seo

The hidden dangers of moving domains

Jim Stewart /

I want to talk with you about all the sorts of problems you could have when moving your domain names. Whether you’re planning to move to the proposed new .au, like we’ve previously discussed, or switching up your domain to any other extension, you’ll basically lose all of your Google search traffic if you just go ahead and switch to a new domain. Google would see your site as broken, and will move it down the rankings.

This happened to a bunch of sites a couple of years ago. It turns out they rebranded and pushed the new site live without doing any redirects, so Google saw their site as broken. They had absolutely no Google search traffic for two weeks. If you’re a retailer, what would that cost your business?

When moving domains, it seems the stronger the brand, the easier the transition when it comes to Google’s reactions to the change. If you’re a smaller company or you’re just building your brand, you might find this transition to be a very big challenge.

The way to avoid problems when switching your domain is to map all of your URLs and redirect them to the new URLs on the new domain. You’ll also need to make sure you’re getting all the different sub-domains right, such as m-dot domains for mobile sites. Look for things like all the ‘www’ pages. You’ll need to make sure they’re all consistent in the new domain as well. Also, set up the relevant domains and do a change of address in Google Search Console.

Any site can take a hit when this happens. We moved domains for one brand and it lost about half of its traffic for eight weeks. It took a while for everything to get indexed, but it’s back to normal now. These changes will correct themselves, but it takes time.

This article originally published on stewartmedia.com.au

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Jim Stewart

Jim Stewart is a leading expert in search engine optimisation. His business StewArt Media has worked with clients including Mars, M2 and the City of Melbourne.

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