Why bother if it’s so risky?
Why take the risk of losing the SEO ranking that you have worked hard for many years? In many cases, a domain change is a strategic move rather than a performance tune, and there are various reasons why a company may choose to change its website domain. Some of the most common reasons include:
- Rebranding: A company may change its name, logo, or brand identity, and therefore need to change their website domain to reflect the new branding.
- Mergers and Acquisitions: Companies that merge or acquire other companies may choose to consolidate their websites under a new domain.
- Expanding their business: A company that expands their business may need to change their website domain to reflect the new focus or target audience.
- Improving SEO: Changing a domain name can be a part of a larger SEO strategy. For example, a company may choose to change their domain to better align with the keywords they want to rank for or to remove any penalties from previous SEO practices.
- Legal reasons: A company may need to change their domain due to legal reasons, such as trademark infringement or domain name disputes.
- Cybersecurity concerns: A company may need to change their domain if their website is hacked or if there are other cybersecurity concerns.
- Migration to a different platform: A company may choose to change their website platform or CMS, and therefore need to change their domain as part of the migration process since you cannot use the same domain for two different websites.
- In favour of ccTLDs: you can read more about the advantages of using ccTLDs here.
Overall, changing a website domain is a significant decision and requires careful planning and execution to ensure a smooth transition for both the company and its customers.
Important To-do list when changing your domain
Changing your website domain can have a significant impact on your SEO performance. However, there are several steps you can take to ensure that your SEO is not compromised when you make this change. Here are some things you should do:
- Plan your domain change carefully: Before you make any changes, plan your domain change carefully. Make sure you choose a domain that is relevant to your business and easy to remember.
- Keep your existing domain active: Keep your existing domain active for a while after you switch to the new one. This will give search engines time to index the new domain and ensure that all of your old links redirect to the new domain.
- Update internal links: Update all of the internal links on your website to point to the new domain.
- Update external links: Update any external links that point to your website to point to the new domain.
- Update your sitemap: Update your sitemap to reflect the new domain.
- Update your Google Search Console: Update your Google Search Console account to reflect the new domain. Add the new domain as a property and verify ownership.
- Update your Google Analytics: Update your Google Analytics account to reflect the new domain. Add the new domain as a property and update any existing goals or filters.
- Create 301 redirects: Create 301 redirects from your old domain to your new domain. This will ensure that all of your old links redirect to the new domain.
- Update your social media accounts: Update your social media accounts to reflect the new domain.
- Monitor your SEO performance: Monitor your SEO performance after the domain change to ensure that everything is working as expected. Keep an eye on your search engine rankings, traffic, and other metrics to ensure that there are no issues.
- Monitor the 404 reports on the old domain: To ensure a smooth transition when changing your website domain, it’s crucial to keep your old domain active so it can redirect traffic to the new domain while giving search engines time to reindex. Despite careful planning for 301 redirects, it’s inevitable that there will be numerous 404 errors that need to be addressed promptly to avoid losing valuable search traffic. Failure to do so could result in missed business leads or online sales.
By following these steps, you can ensure that your SEO performance is not compromised when you change your website domain. However, it’s important to remember that it may take some time for search engines to index your new domain and for your rankings to recover. Our of all the activities, the 301 redirect is absolutely paramount, so be sure to get a qualified SEO specialist to assist you with domain change over.