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How to Move Complete Website to a New Domain without Losing Ranking

change website domain

Changing your site’s address or domain name has a serious effect on SEO & your original traffic so it is not encouraged to do. However, if it is the case of force majeure, you must change it and ranking of your website can be dropped down.

Each domain name contains the parameters which have been accumulated in a long time directly relating to SEO (SEO services and strategies) like Trust Level, Authority, Domain Age, GEO signals (geo-location) and beyond that a treasure of links back to your website.

In this article, I will list and explain the risks which you will face with when forwarding old site’s address to new one. I also give the best solutions step by step to minimize the loss of ranking from the old website to a new one.

Note: The following changes require you to have the good knowledge of website like designing, optimizing and structuring a website. You can’t do these following steps if you don’t understand what you are doing.

REGISTER a new domain name or BUY an old domain name

The first thing is that you need to have a new domain name. You notice that the extension of TLD domains (.com, .net, .org, .us …) is one of the important factors that affect the ranking. If you buy an old domain name, make sure that you check it carefully because it may contain the risks banned by SEs so before transferring to this domain name, check its history first with Whois tool. For example, you can know whether the pages on that domain name were indexed or not. Or you can use Archive.org to check the domain parameters.

Furthermore, the best way is that you add this domain name to Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Tools, and then you keep track of overall statistics. Finally, check if there is any risk warning from this domain name and if you find out it’s banned, you must do the report to send to SEs; and that is the first thing you need to do before transferring the website.

Add “Coming soon” page

Better built a simple event page with HTML code for your new website a few weeks ago because it allows the search engines to crawl and get indexed a new website more quickly.

Moreover, most of the search engines will try to detect the parked domains so you build the content for this new website as much and quality as possible.

Okay, push it aside and I will mention the location of the new website.

This helps the search engines know that this domain name exists separately without a parked domain name of old one.

I always use this technique to do and this is very useful to new websites in the process of completing the website. You should create a static HTML file, optimize and post it on your website, then try to get Google to index it as fast as possible which is very good for you later.

Transfer a small part of website first (optional)

If being careful, you should transfer segment by segment without transferring directly all from old website to new one.

For instance, you can transfer a subdomain first and check if it has been done successfully. You will do the same thing again next week. When everything is good, you can transfer the rest from old site to new one.

Do the similar steps if you want to merge many different websites into a new one. Of course, you will include the small traffic into very large one to the new website.

This is the optional step so you can do or skip it but you had better do this to get the best result.

Upload the sites to a new domain name

The next step is to upload the web pages, images, files from the old website to the new one, if you decide to change the structure and folders or URL on the new site, please record this change carefully for the next step “Map a set of old URL to new URL”.

Redirect from old web page to new one

After you upload the content to the new website, you must redirect it from the old website to new one (Read more the article “Basic SEO Tips for Beginner”).

Redirecting needs to be done on the same level. It means that each page of the old website to the new URL should be redirected to a new site. Accurately map each page to a new URL, and not just redirect all to Homepages of new sites.

You should change page URLs with 301 Redirect because with this method, you can transfer entirely “Gigantic Heritage” of an old website like Metrics (Authority, Trust, etc.), Characteristics and Statistics (PageRank, Link, Anchor text data, etc.).

Note: You have ever heard of 302 Redirect, right? So what are the differences between 301 and 302 Redirects?

The marked difference between these two methods is that:

  • If you want to transfer these parameters forever (CAN NOT UNDO), you need to use 301 Redirect.
  • If you temporarily redirect them within a certain period of time for any reason, please use 302 Redirect because all the parameters listed above will not be transferred to the new website when you use this method.

Use the change of address tool in Google Webmaster

The another thing you have to do is use the “Change of address” feature in Google Webmaster. After registering both old and new domain in Google webmaster tools, you need to point out that you will transfer the whole information from the old domain to the new one. Change of Address works at the site level which means this transition is for the entire site, not for a particular page.

Update the important backlinks

Although 301 Redirect helps you transfer all the information such as PageRank, anchor text, etc. but I recommend you spend a little time and your patience to update the important back link (The links from the high PR websites) from the old website to the new one. You do not need to contact the other webmasters to update all the links; you just focus on the most important links. You can see the links backing to the old website using the testing backlink tool or Google Webmaster Tools.

Keep patience and Waiting

Transferring from old domain to new one is an update of many factors. Be patient! You take the time to check everything before transferring your whole website. Remember that checking the expiration time of the old domain is quite important because if you extend it in a timely manner, you can keep all the existing traffic, PR, and even the backlinks.

Please pay attention to taking care of your 301 redirects, renew the Change of Address in Google webmaster tool after 180 days.

I make sure that if you do everything right as what I have just guided above, you will minimize the loss of “fortune” when transferring the domain and your SEO campaign is not affected too much.

Transferring from old site to new one is not recommendable to do so you only make this solution if you have no other choice.

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Mark Review
Mark Review