Ways to maintain the traffic when changing domain
A domain is a name given to a website. It’s a unique identifier for an online property, and it’s used in URLs as well as on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Losing traffic is the major risk when changing domain and it is the main concern for many website owners who find themselves stuck in hosting their website on a domain that no longer reflects the kind of business they're running.
You might be one of them and have worried, as you worked to build up a good domain authority with your existing site by implementing good SEO strategies such as best practices that made you rank highly in search results. You do not want to lose traffic just because you change your domain
Or maybe you just want to rebrand or simply find a better and more available one.
Whatever the case may be, changing the domain can be so daunting as it poses a lot of SEO risks and challenges.
It can be quite a headache if you don’t know how to handle it properly and strategically. It’s important to understand that changing the domain is not a one-time process, but rather a continuous one. If you don't follow the right steps, it can also mean losing your SEO and traffic. - It is just a matter of doing it right
However, there are the right ways to handle domain changes and strategies that you can use to keep your SEO strong and the traffic coming.
Here are some of the things you should know before changing your domain:
Make sure the new domain is valid
It's important to know the domain of your website and how it relates to your current one. The more you know about the domain, the easier it will be for you to make changes when necessary.
If you make this move, it is important to fully understand the history of your new domain. If you have purchased a completely new domain, then there is no history; but if you are purchasing a domain from a third party, understanding its past will be vital.
- Check the domain is available.
- Check the domain is not blacklisted.
- Check the domain is not a parked domain (a site that has been created for the sole purpose of redirecting visitors to another website).
Check the social media accounts
Ensure that it is not being used for spam or scam purposes and or if it is active or inactive. It may be likely been abandoned, ask for access from the previous owner and see if there’s a need to clean up the social media.
Check the backlinks
Check the backlinks associated with your newly bought domain to see if they are low-quality or spammy. You can use aHrefs backlink checker. If the domain was previously used for a scam, then there will be a lot of backlinks pointing to it and you’ll need to remove them manually.
Do not lose the links you currently have, make sure that you move all the backlinks from your old domain to the new one. This is important because if you lose any link it can affect your SEO rankings and traffic in general. Know how many backlinks your website has, how strong they are, and where they come from. This will help you determine which links are worth keeping and which ones need to be removed.
Your most valued backlinks
The ones that are from high authority websites with a lot of traffic. You should keep these links and ensure they point to your new website. To do this you will need to contact the webmasters and ask them to update the links. This is not a quick process but can be done if you have enough time. In some cases, they may not be willing to do it so you might have to use 301 redirects instead.
Set 301 redirects
You need to create a new redirect for each old link and point it to your new website. If you have a lot of backlinks and time is not on your side then you should use this method. It’s not as good as keeping the original links but it will still help with SEO. This is the most effective way to keep your SEO rankings and it will also help with your website’s traffic. It can be a lot of work to set up 301 redirects but it’s worth the effort.
Redirects are a savior from losing traffic.
Set up Google Analytics and google search console
The Google search console (GSC) is a great way to stay in touch with Google and let them know about any changes you make to the home of your business on the web. Verifying your new website with Google Search Console (formerly known as Webmaster Tools) gives you the dual role of webmaster and marketing director. It helps you keep an eye on your site’s performance, as well as its place in search results. You can use this information to make strategic decisions when changing domains.
Google Analytics is also can help you when changing a domain because it will let you know the source of traffic. You can see which search engine is driving traffic and adjust accordingly. Google Analytics also helps you spot any issues with your site, including broken links or errors that might be causing a drop in performance.
Communicate to your customer
When you change domains, it's important to make sure your customers know where they can find you. Here are some ways to do that:
- Send an email or social media post letting them know about the change.
- Update the "Contact Us" page on your site with information about how they should update their links and bookmarks in order to stay in touch with you.
- Post reminders in relevant places (such as forums) where people might be discussing similar topics related to yours.
Monitor the result
After making a significant SEO change like moving your website to a new domain name, you want to keep an eye on the results for any unexpected changes that might occur.
We do this by monitoring our rankings, traffic, and social media activity for a few weeks after making the change. If you notice any significant drops in rankings or traffic within that time frame, it's wise to investigate what happened and make adjustments until things return to a normal level.
- Check your analytics. If you've built an audience on the old domain, you want to know how many people are still coming back for more. If the traffic is lower than it was before the switch, then it's possible that all of your work promoting content on social media and other channels wasn't enough to keep things going in the right direction- and now it's time for some new strategies.
- Check your search console and Google Search results pages for any sudden changes in rankings or visibility (like getting pushed down from being number one). This could indicate that something has gone wrong with either site migration or indexing of content on its new URL (the process by which Google finds pages within a website.
Manage your sitemap
A sitemap is a file that lists all the pages on your website, and it's crucial to keep this up-to-date. There are a few things you can do to make sure your sitemap stays current:
- Put your sitemap on your new domain. You want Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools (Bing) or any search engines that you've moved and point them at the correct location of your new site. You can do this by creating an XML Sitemap for each domain, or by uploading one master file with both domains listed in it (the latter method takes less time).
- Optimize all URLs in each subdirectory of //www//olddomain/sitemap_location/. This includes removing any trailing slashes from URLs as well as making sure there aren't any other unnecessary directories between the root directory //www//olddomain/sitemap_location/index_files/.
Changing the domain names doesn't mean losing SEO.
Changing your domain name is a big deal, but it doesn't have to be the end of your traffic. In fact, if you do it right, you can actually see an increase in traffic and engagement with your brand. As long as your site is still relevant and updated, you will be able to maintain your search engine rankings. Make sure you update any directories and subdomains that are no longer active with a 301 redirect to their new locations. If possible, also use this opportunity to clean up any outdated content on your site so it doesn't negatively impact your SEO or user experience.
If you don't have the time or resources to handle the migration on your own, a professional SEO company can help. They will be able to guide you through every step of this process and make sure that everything is done correctly so that your rankings aren't negatively impacted by your domain change.
You can approach us if you have some questions and need some SEO services we also offer SEO coaching 101. Schedule a call and learn more about how you can improve your page rankings.
We hope that this article has helped you understand the importance of domain name change and how to maintain your website traffic. If you want to learn more about SEO and Google Analytics, check out our other articles!