Recently, we at Supernova Media have changed our branding AND our domain name. (insert yawning face from too many late nights)
Changing the domain name for your website and maintaining your search engine ranking takes some work. Our Supernova Studios page has a page rank of 3 (awesome considering the site is only 3 years old) and our new Supernova Media page has a rank of zero. OMG!
The following are some suggestions to help you keep your page rank when changing domains for your site. (Note – we haven’t implemented the 301 yet – as part of our strategy)
1. Establish a Webmaster Tools account for both domains, authenticating you as responsible for BOTH domains
2. If you can keep both domain names up and running, do it. The safest way is to park the old domain name to the new once you have have made the domain name change. Changing your domain name erases the search engine footprint you have spent years to grow.
* search engines will most likely continue to index your old domain
3. Keep your individual file names – You should keep every single file name intact as well – including extension.
4. Build a game plan for *301 redirects. Do not 301 the entire old domain to the home page of the new domain. But also, do not use a separate 301 for thousands of urls to thousands of other urls. Use a 301 for the most critical relocated urls (nice Google traffic and/or nice backlinks). The rest of “lower importance” the URLs can serve a custom “we have moved” message with a true 404 http status code.
*A 301 redirect, or also known as a permanent redirect, should be put in place to permanently redirect a page. The word ‘permanent’ is there to imply that ALL qualities of the redirected page will be passed on to the detour page.
• Page Authority
• Traffic Value
The detour page now embodies the redirected page as if it was the former. A complete takeover. The old page will be removed from Google’s index and the new one will replace it.
5. Work with your backlinks – Contact backlink owners and request a change
6. Establish new backlinks asap
7. Use the Change of Address tool in Google Webmaster Console
8. Be sure to list the new site with dMoz
9. Update your social sites and social bookmarking sites
If you’re changing your domain because of site rebranding or redesign, you might want to think about doing this in two phases: first, move your site; and second, launch your redesign.
**To prevent confusion, it’s best to make sure you retain control of your old site domain for at least 180 days
Be aware, however, that it most likely will take a good 2 or 3 months for the search engines to fully understand that all your files have moved.