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How to change your website domain without harming your SEO

Changing a website domain name is a significant undertaking, and it’s crucial to do it properly to ensure that you don’t harm your SEO. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is optimizing your website to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). Here are suggestions on changing your website domain name without harming your SEO.

Why would you need to change your domain name?

There are many reasons why you might need to change your domain name, including:

  1. Rebranding: If you’re rebranding your business, you may need to change your domain name to reflect your new branding.
  2. Domain name not relevant: If your current domain name isn’t relevant to your business or doesn’t reflect your business well, you may want to change it.
  3. Domain name too long or difficult to remember: If your current domain name is too long or difficult to remember, it may be a good idea to change it to something simpler.

Whatever the reason for changing your domain name, it’s essential to do it in a way that doesn’t harm your SEO.

Step 1: Choose a new domain name

Choosing a new domain name is the first step in changing your domain name. When choosing a new domain name, it’s important to choose one that reflects your business and is easy to remember. Choosing a domain name that is relevant to your company and easy to spell would be best.

When choosing a new domain name, you should consider the following:

  1. Keep it short: Short domain names are easier to remember and type.
  2. Use keywords: Using keywords in your domain name can help improve your SEO.
  3. Make it easy to spell: Avoid using words that are difficult to spell.
  4. Make it relevant: Choose a domain name suitable to your business.
  5. Avoid trademark issues: Make sure your new domain name doesn’t infringe on trademarks.

Step 2: Prepare your new website

Once you’ve chosen your new domain name, it’s time to prepare your new website. This involves creating a new website with the same content as your old website. 

When preparing your new website, you should consider the following:

  1. Use the same URL structure: Use the same URL structure as your old website to ensure your old links still work.
  2. Create 301 redirects: Create 301 redirects from your old website to your new website to ensure that your old links redirect to your new website.
  3. Update internal links: Update any internal links on your website to point to your new website.
  4. Update external links: Update any external links pointing to your new website.
  5. Check for broken links: Check for broken links on your website and fix them before launching your new website.

Step 3: Notify Google and other search engines

Once you’ve prepared your new website, it’s time to notify Google and other search engines about your domain name change. This involves submitting a change of address in Google Search Console.

To notify Google and other search engines about your domain name change, you should follow these steps:

  1. Set up a new Google Search Console account for your new website.
  2. Verify ownership of your new website.
  3. Go to your old Google Search Console account’s “Change of Address” section.
  4. Follow the instructions to submit your change of address request.
  5. Monitor your new website’s search performance in Google Search Console.

Step 4: Update your marketing channels

Once you’ve notified Google and other search engines about your domain name change, it’s time to update your marketing channels. This involves updating your social media profiles, email signatures, business cards, and other marketing materials with your new domain name. When updating your marketing channels, it would help if you considered the following:

  1. Update your social media profiles: Update your social media profiles with your new domain name. This includes updating your profile picture, header image, and bio. Remember link.tree or other link-sharing services.
  2. Update your email signature: Update your email signature to include your new domain name.
  3. Update your business cards: Print them with your new domain name and distribute them to clients and business partners.
  4. Update your marketing materials: Update any other marketing materials, such as brochures or flyers, with your new domain name.

Step 5: Monitor your website’s performance

Once you’ve completed all the steps above, monitoring your website’s performance is critical to ensure your SEO isn’t harmed. You should monitor your website’s traffic, rankings, and backlinks to ensure everything works correctly.

When monitoring your website’s performance, you should consider the following:

  1. Monitor your website’s traffic: Keep an eye on your website’s traffic to ensure that it’s not decreasing after the domain name change.
  2. Monitor your website’s rankings: Monitor your website’s rankings in search engine results pages to ensure that your website still ranks well for your target keywords.
  3. Monitor your website’s backlinks: Check your website’s backlinks to ensure they’re still pointing to your website after the domain name change.
  4. Monitor your website’s errors: Check your website’s error logs to ensure no errors or broken links.

Changing your website domain name can be daunting, but if done correctly, it can be a smooth transition. To ensure that you don’t harm your SEO, you should choose a new domain name that is relevant, easy to remember, and easy to spell. You should also prepare your new website by using the same URL structure as your old website, creating 301 redirects, updating internal and external links, and checking for broken links. 

Finally, you should notify Google and other search engines about your domain name change, update your marketing channels, and monitor your website’s performance. Following these steps, you can change your website domain name without harming your SEO.

Changing your website domain might also mean it’s time for a redesign! If that’s the case, contact WebCami today!

Cami MacNamara

Providing web design services from West Seattle, WA since 2002.

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