There might come a time when you realize your website needs rebranding or a better domain URL. Though it seems easy, changing a domain name is a big decision. In fact, it is something that you can’t take lightly.

If you’re planning to change your domain name we insist you go through this guide, especially if you don’t want to lose SEO and hard work you have done for your site.

So without making any further delay, let’s start this journey.

Make a Complete Audit

Before taking this big decision (domain changing), it is crucial that you go for the audit of all your statistics. You should learn everything associated with your domain name.

This audit will help you see the progress after the switching.

You can begin auditing with inbound links coming to your site. Because they play important role in SEO ranking. Since you may lose some good links when changing the domain name, you should create a list of them.

The easiest way to audit inbound links is, simply access your Google Webmaster Tool, click on ‘Search Traffic’ menu available on the left side. Next, click ‘Links to Your Site’. Now you can see all the links coming to your website. Export this list for your own record.

Another good way to audit links is to use Open Site Explorer tool and review your link profile. It will give you some additional insight into the links coming to your domain. You may use both Open Site Explorer and Google Webmaster Tools to compare the results of both tools.

Set up 301 Redirect

If you want your users to access the correct page, you should set up 301 Redirect. In addition to this, it informs search engines that the page has permanently been moved. This redirect helps search engines like Google, Yahoo to transfer the link credit to your new page.

In order to transfer everything on your new domain name, you may choose to create ‘Wild card’ in your ‘.htaccess file’. It will automatically add 301 redirects to all of your old domain URLs and push them to the new domain name with the same URLs. This way you will get all your URLs back without losing the SEO.

Make sure everything is being redirected properly. After all, it is important from both traffic and search engine point of view. To ensure everything is happening properly, you may use 301 Checker tool.

Use the Same URL Structure

It is important that you keep the exact URL structure when switching your domain. However, if you want to make changes to the URL structure, it is advisable to wait at least 3 to 4 months after the domain transfer. It is good to make changes once everything is settled.

Inform Search Engines that You’re Moving

Again, you will need to take help of Webmaster Tool. Click on the little gear icon and you will see a link to ‘Change of Address’. Write down your new domain name address here so that Google can update your domain in its system. It will keep your listings up to date.

Register Your Domain with Reputable Provider

You can’t change your domain name again and again. Therefore, you should invest in a reputable domain name provider. Choose your domain name carefully keeping all your current and future requirements in the mind. If you are not getting the right ideas for your new domain name look for some good domain name generators. Using this tool, you can check the availability for your potential domain name and can also get new domain name ideas.

Things to Do After Domain Name Change

Check Everything

The reason why we are focusing on checking everything double and triple is that if something is not linked properly you may lose your ranking. Go through all your keywords that were being used by users to access your site.

Take a Look at 404 Errors

Your users may encounter this error if a page they are accessing is not redirected properly. There are many tools available in the market that can help you monitor and update 404 errors on your website.

You should check for these errors at least for the first week. Sometimes it may take more than a week to pop up 404 errors.

Plan For Big Marketing

Even if you are taking each and every step to retain your SEO efforts you made earlier there is a good chance that your search ranking will slip. For that reason, you should plan for a big marketing strategy soon after the launch of your new domain name. It will help you get back to the ranking status you were.

Your marketing strategies may include:

Content Push-

It is the very first thing that you can do to bring back the same amount of traffic on your site. Add fresh content on your site, on your blog as well. It will drive some immediate traffic to your site.

Link Building-

Once you have launched your new domain, you should immediately start making big link-building strategies to boost your SEO. You can try guest-blogging to get the quality backlinks.   

The Infographic campaign can be another good way to build some quality links immediately. Create a beautiful infographic and take marketing help to get it shared.

Pay Per Click-

As we said your organic traffic may slip a bit, you may take help of paid traffic campaign. Target the keywords that were driving traffic earlier.

Final Words

These are the few steps that can help you change your domain name without losing SEO. If your pocket allows, we would suggest you create an event around the new launch to bring back the same popularity.

To attract the audience, you can provide a special offer on your products and services for people signing up on your website.

In the end, we would say changing a domain name is a big decision. So, take your time to complete everything listed above.