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Changing a Domain Name & SEO: 2 Critical Steps

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Changing a Domain Name on Your Website?

Are you considering changing a domain name for your website due to a company rebrand or choosing a more straightforward name? One critical aspect is maintaining the domain authority you’ve built up on your old website.

Backlink Preservation

A critical factor in this process is preserving your backlinks. In this post, I’ll discuss two essential methods to maintain those backlinks during the website domain change. This way, your site will rank highly in search results with the same domain authority you had before the change.

When undergoing a domain change, it’s crucial to be aware that it typically results in a drop in traffic. For instance, if you’re accustomed to a certain level of organic traffic, anticipate a possible reduction of 20%-50%.

In a recent domain change we managed, there was about a 40% decrease in website traffic, and it took a few months to recover. This drop can vary based on several factors, including the specific domain being transferred. So, planning this change is essential to avoid periods when your business might already be experiencing slower traffic.

Implement a 301 Redirect

The first strategy I want to share involves implementing a 301 redirect for your entire site when changing the domain name. This concept is elaborately explained in an article by SEMRush, which I recommend checking out for more in-depth information.

A 301 redirect informs search engines like Google that your site has moved from the old URL to a new domain. While a developer can do this without the need for plugins, there are several plugins available that can facilitate this process. These include Yoast, RankMath, and Redirection. Another helpful plugin is All-in-One SEO, which provides a straightforward interface for managing redirects.

For instance, let’s consider the backend of a WordPress site, such as freemansrealty.com. You would navigate to the ‘redirects’ section using the All-in-One SEO plugin. Here, you can set up your source (the original URL) and the target (the new URL). For a full site redirect, you would select the ‘full site redirect’ option, enabling you to redirect your old site to your new chosen domain.

To illustrate, consider our recent website transfer from ‘tfgonline.com’ to ‘freemansconstruction.com.’ TFGonline had accumulated significant domain authority but needed to indicate our business as a residential construction company. Hence, we switched to ‘freemansconstruction.com.’ It’s a domain we already owned but hadn’t previously utilized. Implementing a 301 redirect ensured visitors and backlinks to tfgonline.com were automatically redirected to the new domain.

Identify Your Backlinking Sources

The next step is to conduct thorough research to identify who is backlinking to your site and update these links directly. Although a 301 redirect addresses the immediate issue by rerouting traffic to your new site, it’s beneficial for the backlinks to point directly to your unique URL. This reduces load times and improves user experience.

If you own multiple websites, start by updating the backlinks on those sites first. Then, consider contacting other websites linking to your content to update their links. It can be a time-consuming process, but it’s worthwhile for maintaining link integrity and domain authority.

Using SEMRush to Perform Backlink Audit

Tools like SEMRush are invaluable for a practical approach to managing these backlinks. For example, by running a backlink audit on your old URL, you can identify the top referring domains and the specific pages where your backlinks are located. This allows you to systematically update each backlink, ensuring they point to the relevant pages on your new domain.

Finally, it’s important to remember that transitioning to a new domain can temporarily impact your search engine traffic. However, by taking these steps, you can minimize the impact and gradually regain your site’s traffic and domain authority.

To Recap

I hope you find this helpful information. For more insightful content, explore other articles on our blog. And if you need help with SEO, video marketing, or web design in Boise, Idaho, request a consultation with us.

Thank you for reading, and we look forward to providing more helpful content in our upcoming posts.

Brian Freeman

Brian Freeman

Brian is the president of BuildIt Media. His passion is helping local businesses get clarity in their message allowing them to build authority and dominate their competition.

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