So you’re thinking of changing your domain name well think hard. Its very very hard to regain your rankings.
A great example of this is AO.com. They haven’t always been called AO, they used to be called appliancesonlines.co.uk. Nearly two years ago they changed their branding and website, so that they could expand from just selling appliances into a more consumer electronics company.
Now the below wouldn’t be as bad but AO has since floated on the London Stock Exchange which valued the company at £1.2 billion. This got the company some amazing links and coverage in the press. So as SEO’s, PR people, content creators we are all after amazing links from high DA / PR websites. Well AO got them, BBC et al but they still haven’t got even close to getting their rankings back. This is exactly the same site with just a different url. So even the best sites with a great team and additional amazing links, can’t reclaim their old rankings.
Another fairly large company has just decided to rebrand victoria Plumb who have rebranded as Victoria Plum, yes they have just dropped the ‘b’. I am guessing but I think this is to move away from just being a bathroom company, but it will be interesting to see how their rankings suffer.
So if you must change your domain name and I really wouldn’t recommend it but if you need to change then here are some very basic steps you need to take. Before you go ahead and do the changes, make everyone aware what will happen and have realistic time frames to recover. As you can see from AO it’s been nearly 2 years, so make sure everybody is on board and is happy, as once you have changed, changing back won’t bring back your old rankings. Also do it at a time is least of importance, so if you’re an ecommerce website, don’t do it in the run up to xmas.
- 301 Old urls to new site – Redirect individual urls and not the home page. It will take you a little bit longer but will really help.
- Verify your new domain with Google Search Console (formly Webmaster tools).
- Add Google Analytics and tracking codes onto the new site so that you can monitor traffic to the site
- Once migrated run a report to find any 404 pages
- Reach out to webmasters and encourage them to change the links
Other websites which have recently decided to risk it all and change domain names:
These have only recently changed so its a bit too early to see the impact, but I will be monitoring over the coming months.
Now while Dunelm has recently changed, they do seem to have closed the gap alot quicker than what AO.com did so will have to wait and see how these get on in the coming months.
But if these big sites, with huge brand awareness are struggling, you would need a very good reason to lose your Organic traffic and rankings. You are going to need a serious PPC budget to make up for the lost revenue.
I am the Managing Director of Coreter Media and have been in Digital Marketing since 2009. Initially in-house working for some of the UK’s biggest brands, but now I run my own agency helping small businesses grow.