7 simple steps to move your site to a new domain name without losing your Google ranking
“Remote as it may sound right now, .coms could well be out of fashion by 2020, shifting a lot of consumer energy–including advertising budget–toward the new suffixes (gTLDs).as per the report Internet 2020″: An Analysis of How New gTLDs Will Transform the Internet.
New gTLDs’ are trending, more so than .COMs, and this new boom in domain names has opened a way for many businesses to rename their websites with more memorable, relative and brandable domain name.
Are you too planning to change your current domain, but scared of losing out on your SEO rankings? Don’t worry! In order to help you out, I am here with this seven step guide to help you shift your website to new domain with same SEO rankings.
We’ll follow Matt Cutts advice on shifting your site’s domain “Move the site in stages by moving sub-directories and examine how Google ranks the new domain”.
So we’ll take small baby steps to shift our site to a new domain name:
1. Purchase a new domain name
2. Prepare a holding page for your new URL
This should be the immediate step as you cannot just park your newly chosen domain, so create a single page with new URL structure so that Googlebot recognizes it as a real site and not just a parked domain.
Moreover it is your communication portal with people searching your site, where you can let them know that you have moved on to new URL/web address.
3. Plan a URL mapping
If you want Google or search engines to index your content under new URL and to rank this new URL in their search results, then generate a list of old URLs by searching into the sitemaps and of the URLs that get maximum traffic by checking your server logs or analytics software.
Finally, map these selected URLs to your redesigned site – the new destination.
4. Prepare your URL for 301 redirects
It is an amazing method of notifying search engine spiders and visitors of your permanent web address change. Redirect your old URLs to the new URLs correctly.
The 301 permanent redirects is considered as the most search engine-friendly method of redirection to the new domain address. However implementing a 301 redirect may vary depending on the server environment and language that you are using.
5. Test some part of your content
It is not wise to transfer all the content of your site to the new domain at once. So apply 301 Redirect for each page which you plan to move from old site to new site separately and conduct a check whether it is appearing in the search engines or not.
This will help in identifying issues which your site will face while redirecting it.
6. Create remaining pages and transfer all the content
As discussed above, transfer all the content to the new web address by using 301 redirects. But before going LIVE, do check that all the content has been redirected to the new page. Also check for the missing links and ensure that all links are working as they need to. This can be done with Xenu’s link sleuth –the link testing software.
Once you are sure enough that all the content (titles, descriptions) and links of your old site have been transferred to the new site, make your website live.
Note: Update both external and internal links coming to your site.
7. Add your new website to Webmaster Tools account
Use Google Webmaster Tools’ ‘Change of Address Tool’ to intimate Google that your site has have moved to a new domain name. Create XML sitemap and submit it to the webmaster tools. Also check for the crawl errors with the help of this tool to ensure that 301 redirects are functioning properly.
Also, do not forget to update your email address when your site is up and running on new address.
With these above- mentioned tips, you’ll surely retain your SEO rankings on moving your website to a new domain name.