Changing Domain Names

There are plenty of good reasons for changing your domain name. Maybe the name of your business has changed. Maybe you chose a keyword-focused domain back in the days when that had some SEO value, and your domain is Yoga4Less.com but your company is Serenity Yoga — leading to confusion among customers and a negative perception of your business. Maybe you just made a bad choice in the first place, as these unfortunate businesses did.

There will be consequences.

If you’re changing for a good reason, the ultimate results will be worth it, but you should expect to spend several months recovering from the change.

Here’s how you can speed it up:

  • Make sure you do your redirects. 301 redirects will send people who try to go to your old domain to the new one. Usually, they won’t even notice that they’re being redirected. What’s more, 301 redirects tell the search engines that you have moved, that the new address is still you, and that your new domain should get the same treatment as your old one.
  • Update all your links with the new domain name and web address. Use a site explorer to find the links. Change what you can directly and send emails to the webmasters of the ones you can’t change directly.
  • Submit a new site map to Google and Bing using webmaster tools.  SEO is all about communicating with the search engines, and this is a basic. I’ve heard people say that you should submit site maps on a regular basis, and that’s not true — in fact, Google won’t let you submit unlimited site maps. However, changing your domain is an excellent time to submit one.

Then be patient. Some experts claim that it takes six months to recover. When our company changed its name and domain, we took a hit in PageRank but saw steady growth and got back  on track within a couple of months. One of our clients has had a new site up with a new domain for just three months and has doubled their traffic year over year, so we’d say it depends on where you were before and what you do once you move.

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