Changing your website domain name Effect on SEO?
Remember the days of world wide web when the only domain names available ended in .com, .net or .org?
Things were easy back then due to limited source . You either got the exact name according to you were looking (like ‘web.com’) – or you got the next best.
Back in those days people believed a ‘.com’ online domain beat anything else available. It showed that YOUR domain was one of the originals – one of the world wide web internet pioneers – and as such should be treated with respect.
While originally the length of domain charcters names was restricted, their length grew quickly, and in no time you could create any domain names with 253 characters longs. And that was great for SEO also – Google was previously very keen on all domains where the content of a website on page was reflected by the URL. Slowly though, people started using internet and owing domains starting to talk about “user experience” and they actually started to question with internet provider whether domain names like ‘www.everything-you-ever-want-to-know-about-web-hosting.com’ offered a quality user experience – imagine typing all those hyphens into your address bar!
And then online world domain hosting server got extended came the era of generic Top-Level-Domains (gTLDs)!
Aside from online unique domains with suffixes that suggest geographic location (such as ‘.co.uk’), there are now hundreds of choices of online domain suffix that reflect the area of business you are in, your profession, or your area of user interest. Here are three at random – .doctor, .club, .accountant. If you want to see more Wikipedia website which has a pretty exhaustive listing of the domain extensions that are available these days… And the list is also keeps growing, seemingly on a daily basis.
With such a wealth of number of choice, people no longer have to accept second best chance. Nowadays there is very likely a web domain name available that expresses EXACTLY what you want it to express. But while the choice is there its become easier to get the best one, and many are tempted to switch a website’s domain name to something better, few do. The reason for this is, of course, Search Engine Optimization, or SEO.
SEO helps a online website gain traction and placement in major search engines, and as the longevity of a domain plays a part in how much ‘Google link Juice’ it acquires, people have a tendency not to play around with sites that they have very carefully cultivated over many years. It is though possible to have the best of both worlds – change a website’s more frequently domain name without impacting SEO issues (or at least making the impact very minimal).
Here then is a basic guide while changing a domain name to an effective domain name change:
1. Before you buy – check whether your website domain has been registered before
If it is a brand (Company) new domain name with one of the latest extensions, the chances of it having been registered before are slim, but there is still a chance own that domain. You also need to check if the domain has been penalized by any search engine in any fashion by Google.
First use a ‘whois‘ site a tool which tell about a website history records to see if any details of the domain you have chosen already exist. Likewise, the Wayback Machine (A tool to check data of website )offers a good idea as to whether a domain name has been in use previously. If so, you need to look further. If a web domain has been penalized by Google, it won’t be allowed to utilize Search Engine Google Adsense, so checking if a domain is permitted to use Google Adsense (if there is no Google Adsense mean you are not able to make money via Google Ads) will give you a clear insight into its history and its value to you. Google also offers legal Manual Actions reports that can tell you whether anyone at the Google has previously flagged the domain for any reason. You also might want to find out if a name is a registered trademark to avoid future legal problems.
2. Back everything up
Moving shifting your website under a new domain will require moving servers data from one hosting to another, or at least moving to a new account on the same server for data secure. When you make major changes in our website like these, always fear the worst cause changing a domain is consider as a new website for Google. Imagine that you will lose everything during changing domain and that way you will always instinctively make a full data backup. How you do this can help you to save your data cause once you change domain all data will be change that will be dependent on the control panel you use or whether you use as cloud-based data backup service. Regardless, ensure a full back up is available.
3. Move your files to the new server/account
If you are using a Content Management System website (CMS) like Joomla, WordPress, or Drupal a number of modules/plugins are available prebuild to make help make such a move a smooth one. Without such an option, you are going to have to rebuild pages, either manually or using some type of cod easier to backup data and function of website. What you will be left with is your website content on new pages and under new URLs.
4. Point your old URLs at the new URLs
If this can be automated by a software or programmer your life will be made much simpler all things will be easily understandable by programmer, otherwise it means getting into your .htacess file and doing the redirects manually website, and for a big site that could be quite a job easily. Nevertheless it has to be done. To point pages use a ‘301 redirect’. A 301 special Redirect means servers recognize a move as being ‘permanent’. If the move is permanent, Google search engine will transfer any SEO benefits from an old URL to the new URL.
5. Create a 404 redirect page
The chances are that if you are doing any change in URL manually, you will make some mistakes, and this will result in certain links directing to pages that do not exist:
- Create and add a New XML SitemapXML sitemaps a way to make a structure of url of website make it substantially easier for Google to read your website pages, so don’t forget to add one. Again, using Joomla, WordPress, or Drupal there are modules and plugins that can do this for you, but if not there are a number of online websites that will generate a sitemap for you. A number of free downloads like ‘Open Sitemap Generator’ will do the trick. To submit a sitemap you have to go into Google Webmaster.
7. Submit the new site to Google
The faster Google recognizes the change and optimization in data information on your website, the better it will be for your SEO. Again you will need Google Webmaster for this and detailed instructionsare provided at the site.
Caveat: Whether your site’s rating in Search engine Google is actually transferred to your new domain is dependent on a number of factors. If, for example, you want to redirect your pages and your new site’s pages are slower loading than your old site’s pages, you can wave your SEO goodbye. That’s just one example… If your new site flawed in any fashion, don’t expect to carry your old domain’s SEO over to the new domain.