Move Complete Website to a New Domain without Losing Traffic and Ranking
Moving your complete website to new domain name is very painful and difficult decision because you are actually going to change your brand name. Its easy to change hosting server. There is no fear to lose ranking, visitors and trust of your users on your brand when you change your servers but if you are going to change your domain name all these things may be affected with this act.
But sometimes you have no choice and it is necessary to shift your same site to a new domain name. May be you have following reasons:
- Want to change domain name because current name is too long and difficult to remember
- Currently using free sub-domain and want to use top level domain name
- Change brand name due to some Marketing strategy
- OR may be some other reasons
I was experienced the same thing so I decided to share it with you which help you to shift your complete website to new domain without losing a single visitor, Google PR and SERP’s. Just follow all below steps.
Register Your New Domain and also Keep Your Old Domain
Before start shifting you must make plan. First of all buy domain name on which you want to move your website. If you are going to buy aged domain must take care because sometimes old domains are banned by search engines. These domains are blacklisted or affected by penalty algorithms like panda or penguin.
Upload Website data and all its files to new Server
After register your new domain, upload all files of your website in your new server. Keep in mind that you don’t delete website from your old server. Just copy all files and folders to new server. So that you have two same sites with different domains.
Redirect 301 your Old domain to New Domain
Now open .htaccess file in your old domain server. If its is not exist create it and paste the following code in it.
RewriteEngine on RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://newdomain.com/$1 [R=301,L]
This code redirect all your old domain pages to new domain pages. Replace newdomain.com with your actual new domain name before save it.
We use 301 redirect that means your are going to shifted permanently to new domain so it will all redirect all the rankings and backlinks juice to new website and you don’t lose your Google Page Rank or Alexa Rank even Google Search Rankings are also stabled. But it takes some time and you need some patience.
Inform Google about your Shifting to New Domain
Login to your Google Webmaster tool where you verified your old website. Now verified your new domain here and Go to Settings > Change of Address and select your site from drop down menu and submit it. Now Google webmaster knows about your shifting and it will soon replace all your old URLs with new ones.
Create and Submit Site Map to Index all your pages in Search Engines
Now generate site map using any online tool like xml-sitemaps.com and submit it to webmaster tools of Google and Bing so that they index all new pages of your website also resubmit all old sitemaps which tells all search engines about your redirection.
Be Patience, This process takes some time
As you know search engines takes some time to update index, so be patience and do relax because you done your job other will done automatically.
Update Your Backlinks where possible
During search engine process, you must try to update all possible backlinks created before for old domain. Where not possible to update , their link juice is send to your new site. When new PR update will come your site also updated with the same PR which your old site has or it may be increased if you create some new quality backlinks. Alexa rank will also comes to normal approximately after 3 months.
Test Your Websites for broken links
Test you both sites (new and old) by checking all links. Make sure there are no broken links available. Also test all redirected URLs working fine. If you find any broken link or 404 not found page, correct it immediately because when crawlers come and find any broken link it directly effect your ranking in search results. So deeply testing of your all links is necessary because during movement there are many chances to break some links.
Keep your Old Domain and Hosting for at least Next 6 Months
After complete shifting process from your old domain name to new domain, don’t lose your old domain. Google says Keep your old domain at least next 6 months because search engines needs time to index all links and replace them with your new links but I recommend you to keep active your old domain at least next 2 ,3 years or forever if you can afford it. Sometime your old clients don’t know about your new domain and they directly search your old domain name, if they don’t find you there, may be they never find you at your new brand. So keep your old domain for long time as possible.
Need My Help?
I mentioned all steps necessary to take when shifting from one domain to new domain but if you need my help kindly ask me below in comments. I am already do this for my own website and also do many times for my clients. You may face any issue or may be you have a different scenario. So don’t feel helpless, Just post your question below I will surely help you or give you some advice on how you move your site safely. I hope you learn something new today. Stay Tuned. Cheers!