How to Change Your Domain Name Without Damaging Your Search Ranking

Sometimes changing domain names is a necessity, but it shouldn’t be done on a whim, switching domains will impact search rankings find out how to do it correctly.

Changing Domain Names

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Changing Domain Names Without Damaging Search Rankings

If you’ve ever considered changing domain names, the question “Can I change my domain name without affecting my search rankings?” has probably crossed your mind. 


To put it briefly, no.


Changing your domain name means Google will have to re-analyze, re-crawl, and re-index all your pages because of the new URL structure – this is an inevitable expense associated with rebranding projects.


However, the good news is that when proper preventive measures are observed, traffic will remain at the same levels as before the switch.


To help you get started, we’ll discuss the following points in this article:


  • Why do you need to change your domain name?
  • How to change your domain name without sabotaging your search ranking
  • Bonus points to improve your chances of success.

Why Do You Need to Change Your Domain Name?


Since a domain name is often a visitor’s first impression of your business and website, making a hasty decision to change it is not recommended. 


Examples of why you might want to alter your domain name include:


  • To change your domain’s extension. Changing locations might not be a huge concern if your business is run primarily online. However, you may still need to make adjustments to your domain name if it ends in a ccTLD (country code Top-Level Domain) like .us or .qa domains
  • You might also have a domain name with a .org or .com extension but would want to switch to a more niche-centered TLD like .tech to represent your business better if, for instance, you offer cloud app modernization services.
  • To avoid copyright infringements. Some businesses are guilty of this despite having good intentions. To avoid any legal complications, you may need to switch your domain name if you discover that it infringes on another party’s intellectual property.
  • To reflect a business name change. Using a domain that directly reflects your company’s name will help with both consistency and brand recognition.

How to Change Your Domain Name Without Sabotaging Your Search Ranking

You can reduce the potential damage of changing your domain name by following the instructions in this guide. In doing so, you’ll be giving your new website the greatest possible chance of rising in the search engine rankings.

Evaluate the current state of your website


You should conduct a robust SEO and link assessment before switching domain names. Various popular site audit tools can help you evaluate how well your SEO strategies are working at the moment. Moreover, content testing is another thing to consider to learn what’s working in terms of keywords, links, etc. As a bonus, you’ll have something to compare future results to down the road.


You may also want to consider one of the many alternatives to Outlook calendar, to ensure that the transition to your new domain is organized and runs smoothly


The following are some of the things to assess during an audit:


  • Loading speed and overall site performance 
  • Coding errors and HTML issues
  • Relevance and quality of site content
  • Inbound & outbound links


The most essential part of an audit is checking the list of sites that link back to yours. This is important as these inbound links play a big role in how well your site ranks in search engine results, and you don’t want to lose them in a domain name switch.


A link audit can be done in one of two ways. The first thing you can do is head over to your Google Search Console and choose “Links” from the sidebar. All of the incoming links that Google finds leading to your site will be shown here. You should export the list for future reference.


Another method of doing a link audit is by using a service such as Ahrefs to analyze your link profile. Your understanding of the quality of the links leading to your domain might be improved if you do this. Essentially, the more tools, like Ahrefs, Semrush, Google Search Console, and other online sales platforms that you use, the deeper analysis you will gain. 


Once you’ve done that, it’s time to sort through the links and identify the best ones. The best links should be rechecked after a domain change to ensure they are still functional and 301-redirected (more on this below).

Transfer web content to your new domain

If you’d prefer not to use a plugin to transfer your content to your new domain, you should have a content management system set up first. If you’re working with WordPress integration, for instance, you should install it on the new domain so that the site’s framework is ready to go.


A WordPress migration plugin, such as Duplicator, can streamline the process of transferring content from one WordPress site to the next.

Put 301 redirects in place

Changing a domain name means 301 redirects. This important step is to permanently redirect traffic from the old domain to the new one once the content has been transferred. Search engine crawlers should have access to your old URLs to continue indexing your site’s content.


If you don’t set up a permanent redirect, the SEO performance of a website might take a serious hit because of broken links. You must make sure that all of your old site’s traffic is being redirected to your new one. 


Maintaining your SEO is facilitated by using 301 redirects, which notify search engines like Google of the change in URL and prompt the search engine to crawl and index the new page.


With a 301 redirect, visitors to your old site will be instantly diverted to the appropriate page on your new site. Go to your hosting provider’s domain management interface to set up 301 redirects. To change where your traffic is sent, add both your old primary domain and your new one there. Always remember that you need to create a separate redirect for all pages on your website. 


Additionally, you shouldn’t just redirect your old site’s homepage to your new one. Keep in mind that you have backlinks (links to your former domain that have been placed on other websites). A wildcard redirect will guarantee that all of these URLs are re-routed properly.


With a wildcard redirect, people can access your site from whatever subdomain they request without having to create separate directories for each possible request.

Verify the new site’s history

This point does not apply to anyone looking to buy a brand-new domain name. If you have recently purchased or are considering purchasing a domain via 3rd parties or domain auctions, however, then this step is for you. 


A domain name can be compared to a car. You would always conduct a thorough inspection to ensure a used car is in good working order before buying it. The process of buying a previously registered domain name is the same.


Use to carry out a quick domain name search. You can view a complete archive of all pages created on the domain right there. Verify that those pages aren’t filled with spammy content as you need quality content designed to improve SEO.


You can also analyze the list of backlinks leading to your prospective new domain with the help of the previously mentioned SEO tools.


If you discover a website or other active content on a domain you’re considering using, you should add it to your Google Search Console account. Then you can examine how Google has previously indexed your proposed new domain. Next, keep an eye out for any manual punishment measures that have been executed against the domain. Black-hat SEO practices and spammy content are typically to blame for such penalties.


If your prospective domain has been subject to penalties like these, you may want to rethink using it as a redirect target. Because updating URLs is labor-intensive, you should always begin with a blank slate if possible. 


Otherwise, you’ll need to take the necessary steps to resolve the pending penalty actions before moving forward with this domain. Following this, you’d need to make a reconsideration request with Google, asking them to remove the penalty.

Dedicate a page to the change

Create a page explaining why changing your domain name is happening for those who might search for the previous domain. It serves the same purpose as a new launch announcement, but it’s formatted with the former domain name in mind.


The title tag is where the announcement should go, complete with a suitable URL, and also include a meta description. For instance, TrueFind-formerly-known-as-TruMatch. This way, people looking for the previous name will find the new one easily if you’ve rebranded. As a result, they won’t get lost or confused even if they see a .sa domain where they are expecting a .au domain. A path has been laid out for them.


If you change your domain name without leaving any identifying information behind, you will lose tons of relevant traffic.

Develop a site map and provide access to search engines

Your organic position in search results is determined by Google’s algorithms. That is to say, if you want to rise in Google’s search engine results, you need to play by their rules. Given the algorithm’s complexity and the fact that it incorporates several constitutive site features subject to periodic change, this is often a tricky task.


The sitemap, which is in many respects a website’s outline, plays an important role in this process. This XML document organizes all the resources and materials referenced on your website’s pages into a hierarchical structure. Given that it facilitates indexing by search engines, it has a significant influence on search engine rankings.


If you want search engines to quickly index your new URLs after a domain name change, you should develop a sitemap and make sure they have access. You can easily accomplish this using the Google Search Console.

Edit your Google My Business page

When someone searches for your brand on Google, whether it’s old or new, they can see a knowledge panel on the right-hand side of the results page that has some information about your business. 

google screenshot

Screenshot is taken from


This is an important part of local SEO. A change to your domain name should reflect on this profile to display consistency in brand messaging.


As long as you are connected to your admin account on the Google Business Profile, you can change your brand’s information. This is just another aspect of the SEO effects of switching domains. 

Bonus Points

You should inform your users that you are changing domains. Maintaining a steady flow of website visitors requires spreading the word on your website, social media accounts, and email list. To avoid any confusion or surprises, make sure everyone is aware of the new changes by utilizing multiple contact points.


You should also make sure there is a steady stream of updated content like blog posts that drive traffic available. By doing so, you can quickly increase awareness of your new domain and open up a wealth of new possibilities for establishing backlinks. Provide information that other sites will find helpful; this will encourage them to link back to you. In doing so, you will improve your site’s compliance with Google’s algorithms, which should improve your website’s SEO.

Implement Change the Right Way

If you don’t take the correct steps when changing to a new domain name, it might hurt your search engine rankings. However, by following these guidelines, you can mitigate the damage and rest easy knowing that you can maintain your SEO performance. Always remember that this is a delicate process that is nonetheless crucial to your company’s online presence.