A Comprehensive Look at Changing Domains and Its Impacts on SEO!

Shubham Kumar Shubham Kumar Anik Banerjee Anik Banerjee
Jun 28, 2022 6 min read
A Comprehensive Look at Changing Domains and Its Impacts on SEO!

So, you have got a website that is successfully registered with a particular domain name and is hosted for the audiences. Here's when you think of changing your domain name, but you are unsure whether or not it would be a wise decision!

Stop! Never decide on it on your whim, rather you can take help from the internet and the viral articles that are knowledgeable too. Such articles/blogs will direct you with the same, just like this StartupTalky article, which will help you understand domain changes and whether they will impact your SEO. ย 

Do you want to change your domain name? In this article, we've explained how changing domains can affect your SEO, along with detailed steps to change it without compromising your hard-earned link juice!

So, letโ€™s get started.

Does Domain Name Change Really Impact the SEO Performance?
How Far can Domain Changes Affect SEO?
How to Change Domains Without Affecting SEO?
1. Check the New Domainโ€™s History
2. Back-Up Your Website
3. Implement a 301 Redirect
4. Inform Google About the Changes
5. Submit Your New Sitemap
6. Test Your Website
Should You Go For Domain Name Changes?
Why is Strong SEO Crucial?

Does Domain Name Change Really Impact the SEO Performance?

Domain changes are seldom required, but they are also required at some times for some businesses even after they are registered with one of the best domain registrars. Such a change is mostly needed by the companies if they are merging with another company or are looking for another more relevant domain name. Though none of the companies would want to risk their online visibility, brand image, or marketing and SEO, they simply rethink at times whether it would be wise to change their domain names.

Now, if you are in one such position where you have hosted your website with the help of a reputed hosting company and are wondering whether changing the domain would affect your SEO performance, then the answer is nothing but a YES!

Changing the domain name would make it harder for the Search Engine, its crawlers and the audiences to find your website. However, it is also true that the change in the domain name shall not erase what you have done in terms of SEO for your brand. So, how far can domain changes affect the SEO?

Okay, let's check it out below! ย  ย  ย  ย  ย 

How Far can Domain Changes Affect SEO?

When you intend to buy a domain name from some of the best domain marketplaces and use it as your new website name, you might wonder whether or not it is a wise thing to do.

When you change your domain, your SEO will suffer to a certain extent. Some pages are likely to drop in rankings right after moving to a new domain, but the effect should be temporary if done correctly.

Thatโ€™s why changing domains shouldnโ€™t be done on a whim. It takes careful planning and time. If you change your already high-ranking domain to a new one, you will have a significant drop in SEO and overall organic traffic volumes. This means that all the links on your site under the old domain will no longer work. Thus, the content cannot be ranked.

Luckily, there are some steps you can take when changing domains without affecting your SEO.

How to Change Domains Without Affecting SEO?

Letโ€™s break down some actions you should take when moving from one domain to another:

1. Check the New Domainโ€™s History

You could skip this step if you purchased a new domain name. This step applied when you bought an existing domain either from a domain auction or someone else.

Youโ€™ll want to go to archive.org to receive the web pagesโ€™ history report on the domain name. Here, make sure that there wasnโ€™t any spam or low-quality content.

To get an entire in-depth history, you can use Ahrefsโ€™ Backlink Checker tool. You should also use the Google Search Console to see how well Google ranked the previous web pages or whether they had any penalties before.

2. Back-Up Your Website

The next step is to back up all the files on your site. This is to avoid any data loss as you migrate your siteโ€™s content from one domain to another.

You can also do a website audit where you list all your inbound links to minimise the loss of those good links. This can be done by going to your Google Search Console and clicking on the Search Traffic section on the left side menu. You can then export the links you want to keep as your records.

3. Implement a 301 Redirect

You should create a 301 Redirect. This is necessary to drive traffic from your old domain to your new one. Itโ€™s a crucial step in maintaining your search engine rankings and for Google to understand that your siteโ€™s content was permanently moved to a new address and name.

To do this, you should have access to your serverโ€™s .htaccess file and use the wildcard process. Once youโ€™re in, simply replace the old domain with the new one. You can find more specific information depending on your hosting provider.

The transfer process will take up to a few weeks, but you can accelerate the process by doing the next step.

4. Inform Google About the Changes

Using the Google Search Console, head to the Change of Address tool and add your new domain to inform Google that your domain name has changed. Google will then update your domain in their system and migrate everything to your old domain name.

Ensure that everything has appropriately moved. All your links should be resolved and have a 200 OK status code written next to them. Make sure that all the redirects are 301 and not 307 or 302.

5. Submit Your New Sitemaps

Your new site will need a sitemap to represent all the pages on your site. Once youโ€™ve identified the importance of all your pages, you should code your URLs. You can use tools like Sublime Text to help.

Once youโ€™re done, head over to your Google Search Console and click on your website on the sidebar. Then head to the Sitemaps section and remove your old sitemaps. Then on the Add, a new sitemap, and hit input. Finally, click Submit once youโ€™re done.

6. Test Your Website

Once the domain change is complete, youโ€™ll want to double and triple-check everything to make sure itโ€™s working correctly. You can manually do this by typing in both the old and new domain names in your browser.

You can also use Google Analytics to see if itโ€™s appropriately tracking your website under the new domain. Head to the Site Content section and search for any pages with โ€œPage Not Found.โ€ If there are any, that means something went wrong with your redirects.

Using the Google Search Console, head to the Coverage report to see any errors on your website. It will also automatically inform you via email if there are any significant issues with your new domain.

Should You Go For Domain Name Changes?

Domain name changes for a brand almost always falls under the list of the strict no-nos. Here, if you are thinking of improving your SEO performance by changing your old domain to a newer one, then that is an absolutely unhealthy idea for your website.

Now, if you also find out a domain name that fits the domain you work in and the products/services you provide, then also, you shouldn't opt to change your domain name. In such cases, you might enjoy a short hit in your organic rankings, but that will eventually dip far lower than you can probably think of if you don't support the same with adequate strategies. However, if you need to change your domain name anyhow and the reason is compelling, then do it at your own risk, but keep the aforementioned strategies handy to get over the marketing woes. ย 

Why is Strong SEO Crucial?

SEO is crucial because it helps your website become more visible on the search engine result pages. SEO and domain names complement each other, as youโ€™ll see in the these couple of reasons below:

  • Branding โ€“ As your domain name is unique, it can be used to build your brand. Your domain name will then help your SEO because of its unusual name.
  • Business or location-related TLDs โ€“ Having specific TLDs that focus on what you do or where youโ€™re located makes it easier for your SEO to rank your website higher in the particular location or business extension.

Conclusion

Now you know how changing a domain name affects your SEO and its benefits when done correctly. Weโ€™ve also explained the steps to change your domain name without affecting your SEO. So, if you ever decide to change your domain name, you know what to do now.

FAQs

What is a domain name?

A domain name can be described as the name of the website. This name comes right after "www" or after "@" in an email address.

Is domain name needed for a website?

Domain names are crucial for a website. It serves as the identity of the website on which the online visibility of the individual or the business as well as its marketing depends. Every website is registered with a particular domain, which needs to be done for all of the websites. ย  ย 

Why should you not change the domain name of your website?

If you're thinking of changing your domain name, then don't. These are the reasons that will make it challenging if you change your domain name:

  • Changing your domain name will adversely affect your SEO
  • It will make the website less recognizable by the audiences
  • It will make many links inside it invalid
  • Changing the domain name will make it difficult even for the Search Engine and its crawlers
  • It might also impact the reputation of the brand/website

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