A website doesn’t need to stay forever with the same domain.
There are times when domains (URLs) need to be changed due to specific reasons like rebranding business or changing the services or looking for a simpler domain name closer to your business goals, etc.
Have you ever thought of rebranding your website and left the idea because of the fear of losing your hard-earned organic rankings?
That is just a common misconception. With an organized set of plans, you can retain your SEO rankings and redirect them to the new website.
It is not so easy, it involves a lot of complex steps yet totally worth doing.
- Scrutinize the Entire Website
Before attempting changes on the website, carefully scrutinize all pages and download the URL structure of your website.
Several plugins like Yoast SEO Plugin helps you to download the sitemap – denoting where each content lies, on which page, how to navigate through the pages, how it functions etc.
Along with the content, you must keep an eye on the internal and external links in the website that have invariably resulted in SEO rankings.
These links have to be copied into a spreadsheet, with the accurate URLs to be precisely re-created in the new website domain.
- Create a Temporary URL and Move your Contents
A word to the wise, never re-design on your existing website.
It will cause irreparable errors and confusions that directly affect your customers, who may never return due to an unsatisfactory experience.
It is always better to create a temporary URL for re-structuring procedures.
Now move the entire contents of the old website, to the new one.
So that you may never miss out any of the high-quality old contents that gained your brand popularity among the others.
- Facilitate 301 Redirects
Now it is time to redirect page URLs between old and new website.
301 redirects help you to direct all the searches and traffic of the old pages to the corresponding pages on the new website.
If the redirecting it not done properly, the search engine will present “404 web pages not found” error code.
With redirecting, you can retain rankings and SEO efforts of the past safely into the future.
All the links found during the first step of scrutinizing are extremely important as these external links exhibit the credibility of your website.
So make sure that all the links pointing to the old website are accurately directed to the new website without getting lost in the middle.
- Update Details of New Domain in Listings and Links
Modifications of the website are fine and good. But how will search engines find your new website? Let them know.
- Submit the website XML to Google, Bing, Yahoo etc.
- Change the Address in Search Console
- Update Social Media Profiles on Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, Twitter etc.
- Update Listings on Local Directories
- Contact other websites that have linked to your old domain and ask them to update the links by connecting the new site.
- Monitor The Changes
You have successfully changed the website domain, but it is necessary to keep track of the site analytics for at least two months.
Look for any considerable changes in keyword rankings, increase or decrease of organic traffic, etc.
If the values are stable, your rebranding efforts are successful, you have retained the old customers and SEO rankings, at the same time moved into a better domain that will reveal its worth in the coming months.
If the above-mentioned steps seem complex to your knowledge and skills, you could always contact or hire the best SEO specialists or Web developers for your rebranding project.
Experienced agencies can do your job, neat and clean, without affecting your domain authority in the slightest way possible.