Changing the name of a company’s website domain is often a necessary task, driven by rebranding, merger/acquisition or other high-level changes to an organization. However, if the domain change is done improperly, it will undo the site’s SEO, wiping out years of marketing investment and ongoing organic search engine visibility needed to keep the pipeline of sales leads flowing.
Here is how to change domain names without giving up your SEO position:
9 Steps to an SEO-Friendly Domain Name Change
- Purchase new domain name.
- Point new domain at your server.
- Update your hosting account to answer for the new domain.
- Update your content management system (if you use one) to the new domain.
- Create a page-level 301 redirect list and implement for each page (extremely important: Make sure you map old URLs to corresponding new URLs so that SEO equity is transferred correctly).
- Create a new Google Search Console account for the new domain.
- Create a new XML sitemap and feed it into the new Google Search Console account.
- Review/update internal links:
- Outreach to websites that have a link to your website so they can update the URL to the new domain — this is necessary so the full SEO value of the link will pass to your new domain.
Domain changes are never easy, never fun. But if you follow these nine steps, when the dust settles on your new domain name, your SEO position still will be in place. Make sure your SEO team is hooked into the domain change project from the beginning, so each step gets done at the proper time along the way.