Changing the domain name is a huge decision. It demands a lot of thought, whether it’s due to a rebrand or a better URL being available. It may be frightening, but moving your website to a new domain can turn out to be a jackpot for you! The key is to be consistent with branding when altering your URL to match your company’s new name.
Though it’s never a good idea to relocate your website to a new domain on the spur of the moment, it is possible to change the domain without permanently harming your search rankings. Let us find out how.
But before we look at the process of changing domains, it’s essential to understand why website owners make this change in the first place.
Why Change Domain Name of Websites?
There may be few reasons why business owners choose to change the domain name. They may be:
- If the domain name isn’t relevant or getting any more popular.
- That perfect domain name is up for grabs!
- Their business is changed so they want to update their domain name
How to Change Domain Without Losing Your Ranking?
Now that we know why one may wish to change a domain name, let us find out how one can do that without losing search engine ranking.
1. Look for a Hosting Plan
Before you migrate your site, look for a hosting plan. Once you’ve chosen a hosting plan for yourself, click the buy button, and complete your purchase. Migrating your entire site to your new domain is easy if you’re using WordPress. A decent web host should offer automatic WordPress migration. Alternatively, you can go for a step-by-step guide to download, export, and upload your site files manually.
2. Back Up Your Site and Perform SEO Audit on Your Current Website
Always make sure you’ve got a full backup of your current site and its data. It is good to do an SEO site audit before deciding to change your domain name. Several site audit tools are available that will assess your website’s current SEO effectiveness. SEO audit will assist you in determining what is working and what needs to be improved. It will also provide you with something to compare later.
An audit will help you determine the following:
- Website performance and page load time
- HTML and other code problems
- The standard of the content
- Inbound hyperlinks
- Links that do not work
3. Permanent Redirection
A permanent redirect is an important part of any domain change. Once you’ve migrated your full website to your new domain, you’d want to make sure that all of your traffic is sent to your new site from your old one. You can do that with a permanent redirection. It will redirect Google to recognize that your old page has been replaced with a new one. Collect these URL changes, and update index accordingly. A 301 redirect is what you’ll need to set up this permanent redirection.
301 redirect will help you automatically redirect any inbound traffic from your old website to the matching page on your new website. Make sure all the pages of your website have a redirect.
In addition, to confirm that each one page on your website is redirected accordingly, you ought to do a wildcard redirect. A wildcard redirect would allow browsers to succeed in your website no matter what is subdomain users requested, without the necessity to line up specific directories for those requests ahead.
4. Let Google Know About Your Changed Domain
It’s time to notify Google that you have migrated your website to its new domain and configured your 301 redirects. To start getting your website crawled using the new domain, go to Google Search Console. You can also let Google know about your new name via the search console settings. To do so, go to your former domain and look for the change of address feature. Once you’ve submitted your request for a new domain, Google will begin the process of indexing it.
5. Create Sitemap
Google suggests providing an XML sitemap if you have a large website with a lot of pages. This can be done from the left menu of the Search Console by selecting Sitemaps. If you’re using WordPress SEO plugins like Yoast, you can easily construct sitemap. If your website has fewer than 100 pages, you don’t need to submit a sitemap.
How Knotsync Helped a Client Change Its Domain Name
One of our clients selling digital pet portraits online wanted to change their domain name. Their former name was PrintCanva. They felt that what they were doing would be reflected more if they changed their name to PrintMynd. To do that, they wanted to change their domain name to printmynd.com from printcanva.com. We helped them migrate their website to a new domain without harming their SEO.
Checklist to Follow When Changing Your Domain Name
- Make redirects and keep them for a minimum of 120 days.
- Update your new domain name on Google Search Console.
- Update Google Analytics with the new domain name.
- All internal links need to be updated to your new domain as well.
- Remember to update existing backlinks. Simply put, Google recognizes pages with many backlinks. The more backlinks your website has, the higher your search rank, which contributes to higher site traffic.
- Also, provide useful information that will attract other websites to link to you. This will convey strong signals to Google.
- Allow your viewers to understand the transition to a new domain. Use your website, social media, and email list to spread the word. Make everyone aware of the approaching change so that they are not surprised or confused.
- Consider having a lot of new content available, such as blogs or articles.
- Optimize the content for search engines. Make sure the content on your website is useful from SEO perspective. In this way, the transition will be easier, and the impact will be the less on the search results.
- Update your custom, professional email address to match your new domain name. (Don’t forget your email signature!)
- Make a list of all company materials and communications where you’ll need to update your domain name and links.
- Notify your customers through email communication or on-site messaging.
The competition is high and many companies are trying to make the mark in the same industry. So, if your current domain name does not adequately represent your brand or business you may want to change your domain name. The name of your domain should help you in identifying your product or business in the marketplace.
Changing domain names is a huge decision that requires a lot of thought and preparation. Make sure you set aside enough time to think through everything. It helps if you hire SEO experts for changing the domain name. Get in touch with them right away to ensure you get the most out of your domain move without sacrificing your search engine rating.