Sometimes, the time comes for a company to change its domain name. This could be for a number of reasons – the company could have been bought over by another entity, your business has changed its name or you have simply grown weary of your old domain name.
Changing your domain name can be quite a scary task – after all, you’ve put blood, sweat and tears into building brand awareness. You don’t want to sacrifice your rankings, backlinks or any authority, but you’ve reached the point where changing your domain name is an inevitable necessity. What are you to do? Fret not, we have you covered. Here are some pointers on how to change your domain name whilst still retaining that SEO juice!
1. Back Up Your Site
The first and most important thing you have to do before changing your domain is to back up your site – this is crucial. You’ll want to test your backup to make sure all of your content and files are intact and to ensure that nothing has been corrupted in the process. To help with your domain name change, as well as to avoid any potential disasters later on, it is always recommended to back up your on a regular basis.
2. Be Aware Of And Check For Domain Penalties
Did you know that your new domain could already be penalised? When a new domain is purchased, there is always that chance that there could be some low-quality backlinks pointing towards your site. Be sure to disavow these links before you move forward with migrating your site.
The best way to do this is to utilize Google Webmaster Tools. Navigate to Search Traffic>Manual Actions and check if there are any instances of pam targeting your domain. In the case that there are, just submit a removal request and they will sort it out.
3. It’s Time To Migrate Your Content
With all that foundational work sorted, it is time to move your current content over to your new domain. Doing this all at once it will help to speed up the process and reduce the risk of any negative SEO impact. You can use a plugins such as All-in-One WP Migration to help simplify the process, should you happen to be using WordPress. Should you choose to do it manually, ensure that you set aside some time to copy everything over to your new domain at one go.
Adding URL redirects on all of your old content to your new site is absolutely crucial in your domain change process. You will want to use a 301 redirect, which is a permanent redirect. This will pass your current SEO juice onto your new site. You can use a plugins such as Simple 301 Redirects if your site runs on WordPress. If you have pages that are no longer present on your new domain, ensure that you create a relevant page, so users don’t land on that dreaded 404 page!
5. Hello Google, We Have Moved!
The last step in your domain name change is to let google know that you have moved. This is simply done by navigating to the gear icon in the right-hand corner and submitting a change of address within your Google Webmaster Tools dashboard. Simple!
You can even go one step further and create a new XML sitemap. According to Google, you should actually create two sitemaps – one for your old domain and one for your new domain. Over time, you’ll see that the old domains will be de-indexed and your new domains will take their place. And there you have it – following these steps, your new site should be migrated and error free!