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Guide for moving a resource to a new domain

Guide for moving a resource to a new domain

If you decided to move a website to a new domain then you should know that it may cause the loss of search engine results rankings as well as the number of indexed pages. It happens because main search engines determine website rankings with a help of metrics on domain and page levels. During the transfer, the metrics are being reset to zero. In order to minimize such loss of ranking, it’s necessary to the methods which will help to:

  • keep previous PR;
  • prevent 404 errors occurrence.

Keeping PR of an old address for Google

In order to transfer a website to a new domain with minimal risks, search engines recommend making sure that a new name is identified as a main mirror of an old one. Such changes can be made with a help of Google Search Console which allows notifying about changing the address. At the same time, it’s necessary to redirect a website to the new domain and 301 redirect should be configured properly.

Read more: Redesigning a website without losing its positions. Professional guide

Preventing 404 errors

In order to prevent 404 errors one should make sure to configure redirect for all web-pages of an old address. In this case, search engines don’t recommend redirecting all the pages to the main page. Such configuration is not only inconvenient to users but also makes further resource SEO promotion less effective due to decreasing the indexation speed of a new resource.

When you forward a website to another domain it’s recommended to make certain changes in .htaccess file. At the same time, for connecting an old address with the new one it’s necessary to set the corresponding exclusion for the robots.txt file.

preventing 404 errors

Tips on how to move a website to the new domain

It’s crucial to know how to move a website to the new domain without losing its search engine rankings. In order to make the transition properly it’s necessary to:

  1. Make the transfer in several stages. At first you should transfer several pages and check whether the changes occurred in: Traffic; Indexation. In case if no problems were identified you can move the rest pages. It’s better to choose pages the content of which was rarely changed first. The bigger number of pages that need to be moved the more the possibility of errors occurrence. Therefore, the transfer should be thoroughly planned.
  2. Carry out a resource move “off season”. If your website’s theme is seasonal then the transfer should be made when the demand for your products or services is low.
  3. Make the A/B-testing or the launch in test mode. Also, it wouldn’t hurt to order a comprehensive resource audit after the transfer. Many web-studios offer such services.
  4. Change old URLs for new ones on a website sitemap.
  5. Make sure that the texts and links which were earlier created didn’t disappear after the transfer to the new domain.
  6. Add new website address using Google Webmaster Tools. At the same it’s necessary to configure an old account and point a transition of a website to the new domain.

move a website to a new domain

A comprehensive audit allows to:

  • make sure to have proper redirect configuration;
  • identify technical errors;
  • check that robots.txt file has a new domain address as a Host and Sitemap;
  • make sure that after transition of a resource all pages have Google Analytics as well as other web-analytics systems’ tracking code;
  • check that a site code doesn’t have any links for old pages addresses left;
  • make sure that a sitemap file contains all the pages with a new domain. Upload a sitemap in Google Webmaster and check whether the configuration is correct;
  • identify other problems which often occur after “the move”.

Read more: Which factors influence on search engine rankings in 2017?

Moving a website to a new domain should be made in stages. At the same time, it’s crucial to comply with the search engines recommendations. In this case, on-site and off-site optimization of the resource won’t be damaged and the possibility of decreasing search traffic will be minimized. With proper approach, the weight of the pages from an old address transfer to the new one and off-site optimization continues successfully attracting potential clients. Thorough resource audit will help to identify all the possible problems and errors.

Date of publication: 05.09.2017