Changing a domain name can prove to be beneficial for businesses looking to rebrand themselves. However, failing to follow the necessary steps can bring down your search engine rankings and organic traffic. This is because major search engines link several metrics with a domain name that helps to determine rankings. There are certain tips that you must follow in order to mitigate or totally negate the effects of a domain name change. Some of these have been discussed below:
- Create Sitemap For Old Domain: First and foremost, you need to create a sitemap for your previous domain. It should have a detailed list of all the web pages so that you are able to work out your redirects. In addition, you should also create content for the new domain providing your business description, contact details and other important information.
- Set Up And Register The New Domain: Next, you need to purchase the new domain and make it live. You can create a basic splash page to let people know about your new website. Uploading even a single HTML page on your new website before moving will allow it to be indexed by search engines and differentiated from parked domains.
- Redirect Your Website To New Domain: Google recommends using 301 redirects so that the users and search engines are able to easily get to the new domain. You must remember to use these on a page level, i.e. a page in the old website should be redirected to the corresponding page on the new domain. After that, you must check if all the redirects and inbound links are working properly as these are the factors determining your website’s ranking.
- Fill Out Change Of Address Form: You must also fill out the ‘Change Of Address’ form in Google Search Console. This will help Google to acknowledge that the old domain has been moved to a new one. It will also allow your website to be immediately indexed and found by the users in search results.
- Submit Sitemaps: Submitting sitemaps for both the domains on Google Search Console will facilitate quicker indexing of the redirects. After that, you must wait for Google to update the changes and fix any errors. You can also monitor the crawl stats, crawl errors and HTML suggestions for a better indexing of your new domain.
Following the above steps will make sure that you make the most out of your new domain while keeping your SEO rankings consistent.