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Will changing my domain impact my SEO?

Following the recent transition in our own primary domain name, from propeldm.com to propel.co.uk, we though it would be useful to unpack all of the thought that must go into such a decision in order to ensure your website remains visible and continues to perform.

Switching a domain can have significant SEO impacts, both positive and negative. Switching a domain requires careful planning and execution to mitigate the negative SEO impacts and potentially capitalise on any positive effects. Properly implemented redirects, thorough updates to internal and external links, and constant monitoring can help maintain your site’s SEO health during the transition.

Let’s explore some of the main considerations.

Potential negative SEO impacts when switching domains

Loss of Backlinks: When you switch domains, all backlinks pointing to the old domain need to be redirected to the new domain. If this isn’t done properly, you can lose a significant amount of link equity, which can hurt your rankings.

Temporary Ranking Drops: Search engines need time to recognise and index the new domain. During this period, you might experience a temporary drop in rankings and traffic.

Broken Links: Internal and external links pointing to your old domain can break, leading to a poor user experience and potential ranking issues.

Crawl Errors: If redirects are not properly implemented, search engines might encounter crawl errors, leading to deindexing of important pages.

How to mitigate negative impacts when switching domains

301 Redirects: Implement 301 (permanent) redirects from the old domain to the new domain. This tells search engines that the content has permanently moved, helping to transfer the link equity to the new domain.

Update Internal Links: Update all internal links to point directly to the new domain instead of relying on redirects.

Backlink Update Requests: Reach out to websites linking to your old domain and request them to update their links to the new domain.

Google Search Console: Use the Change of Address tool in Google Search Console to inform Google about the domain change. Also, submit the new sitemap to ensure all pages are crawled and indexed quickly.

Consistent Content: Keep the content, structure, and metadata of the new site consistent with the old site to minimize disruptions in indexing.

Potential positive SEO impacts of changing domain names:

Rebranding and Fresh Start: A new domain can be part of a broader rebranding strategy that might appeal more to your target audience, leading to increased engagement and backlinks.

Better Domain Name: A more relevant, shorter, or keyword-rich domain name can improve click-through rates (CTR) from search engine results pages (SERPs). We moved from propeldm.com to propel.co.uk for this reason.

Consolidation: If you’re consolidating multiple sites into one, this can help concentrate your SEO efforts and potentially improve rankings due to a stronger, unified domain.

Why might a business choose to change their domain name?

A business might choose to change their domain name for several reasons:

Rebranding: A company might undergo a rebranding to refresh its image, which can include a new domain that better reflects its updated brand identity and values.

Mergers and Acquisitions: After merging with or acquiring another company, a business might change its domain to reflect the new entity or to consolidate multiple brands under one domain.

Keyword Optimisation: Changing to a domain name that includes relevant keywords can improve search engine rankings and make the website more discoverable.

Geographic Expansion: If a business expands its operations to a new region or country, it might choose a domain that better suits the new market, such as switching from a .com to a country-specific TLD (e.g., .co.uk).

Simplification: A simpler, shorter, or easier-to-remember domain name can enhance brand recognition and make it easier for customers to find the business online.

Negative Reputation: If a domain has been associated with negative press or a poor reputation, changing the domain can be a way to start fresh and distance the business from past issues.

Consolidation: A business with multiple websites might consolidate them into one domain to streamline operations and focus SEO efforts on a single, stronger domain.

Improving Domain Authority: Switching to a domain that has higher domain authority can help improve search engine rankings and overall online presence.

New Business Direction: When a business pivots to a new product line or service offering, a new domain name can better reflect the updated business focus.