How to change your Domain Name without harming SEO

Posted May 13, 2021 in
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Hi, we are planning to change our domain name: takeoffpr.com. We started as a PR Agency, but since 7 years we are a pure Inbound Agency. 

We think of takeoffinbound.com. A bit long but nothing else is available.

What has been the experience of Impact to switch from impactbnd to impactplus. On ahrefs I see quite  drop in traffic, but ahrefs is not always right ;)

What would you do?

Martin


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Connor DeLaney
Franco Valentino   Christine Austin   Vin Gaeta  would love to hear your thoughts on this and what went into the transition from impactbnd.com to impactplus.com! 
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Franco Valentino
Hey  Martin Bredl  Happy Friday!  Vin is absolutely correct - there's a sandbox period where the algorithm looks for trust signals between the migrated domains and will eventually equalize the traffic to the previous levels and beyond.  When Vin mentioned "notify Google of the change", there's a function in Google search console to tell Google that the domain is changing from the old url to the new one.  If you have any questions about any of this just drop it in here!
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Martin Bredl
Could you please clarify where this function in the Google Search Console is?
Vin Gaeta
Hey Martin Bredl

Definitely a great question - we did take a traffic hit, which was expected as Google figures out where the brand authority should transition. 

The biggest part is making sure that you have your 301s in place, that you notify Google of the change, and that all links on the site get updated to the proper new domain. 

There's definitely some deeper things but at a high level that's the basics. 

We've also been closely monitoring the backlinks and making sure that all the most important pages are getting the right traffic back.

Typically it takes 3-6 months for the keyword / domain authority to fully transition over, which is what we're seeing now as we start climing back traffic-wise. 

Let me know if you have any other questions! 

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Martin Bredl
Thank you. What are the chances to fully recover?
Franco Valentino
Change of Address Tool
Move your site from one domain to another
About this tool

Use the Change of Address tool when you move your website from one domain or subdomain to another: for instance, from example.com to example.org or example2.com. This tool tells Google about your change, and helps to migrate your Google Search results from your old site to your new site.

When not to use this tool

Don't use the Change of Address tool for the following moves:

  • Changing address from http to https. For an http to https move, follow the guidelines for site move with URL changes, but don't use this tool; Google will figure out your changes for you.
  • Moving some pages from one location to another within your site: For example, from example.com/oldpath/... to example.com/newpath/...). In this case, just add redirects, and update your sitemaps as appropriate. However, you can use the tool to migrate your site from one domain to a path within another domain. For instance, from example.com to example3.com/new/location/.
  • Moving between www and non-www in the same domain: For example, www.example.com to example.com. In this case, use canonical tagging and/or redirects without using the change of address tool.
  • Moving a site without any user-visible URL changes (that is, when your site URL remains the same but you are changing hosting providers or CDNs). For this, read Move a site with no URL changes.
Best practices in a site move
  • Don't chain site moves. If you submit a change of address to redirect traffic from site A to site B, you can't immediately submit another change of address from site B to site C.
  • Try not to combine multiple moves to a single location. Moving sites A, B, and C all to new location D can cause some confusion and traffic loss. You might want to move sites one at a time to the new, combined location and wait till traffic stabilizes before moving the next site.
  • If you want to migrate a Domain property to one location (A.com to B.com) and a subdomain to a second property (m.A.com to m.C.com), create a property for subdomain m.A.com and migrate it separately.
  • When moving a site, keeping the same site architecture in the new location helps to pass the signals more directly to the new site. If you combine a site move with a redesign of the site's content and URL structure in the new location, you will probably see some traffic loss as Google might need to relearn and reassess the individual pages.
Step 1: Pre-work

Perform these steps for all site moves:

  1. Implement a 301 redirect from your old homepage to your new homepage. we recommend also implementing 301 redirects for the canonical pages on your old site.
  2. Read the following topics:
    1. What is a site move? - Recommendations for all site moves.
    2. Move a site with URL changes - A step-by-step guide for moving a site from one domain to another.
  3. Perform any other pre-move actions described in Move a site with URL changes.
  4. Sites at the domain level (such as example.com, https://example.com, m.example.com) can then use the Change of Address tool (step 2).
Step 2: Use the Change of Address tool

After performing the pre-work, if you fulfill the requirements below, you can use the Change of Address tool to forward your old site signals to your new site.


Requirements:

  • You must be a verified owner of both the old and new properties in Search Console. You must use the same Google account to manage both properties.
  • The Change of Address tool can be used only on properties at the domain level: that is, you can move example.com, m.example.com, or http://example.com. You cannot move properties at the path level, such as http://example.com/petstore/
  • The tool does not move any subdomains below the specified domain (including www). So if you specify example.com in the tool, it will not move www.example.com or m.example.com. However, all paths under the domain are affected (example.com/any/path/here).
  • The tool moves all protocols of your source property. So if you specify http://example.com, it also moves https://example.com

Use the Change of Address tool:

  1. Perform Step 1: Pre-work.
  2. Ensure that you fulfill all the requirements listed above.
  3. Open the Change of Address tool in a property that is at the domain level (that is, it has no path segments--example.com, not example.com/petstore).
  4. Follow the instructions provided in the tool. The tool runs a few pre-move checks before telling Google about the move. If you fail any critical pre-move checks, you must fix the issue before you can continue. If you fail non-critical pre-move checks, you will see a warning with recommendations, but your request can continue.
  5. If critical pre-checks pass, all sites being migrated from or to will display a notification in Search Console that the move is in progress. You will see these notifications for 180 days.
  6. Monitor your traffic as indicated in Move a site with URL changes.
  7. Maintain the redirects for at least 180 days--longer if you still see any traffic to them from Google Search. Remove your old pages, but we recommend continuing to pay for the old domain for at least a year to prevent others from buying and using your abandoned domain for malicious purposes. After the 180 day period, Google does not recognize any relationship between the old and new sites, and treats the old site as an unrelated site, if still present and crawlable.
What happens when I run this tool? Cancel a change of address request

You can cancel a change of address request for 180 days after it was made.


To cancel an address change:

  1. Remove any 301-redirect directives previously set up on your server. If you don't do this, Google will see those directives the next time it crawls your site and might continue to redirect the URLs as instructed by the directive.
  2. Add 301 redirects from the new site to the old site.
  3. Open the Change of address tool in the old site and click Cancel Move. Repeat for every old site that you no longer want to move.
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Franco Valentino
https://search.google.com/search-console/not-verified?original_url=/search-console/settings/change-address&original_resource_id
Martin Bredl
THANKS!
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Dale Pease
Martin, I've done this a few times, but it looks like you already got a complete response on how to do this. I just checked out your website, and wanted to say, even though I don't speak German, I thought the video on your home page was fantastic! Made me want to work with you, just seeing the enthusiasm of you and your team. Nice job!
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Martin Bredl
Thx for your response. I deed we are hiring. Do you speak German?

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