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We have a well-known niche (trading) site running as a .co.uk. Many of the pages rank highly for all sorts of keywords and have done for the last few years.
We've got about 30% non UK visitors, but they are not very active. We are thinking of changing to the .com domain (which we have) to make it feel more international and hopefully get more business.
Puzzling over how to move to the .com without messing up the page rankings? Do we just do a divert on all the pages that rank highly?
1. While changing to .com may make your business seem more global, it will also undermine the fact that you're a UK business. While your overseas sales may increase, your UK sales may also decrease as a result.
2. If overseas visitors are actually making it to your site, then they've overcome the hurdle of your domain name. Surely a better approach would be to state more clearly on the site that you ship overseas and that your shipping fees are competitive.
It's probable that you're just getting less activity from overseas traffic just because of your physical location. If so, neither a domain change or an on-page copy change is going to have much of an impact.
Also consider that if you are not hosted in the UK, switching from a .co.uk to a .com will drop you out of Google's regional SERPs.
If after all of that you still want to go ahead then set up the .com as your main domain, and set up requests to .co.uk pages to do a 301 permanent redirect to their .com equivalents.
Which makes me think we would be better just giving visitors the choice when they arrive of 'if you want our international .com site please go to.....'
Then presumably as long as we don't duplicate pages, should be in the clear.
most Search engines would be okay with that
If you are suggesting having two domains, both pointing to the same content, both returning 200 OKs for page requests, then most search engines will *not* be okay with that. Google in particular will make your life a misery.