You are bound to be concerned about changing the name of your website domain, because it can impact your SEO ranking significantly. Well, you are right. However, the impact is temporary!
If you make the move carefully, the impact can be minimized. SEO fluctuations on rankings and search traffic can be regained quickly.
The proper way to change your site’s domain name
Before starting – Things to remember
The effect on rankings after switching to another domain is a temporary phase. The search engines will soon get adjusted to the changes. It is a normal setback, which happens with every site that migrates to a new domain. Fortunately, the SEO impact can be decreased dramatically with the setting of the proper 301 WordPress redirect and informing the search bots.
- Create a duplicate package of your WP site and save copies in different folders on your computer.
- Export the database and save its copy in a different folder as backup.
- Upload files to the new domain via FTP.
- Import the backup database to the new domain.
- Unpack WP site under the new domain name and update connections in Wp-Config.
- Check the site on a new domain and see if everything works fine.
- Fix permalinks if necessary
- Fix broken images and set permanent 301 redirects using 3rd party plugins
- Check your website on the new domain again to measure its performance before going live.
SEO protocols to remember
Even though you have a functioning site on your new domain, there are some SEO steps to consider.
- Redirect old pages because you may still have a few visitors landing on your old domain because of bookmarks or old links. Therefore you need to use 301 permanent redirects on every web page of the old site to the corresponding page of the new domain. It ensures every visitor reaches your site on the new domain. You can even redirect the entire website, especially when all the webpages are the same in the new domain.
- Add the new domain to Google Analytics & Google webmaster tools.
- Update keyword tracking tools as they are crucial SEO metrics and start collecting data from the new domain.
- Fill the address change form in Webmaster tools, which helps to speed indexing process thus reducing damage to current rankings.
- A new site map has to be submitted to the Webmaster tool. This ensures that search engines consistently index your new domain.
Moving a website to another domain is time-consuming. Nonetheless, follow every step patiently and you can do it right even if you have no technical knowledge. Never make hasty decisions or your migration can get all messy. It is always a good practice to take backups before making the changes, so that you reset WordPress and then restore the backup files if needed.
Be patient, take your time, and slowly complete the migration to a new domain efficiently. If you are unsure, don’t just make guesses, but look for answers on the internet or approach professional SEO services.