Domain name is akin to home address of a website. Sometimes there arises a need to change the domain name due to rebranding or newly acquired business or some other personal reason. It becomes important to change the domain name the right way so that you don’t loose upon visitors and the efforts put on search engine optimization (SEO) does not go waste.
Every website is accessible through a unique IP address. Registering a domain is actually connecting it to the IP address in the Domain Name System (DNS). So when someone types the domain, the IP address is fetched looking up the DNS of the domain. People often fear loosing on visitors or SEO so they avoid changing the domain but sometimes it make a lot of sense to change the domain.
Some of the steps to change the domain are –
- Deciding whether a complete redirection is necessary or specific pages are only to be redirected.
- Try to keep the same domain remains in the ‘Whois’ online phonebook and this is regularly indexed in the search engine. The *length of time a domain has been registered elements into a website’s ranking or simply put, the older a website’s presence higher the ranking.
- Create a sitemap and update as many external links as possible. The pages of the website will then be indexed by search engines this helps in a good ranking. Creating 301 redirections to new pages should be done wherever required. This way the search engines get to know the information has moved to a new page. The new pages will be indexed in place of old ones and their popularity will be transferred too.
- Google my business or Console and other social media need to be updated on the change. You can also update the domain name change in local directory aggregators. They submit your business information to hundreds of sites.
- It’s important to update your backlinks and external link if any. If 301 redirection is not used then external links should be manually updated. If a backlink is not updated then a 404 error will reflect which is not good for the website’s ranking.
- Before changing the domain name it’s important to implement proper tracking. Here you can use a software like Moz to track keywords ranking on Google so that old rankings can be benchmarked with the new ones. Although the ranking for the new one may take 2 to 3 weeks to pick up.
In conclusion we can say that changing your website’s domain is a big decision and should be done weighing the benefits but once you decide to do the change there should not be any reason to stop you from doing so without harming the site’s traffic and SEO.