The SEO Impact of Changing Your Domain Name

Blog author kyle roof
Kyle Roof
July 18, 2023

Rebranding your website can be a daunting task, and it's important to understand the potential SEO implications of changing your domain name. The good news is that it's possible to make the transition from one domain to another without damaging your SEO. In this post, we'll outline the steps for rebranding marketers to help guide you through the process of changing your domain name with minimal SEO impact. 

First, it's important to understand why you might want to change your domain name. This could be due to purchasing a business, merging with another company, or simply wanting a more relevant domain name. Whatever your reason, it's essential to know the potential SEO risks associated with changing your domain name. Once you understand the risks, you can safely proceed with the domain change.

SEO & Domain Change

Changing your domain name may seem to be necessary but from an SEO perspective, its also potentially a risky venture, as it could have a negative effect on your SEO. Due to domain migration websites can drop 20% 30% in traffic. The goal of this guide is to help you preserve your rankings and maintain search traffic when making the change. 

Changing your domain can affect the search engine’s ability to find and crawl your pages, which can lead to a loss of rankings. However, if done properly, you can mitigate the risks and recover your rankings. The key is to set up 301 redirects, which will push website visitors looking for your old pages to the new pages. This will help Google recognize the change and keep your SEO rankings intact. 

You can also keep track of your old links, contact websites that link to you, and ask them to update their links. It is also important to note that if 301 redirects are not possible, you will need to rebuild your links. This can be time-consuming and requires a certain level of expertise. Finally, you will need to make sure that your Analytics is properly set up and that you are tracking the performance of your new domain. 

If done properly, you can successfully preserve your SEO and rankings when changing your domain name. In the end, you will be able to minimize any long-term damage and recover completely.

How to Change Domain Name Without a Negative SEO Effect

Changing domains can be a complex and time-consuming process, but it doesn't have to be if you take the time to plan ahead. Here are some steps you can take to make sure you don't lose any of your SEO when changing domains:

1. Make sure the new URL is sound. Before changing domains, you need to understand the history of the domain you are moving to. If you are purchasing a domain from a third party, research its backlink network, authority, and any suspicious activity that may have been associated with it. Use Backlink Checker to ensure your new domain is quality. 

2. Migrate the site. Coordinate with your hosting provider and web developer to have your current website migrated to the new domain.

3. Redirect your old domain. Make sure to coordinate this through your domain registrar and/or hosting provider. Each page should be redirected to a matching page on the new URL. If the old domain was secured via HTTPS, make sure that the HTTPS version of the links redirect properly. 

4. Verify your new website with Google Search Console. This is your communication channel with Google. Verify your new domain and use the platform to track the keyword performance of each page. 

5. Update all mentions of the old URL. Start with Google My Business and your business profiles on social media, then reach out to partners and other website owners who link to yours. Ask them to update the domain in any links pointing to your site. 

6. Update Google Analytics. Log in to Google Analytics and update all mentions of the old URL in the admin section. 

7. Monitor the results. Closely monitor the results in both Google Analytics and the Google Search Console. 

8. Build a list of all of the high-performing pages. Make sure the new website has corresponding pages for each of the high-ranking, high-organic traffic pages from the old site and that the content is just as relevant and keyphrase-focused. 

9. Preserve keyword-focus on those top URLs. When rebranding, new messaging and content may be necessary. But for the really important pages, maintain the keyword-relevance for those important pages.

Monitor Your Results 

Now that you’ve changed your domain name, it’s time to monitor your results. You’ll want to keep a close eye on your site’s performance, to make sure that the migration went smoothly and that you haven’t missed any steps. The best place to start is with Google Search Console. As mentioned before, you’ll want to make sure your new domain is being indexed correctly. You can also keep an eye on your site’s organic traffic. If you’ve successfully completed all of the steps outlined in this guide, you should see your organic traffic return to its usual levels over time. You’ll also want to pay attention to any new SEO errors that have popped up since the switch. If you detect any issues, you’ll want to address them as quickly as possible. Finally, if you’re feeling particularly daring, you can even track the performance of your old domain name. This will help you determine whether your redirects are working correctly. By monitoring your results, you can make sure that your hard work hasn’t gone to waste. This is the most important part of changing your domain name without hurting your SEO.

Minimize The SEO Impact Of Changing Your Domain Name

Changing your domain name can be an intimidating process, but with the right preparation, it doesn’t have to hurt your SEO. If you have successfully migrated your website to a new domain and communicated the change to the search engines, it is important to maintain ownership of your old domain and keep it forwarded to maintain the authority signals via the redirect. Taking the time to invest in evolving your site's SEO is essential to make sure your website continues to rank well in the search engine results pages.

Changing the domain of your website is just one part of the rebranding process and it is important to also communicate the change to your customers and stakeholders. Although you may want to include keywords in your domain to benefit your SEO, it is not recommended to change your domain solely for that purpose.

blog author kyle roof

Co-Founder & Lead SEO at POP

Kyle Roof is an SEO expert, speaker and trainer. Kyle currently resides in Chiang Mai, Thailand with his family.

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