Do you want to change your site's domain name but are worried about keeping the existing SEO authority? A domain name can be changed due to many reasons. You could be rebranding the business or even changing the specialty of the business.
Some people take up the first domain name they find when starting their business, but they want to change it to a simpler or relatable name later on. Building up a strong SEO authority takes a lot of patience and hard work. To let all the effort go when you change your domain name would be a huge setback for your business.
To ensure that the SEO authority stays the same even after you change the domain, you will have to go through certain important steps.
The domain you buy should have a very clear past. This is for domains that have been bought in an auction or for people who are using an older one that earlier belonged to someone else. If you have bought a brand new domain, then you can skip this step.
For older domains, you can check the past of the domain and see the web pages displayed on the domain. See if the pages are of low-quality or have any spam content. You can use any premium backlink domain checker for better results.
If the domain has any manual penalties, then you would have to file one reconsideration request so that Google gets rid of those penalties.
Before you change your domain name, it is better to see the domain's current SEO status. This helps you understand your status after the domain change has been made. You can use the Google Search Console to review different sections of the domain. The GSC gives you a performance report that shows how the domain has been performing.
There are also Sitemaps and Index Coverage reports that show how Google has been indexing the site. You can also access the Mobile Usability report that shows the pages with a usability problem when opened on a mobile. The GSC also gives a Links Report where you will be provided with a list of websites linked to the domain.
You can also use the Ahrefs tool to check the backlinks of your domain.
Once you know about your site's performance, it is not time to migrate the website to your new domain. The way you migrate your site will depend on the host. If your old and new domain shares the same host, then there will automatically be a new folder for your new domain. Here, you need to copy all the site files from your current destination to the new one.
In case the hosts for your domains are different, you will first have to export all the website files from the old host and then upload them onto the new host. For people who do not understand this process's in-depth technicality, you could use a migration plug-in. Developers can do this whole process manually.
Once the migration occurs, you will be able to access both sites for a very short time. Check if the cloning process is done successfully, and both these sites look the same.
Redirecting is a very important process as it drives the traffic from your old domain to your new domain. This helps in keeping the SEO ranking the same even if your URL has been changed. Through this process, Google understands that your website's content has been moved to a new destination.
Here redirects mean the 301 redirect, which is a permanent one and not the 302 temporary redirects. For this process, you can get dedicated plug-ins such as Simple 301 redirects or any other. You can also use a plug-in or tool for checking if the redirects have been done correctly.
Redirecting prompts Google to change the index accordingly. All the SEO value and ranking signals of your old domain will get transferred to your new domain after a short while.
The tool that you will be using for this step is the Google Search Console. Most SEO related actions are done through this tool. Here you will have to add the name of your new domain. This is essential so that Google can rightfully find your new domain address and change the index.
You will be then asked to go through the address change process, where you have to submit a request for changing your domain. Google will run a few tests to see if your new domain is in perfect order. Once you complete all the steps properly, your search ranking is protected even after the domain name is changed.
Migrating the domain does not mean that your SEO action is complete. There are some changes that you would have to make in your new domain as well. The first thing that you have to see is the email address associated with your domain. If you have one with the old domain name, you need to create one with your new domain name.
This email address should be updated in the contact section of your new domain and any other social media site that you may have. Your clients will be reaching you on your old email address if you forget to change it.
Changing a domain name is not a very complicated process but retaining the old domain's SEO rankings is. If you cannot retain your old SEO value, you will have to start from scratch, which is a complete waste of time. That is why you should be very cautious when you are changing your domain.
The steps mentioned here will ensure that search engines divert the results to your new domain and all your SEO efforts are intact. This way, users will be able to locate you on your new domain without any issues.