Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 100.24.209.47

Forum Moderators: mack

Changing domains - Best practices?

     
11:27 am on Jun 20, 2019 (gmt 0)

New User

joined:Apr 28, 2017
posts:20
votes: 2


The company I work for is rebranding. Our local rankings are great and I am afraid that will all go away with the name change. I am hoping someone will be kind enough to recommend the best way to implement the transmission from one domain to the next while minimizing the negative effects.

The site is not big and the pages rank well for the targeted phrases.
11:51 am on June 20, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 13, 2016
posts:1194
votes: 283


My comment are based on personal experience from ... 6 years ago, and about Google. So it's possible things are different today.

- In the Googl Search Console, you have an option to tell Google that the "address" of your site has changed,

- on your side, set up 301 redirects from your old site to the new one. Redirect each page to the its equivalent on the new page if possible, do not redirect all requests to the root of the new site,

- leave these 301 redirects forever, (never drop your previous domain name)

- monitor that redirects are working as they should,

- and of-course update as much as possible links pointing to your site, to use the new address,

- review the HTML code of your new site, to be sure it has the proper URLs. If you reuse existing HTML code, they might include the "old" site domain name in the URLs if they are not relative,

This "should" be rather smooth move, but, still from my "old" experience, there might be a couple of weeks during which traffic will be shuffled, certainly the time that Google recomputes things and propagate the changes.
3:36 am on June 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

New User from US 

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 21, 2019
posts: 29
votes: 2


As a general rule never make more that 1 change at a time to a web site. Let me explain.

You are changing the domain name. So only change that, do not change the URL structure. If you change the domain name and the URL structure at the same time and your rankings take a dive, you have to figure out which change caused the drop.

This is what you need to do....

1. Make a backup of your old site.
2. Restore the backup to the new domain.
3. On the old site put this redirect in place. I am assuming this is a linux server... this also sends the visitor to the https version of the new site.

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^domain.com$ [OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www.domain.com$
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://newdomain.com$1 [R=301,L]


Now this preserve your rankings and also preserves any backlinks, and takes very little time to accomplish.

Now wait for a week just to make sure you have no issues, normally you won't. This gives you time to switch over you Google Analytics and GSC to the new properties and start recording your statistics.

Now if you want to change the theme or content or URLs then you can do so and if you rankings drop you will know what caused it.
7:11 am on June 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 13, 2016
posts:1194
votes: 283


I am assuming this is a linux server...

... in fact, you are assuming that the OP uses Apache... (which also exists on Windows).
7:38 am on June 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

New User from US 

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 21, 2019
posts: 29
votes: 2


The steps are the same, even on IIS or on Nginx. I just provided a working example for linux,
If it is a IIS server, you would modify the web.config file.
If it is a Nginx you would modify the server blocks in the server configuration file
Each is just slightly different.

Can't do all the work for the OP.
8:22 am on June 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 13, 2016
posts:1194
votes: 283


I just provided a working example for linux,

If you say so...
10:41 am on June 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

New User

joined:Apr 28, 2017
posts:20
votes: 2


Thanks for the comments. We are using Apache and Wordpress. The site is overdue for a refresh and I've been waiting for the switch before messing with anything. Thank you both for your comments.
11:19 am on June 21, 2019 (gmt 0)

New User

joined:Apr 28, 2017
posts:20
votes: 2


I am going to drop this here instead of creating a new thread....

We are in the process of purchasing a local, smaller competitor. They will be rolled onto our company and there business dissolved. We have a plan for retaining their client base but am wondering how we should handle their website and social accounts.