makes sense if you are a small business owner or a freelancer. But how do you keep the traffic and SEO ranking built with your existing domain?
Changing the domain is more complicated than you might think, requiring you to pay attention to many details along the way.
In this post, we’ll cover a few reasons you might want to change your domain name and the essential steps you need to take to ensure a smooth domain transition while keeping up your website’s visibility.
Table of Contents
- 1 Common Reasons Why You Want To Change Your Domain Name
- 2 When Not To Change Your Domain Name?
- 3 How To Change Your Domain Name Without Losing Traffic and Rankings
- 4 Final Verdict
Common Reasons Why You Want To Change Your Domain Name
Choosing a domain name is an important decision when crafting an online presence. While some website owners may get lucky to have a domain that lasts forever, it’s possible that your domain name needs to be changed at some point.
Here Are a Few Reasons You Might Want To Consider Changing Domain Name:
Related: The Ultimate SEO Web Hosting Guide
Industries change throughout time. Perhaps your existing domain name no longer reflects your brand. You may need to change domain name to reflect your site’s new image.
If you discover that your domain name infringes on another company, you will likely need to change it to prevent legal problems.
Maybe your domain name is too specific that you need to modify it to expand your small business. It’s better to change it to something more general.
If you run an online business, there are chances to relocate. For instance: if your domain has a ccTLD of a specific country, you might need to change it to your current target location ccTLD to avoid confusion.
These are the most common reasons that may require you to change your domain name. However, there are other reasons. For example, maybe you’re waiting for your ideal domain to become available. There’s no big deal with upgrading because you’ve found something better.
When Not To Change Your Domain Name?
Please don’t change your domain name because you have bought the domain with your primary keyword in it, thinking it will be good for SEO. It won’t be worth it.
Some studies suggest a small benefit in having your keyword in the domain, but according to Google, it’s not a factor.
The small benefit you may or may not get from having a keyword in your domain is not worth the ranking and traffic fluctuations inherent to a domain transition.
How To Change Your Domain Name Without Losing Traffic and Rankings
If you really want to change your domain name, the remaining post will drive you through all you need to know about changing domain while keeping your traffic and SEO juice.
Communicate With Your Customers
No one wants to lose their customers, even over something as simple as changing your domain name. Attracting potential customers took a lot of effort and time. So, before you change your domain name, make a communication plan outlining when and how you will tell your customers about the change.
You can notify your customers and visitors through a new blog post, newsletter subscribers through a new email campaign, and followers through scheduled social media posts.
Make sure to convey every detail of the change to your customers, such as why it’s happening and how it will impact them, because if they don’t understand what’s going on, they usually don’t end up buying things from you.
Secure Your Domain and Start Building Trust
After deciding on your new domain name, the first thing to do is to purchase it before anyone else can grab it. But there are also some other benefits.
The age of your domain can help you gain more organic traffic. However, domain registration age is not one of the top ranking factors, but it’s a slight indication that your website is legitimate. So buying a domain name as early as possible is a bonus, especially if rebranding will take some time.
Keep Things As Much as Possible the Same
Changing the domain is already complex enough, so keep everything else the same, such as URL structures, CMS, web design, and on-page content.
Although technical errors like broken links can be fixed during migration, we suggest keeping any significant bits of work, such as auditing and improving content, or revamping design, out of the scope of the domain name change.
This is to reduce complexity and enable a better understanding of where things have gone, good or bad. If you’ve gone with the domain name change with a new copy on every page and changed your page templates, it’s challenging to identify what has caused the success or trouble.
This is an essential step when you are changing domain name and don’t want to lose ranking and traffic.
Use a sitemap to redirect an old page to a new page with equivalent content. While you can redirect many old URLs to the new single URL, this should be done if the new URL is relevant.
Some key points on 301 redirects while changing domain:
- Avoid multiple redirects where possible.
- Only redirect a URL if it’s valuable. If there’s no similar new URL, or the old one did not have any backlinks or wasn’t ranking or driving traffic, let the page 404. There is nothing wrong with a 404 page if it has no value.
- 301 redirects do not cause any loss in page ranking. It’s worth asking external publishers linking to your site if they could update their link to your new URL.
Google Search Console Task
There are some tasks to perform on Search Console when a new domain goes live:
Use Google Search Console to tell Google about the change ( this task is unnecessary if you’re only moving from HTTP to HTTPS).
Submit a new sitemap to the new domain’s GSC and request indexing of the homepage.
Ensure all the settings you had in your old GSC are carried to the new GSC. For example, any relevant parameter or files should be replaced in the new GSC property.
Even though you have picked the right domain, you must check all your statistics before making sudden changes. Conducting an audit of all the places where your old domain name displays would be wise.
The most important thing to audit is the list of inbound links because it’s an essential SEO ranking factor. And you want to avoid losing valuable links while changing your domain name. You can use Google Search Console to conduct a link audit.
In addition, you may have listed your domain in all your social media bios or your Google business profile. So, it would be best if you note all these locations, so you can return to this list later to update your website URLs.
Don’t forget to update your email addresses. Maybe you used to have firstname.lastname@example.org but now want to switch to email@example.com for consistency. Then also, reconfigure your email clients to be able to read and send emails from the new email address because you probably don’t want your customers to miss all of the communications you have planned. Also, it is a good idea to forward your old email account to your new one.
Monitoring the Success
After you’ve done with the domain name change, use Google Search Console to monitor the post-migration progress.
In the old domain’s property, expect indexed URLs, impressions, and clicks to decrease over time, and in the new domain’s property, expect to see clicks increase, along with the list of queries in the Search Results report.
If you don’t carefully change domain name of your website, it can influence your traffic and search engine ranking. However, by following the steps mentioned above, you can decrease the harmful consequences and be confident that you will be able to transform your domain swiftly.
We hope this article helps you to change your domain name without the hassle.
If you have any queries, don’t hesitate to contact AEserver! 🙂