How To Save Your Website Traffic
Its important to change your domain name without losing rankings and organic search traffic. Backlinks to your website are important for SEO, and there are steps to take to help you keep your audience.
Create a sitemap and set up 301 redirects
Sitemaps show the internal structure of a website. They are used to direct search engines on how to navigate the pages on your site. Once you have sitemaps for both your old and new pages, you can compare and organize, so that each old page points to the correct new page, by using 301 redirects. This permanent redirect will send your site visitors to a different URL than the one they entered into the search bar.
This is important for SEO ranking, getting your , and visitor satisfaction. You can find out more on this topic by reading our Knowledgebase article, How to redirect a URL for a domain.
Use the Change of Address Tool
Connect your old and new site names with the Change of Address Tool. It tells Google about your website change, and helps the Google Search results page to understand what you have done.
Check for 404 pages
You may have come across a Page Not Found page. This is an error page where the correct URL path is missing, and therefore you will not be shown the page you intended to visit. Check all old URLs, and if you do have 404 pages, make sure they are redirected to the new 404 page.
How To Buy Change And Manage G Suite Domains
For most people, getting started with G Suite means using Gmail, Google Docs, and other free tools. You may be familiar with these.
But when youre trying to enhance your small business profile or side hustle, you may want moreincluding the ability to set up a G Suite domain thats associated with your G Suite account. This gives your customer-facing communications a professional look at an impressively low price.
Were going to help you set up your domain in G Suite so that it fully represents you. And dont worry: If you previously set up a domain name, but you dont like it, we can show you how to change it.
How To Change The Domain Name Of Your Google Analytics Property
Are you changing the domain name of your website? In this article, well show you how the change the domain name of your Google Analytics Property, so you dont lose your historical Google Analytics data.
If you have a Google Analytics 4 property, well show you how to create a new data stream.
Lets get started!
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Respond To An Error Message
If you see one of the following error messages, here are suggestions for troubleshooting:
- Invalid DNS: You need to add a CNAME entry.. If you have already updated your DNS, wait 24-48 hours and try again.
- The URL check failed. Please change the URL and try again: Type your custom URL again, and click Assign.
- This isnt a valid URL: Make sure you typed the full web address with no typos. Your URL must include a subdomain, like “www”.
- This URL is already in use by another Google service: This site is already being used by another service like Blogger, classic Sites, or AppEngine. Delete the existing mapping before assigning your URL to a site on Google Sites.
- This URL is already in use by this site: Your custom URL is already linked to this Google Site.
- This URL is missing its certificate: Delete your custom URL and try to assign it again. Learn how to remove the URL.
- This URL is not verified. Please verify your ownership: Learn how to verify your site.
- Youve reached the maximum number of URLs for this domain: There is a limit of 20 mappings made per week for your URL.
It Really Depends On What You Are Trying To Accomplish With The Change
We had a client last year that had a VERY generic domain name . It had a lot of history and authority behind it, but it was very generic. There was also a competitor in the search engines that had almost the exact domain name . When they asked me if they should change their domain to their company name, I told them two things:
In this particular case, the decision to change the domain name was a good one. Long term, it was a good idea. Why? Because being generic on the web these days is just not good practice. Especially with the direction that Google is taking.
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What To Do After Buying A Domain Name
1. Purchase Web Hosting First things first youve just purchased a domain, and now you need to give it someplace to live. When it comes to web hosting you have two options, look for a stand-alone web hosting service or use a domain registry and web hosting combo service. Odds are you purchased your domain name from a website that also offers web hosting plans. By purchasing both from the same place, you shouldnt have to worry about connecting your domain and hosting service theyll sync with each other automatically. You will also be making all payments to the same company which can make writing those services off at the end of the year a bit easier.
2. Create a Domain-Specific Email Address When you move into a new home, you get a new address. Getting a domain-specific email address is kind of like getting a new postal address. People need to know where you are and where they can reach you. Creating a custom email address that matches your domain gives you a professional polish that gmail or hotmail just cant muster. Most web hosting and domain registry services offer domain-specific email addresses as part of their plans. Many plans will even come with one free email and the option to add more as needed.
Let Google Know Youve Changed Domains
Once youve migrated your website to its new domain and set your 301 redirects, its time to let Google know. Head over to to start the process of having your website with the new domain crawled. Inside the search console settings, youll also be able to inform Google of your new domain name. To do this, navigate to your old domain and find the change of address function. Submit your request for a new domain and Google will begin the process of indexing your new domain.
If you have a large website with many pages, Google also recommends submitting an XML sitemap. This can be done within the Search Console by clicking on Sitemaps on the left menu area. If youre using WordPress, plugins like Yoast can quickly create this sitemap for you.
In that case, you can get away with simply submitting your homepage for indexing.
Aside from updating Google, inform any websites currently linking to you about your recent move to change domain names. This is where that SEO audit will come in handy. Reach out to any websites providing inbound links and ask them to update the URL theyre linking to.
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Is There A Limit To The Amount Of 301 Redirects Google Will Follow In A Chain
YES. Over my nearly 20 years of experience in this field, Ive often heard the limit to be about 5 or 6 although Matt Cutts said it was risky even up at the 4, 5 and 6 hops in the chain.
Google confirmed that it will follow up to 5 redirects. See the official confirmation in the video below .
QUOTE: We follow up to five redirect steps in a redirect chain if its a server-side redirect. John Mueller, Google
I would NOT rely on that MANY redirect in a chain, though, so try to ensure you have as FEW redirects in any chain of redirects at all times to avoid Google changing how it works in this area e.g. how many redirects Google will honour in the future.
And it does change, often enough in plenty of areas to cause you future challenges.
Migrating Backlinks To The New Domain
After creating a copy of your existing backlinks, you have to inform Linkody about your new domain.
Linkody will not look for new links to your old domain but this functionality helps to check when manually added or imported links have been added to the new domain.
So, its quite useful
STEP 1: Add the new domainClick on ADD NEW DOMAIN and add your new website.
STEP 2: Go to Settings and add your old domain.Hover over the tab that includes your new website and on the far right side you will see the Settings button. Click on it and select Configure.
On the box under Old Domain, add the URL of your old website.
Save the changes and you are all set. Linkody will use this information to manually cross-check added or imported links.
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Emails: Change Your Business Email Addresses To Reflect Your New Domain Name
The steps to changing your email domain address are different depending on what email system you use. Make sure you check with your service provider first. These steps are rather general in nature, but still a really important part in your domain name transition.
- Re-create all inboxes: You will need to create a new email inbox for all email addresses you want to be associated with your business domain. Eg: if you had , you will need to create an inbox .
- Re-direct old emails: Once you have created all the new inboxes you will need to re-direct your old email inbox. This is so people who forget you have a new domain name can still reach you when they email the wrong address. You may also want to migrate your old inbox content so you dont lose any of your previous emails.
- Update email signature: If you have an email signature, make sure you update it with the relevant new links. Check for any email addresses, website, social media handles etc.
- Update email address listings: Make sure you update your email address in any public business listings you may have and on your website itself.
Actions In Google Webmaster Tools
You need to make a couple of actions in Google Webmaster Tools when your new .uk web address goes live. Do these three actions in the following order: 1. Add the site via the Add a site button in the top right corner, when you login to Google Webmaster Tools. 2. Tell Google that your site has moved. On the Webmaster Tools Home page, click the site you want. Click the gear icon, and then click Change of Address. After completing steps 1-3, click Select a verified site to select the new site. 3. Generate a XML sitemap and add it in Google Webmaster Tools in the left menu Crawl Sitemaps. While no conclusions should be made before at least one month after the new URLs launch, monitoring rankings and indexation of your newly launched .UK URL should be carried out on a weekly basis.
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Test By Moving Part Of Content
If you are in charge of a dynamic website, handling its content during a change can be an overwhelming experience. In these situations, in order to pass on the most value to the website URL which is new, you will need to use a 301 Redirect for each page of content you move. Instead of moving all content at once, you should choose a part of the website to see if it will appear in the SERPs. Use 301 redirects from the old pages to the new in order to avoid duplicate content. Moving part of your content first will ensure you that everything works before step 7. Make sure to monitor for 404 errors during two weeks, before you move the rest of the content.
Does Google Treat 302s The Same As 301s
QUOTE: I think theres a big misconception with 302 redirects being bad for your website and your PageRank and thats definitely not the case. When we see a 302, well assume its a temporary redirect at first. However, if we feel its more of a permanent redirect, then we do treat it as a 301. Both of these redirects do pass PageRank. John Mueller, Google, 2015
Essentially YES. A 302 Temporary Redirect is not ideal, but Google has said it treats 302 redirects left in place essentially like 301s. John Meuler said in a Hangout that Google also treats 302s in a chain like 301s .
Still it is better to be as exact as possible with Google to ensure you get the results you need. When permanently redirecting use a 301 redirect.
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Select A Domain From Your Google Domains Account
Check Outside The Website For Outdated Info
Apart from checking the social networking sites and blogging platforms that you are active on, make sure your social book markings and directory submissions are all up to date and are in sync with the information you have on your new website. As an example this is from Expedias Google plus page: This is also a great way to find brand mentions on the web, which are not yet linking to your website. When doing a search for expedia.co.uk -site:expedia.co.uk in Google you can find a brand mention with no link like this one
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Some Redirects May Be Treated As Soft 404 Error Pages
Can it be surmised that Google might label certain 301 redirects as SOFT 404 and so devalue all signals associated with them?
Will this be the same for e-commerce sites?
What Are Soft 404 Pages?
QUOTE: A soft 404 means that a URL on your site returns a page telling the user that the page does not exist and also a 200-level code to the browser. Google, 2018
From my experience, not all soft 404 are created with enough volume to be a problem on most sites, but some auto-generated pages on some sites can produce soft 404 at a content level that with enough number that can cause indexation challenges.
QUOTE: Returning a code other than 404 or 410 for a non-existent page can be problematic. Firstly, it tells search engines that theres a real page at that URL. As a result, that URL may be crawled and its content indexed. Because of the time Googlebot spends on non-existent pages, your unique URLs may not be discovered as quickly or visited as frequently and your sites crawl coverage may be impacted (also, you probably dont want your site to rank well for the search query GOOGLE, 2020
However, Google will also treat certain mismatched or incorrect redirects as soft-404 type pages, too.
And this is a REAL problem and a marked change from the way Google worked say ten years ago.
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