Keeping your presence when you migrate a website to a new domain (or redesign it)
You might be considering moving your website domain, changing your company name, rebranding, or changing your company’s business model entirely. This move can often fill website owners with a sense of dread, as all the work they have carried out over the past few months and years on SEO could potentially be lost. It could then take a long time to get the company back to where it should be in the results pages.
Feeling anxious is pretty normal at this stage. Most business owners will feel apprehensive at the potential losses that a business can face when rebranding or moving a domain. However, there are things that that can be done.
Crawl your Site
Some preliminary research into your business is required before you consider your website changes. Check out which pages are popular and rank highly with Google. You will need to add a redirect to these pages to inform the search engines if that the page might moves. It’s not just as simple as setting up the 301 redirects, however. You will need to submit your old sitemap to Google to make sure that it takes note of the redirects. You can notify Google of the change through the Change of Address form which notifies Google of your domain change. Once this has been done, you can submit your new sitemap to the search engine. Keep your eyes out for your site being indexed. Once this has happened, you can use the diagnostic section to take note of any errors and respond accordingly.
To make sure that you are getting everything you can out of the move, you should complete an SEO audit before the move. This can help you to identify what your strengths and weaknesses are and what you can be doing to improve your rankings, what can be left behind, and what should be migrated. Having a plan for improving your website and SEO rankings built into the redesign or move itself can help you ensure that you can make the most of the shift.
You might have a great website already with lots and lots of optimised content that simply needs transporting over to the new domain and there it will sit. However, remember that optimisation isn’t a one-time thing but a process. Keep up to date with your website, keep checking your analytics, and keep up with content optimisation with tools such as SEO Site Tools and SearchStatus to ensure you are getting everything you should be from your site.
New Content and Links
To keep you at the top of your game and your website at the top of Google, you also need to create new content on a regular basis, generating links through engaging pages that keep people coming back. Use the website redesign to create a conversation on social media and through writing a press release.
With most site redesigns or domain migrations we expect a drop in traffic. It’s what normally happens. How deep and broad this will be we can never guess. One way to negate the effects of this is to set up a paid search campaign (or increase your existing budget). Depending on your current social following/engagement you may also wish to allocate some budget to promoting the changes (and your business/services in general) on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
The idea is to approach the changes with a solid plan, work to maintain what you’ve got, anticipate a drop in traffic and redouble your SEO efforts accordingly. Finally to provide much needed support spend a little on PR, paid search and social media promotion.
If you need help with your SEO for a site redesign or domain move contact us – our team can help you plan the migration thoroughly and work to ensure you get through this stressful time intact!