It is a common mistake that some of the bloggers and webmasters make in beginning of their internet career, that is, choosing the wrong domain name(like I did). If you realize your mistake at an early stage, you do not lose anything, but if you have a well reputed website and you want to change the domain name, well all you can do is to minimize your loss.
What is the Best Way to Change Domain name?
As you are changing your domain name, it is a permanent change, which means we will use 301 redirect for redirecting users to the new domain.
What is 301 Redirect?
The simplest technical definition of 301 redirect is – permanently moved. 301 redirect is permanent redirect, which means your all the content will remain same except the URL, so your users will be automatically redirected to new domain. 301 redirect makes sure that you do not lose any web traffic and SEO juice.
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How Does 301 Redirect Work?
When a 301 redirection is used from and old page to a new page and the browser tries to access the old page, server gives it the new page. 301 redirect results in least loss of link juice. However according to Google, with 301 you can only retain maximum 85% of the SEO juice.
Important Things to Keep in Mind Before Changing the Domain
- Make sure you don’t ruin the user experience while/after changing the domain name
- You should be aware that you will lose some SEO juice, so be ready to face the consequences, but you can minimize it by doing it the right way.
How to do a 301 Redirect?
You can do 301 by simply editing .htaccess file in the root folder of your old domain. Just open the file and paste the following code:
Things to Keep in Mind After Doing 301 Redirect
Just after doing 301 redirect, to make sure your old links are redirecting to new links, search your website in Google and click on any link, it should redirect you to the new domain.
e.g. search “site:olddomain.com” on Google and click on some links randomly.
olddomain.com/xyz should redirect you to newdomain.com/xyz
After successfully redirecting old domain to new domain, make sure you tell Google that the site has been moved.
Go to Google webmaster tools, click on the gears icon in your dashboard and click change of address. Rest you can follow the wizard. Also make sure to add new domain to Google analytics as soon as possible.
What About the Backlinks?
As long as your backlink anchor texts are relevant, you will get the same amount of link juice as the old domain. But if possible, contact link partners and notify them about changes, you may use Google webmaster tools for this. But I recommend Open Site Explorer as it will tell you the PA of each page from which the backlink is coming from, so that you can prioritize which links to change first.
In first paragraph, I mentioned the word “mistake”, because it is not possible to recover 100% after changing domain name, you may follow all the suggestions in this article to minimize the loss. But, the better option is to stick with your domain name if possible.
If you have any suggestion related to the topic, feel free to comment.