How Do I Maintain Rankings When I Change Domains?

Description: Changing your domain name is a major alteration to be making. Before you do it you need to consider a number of factors, as well as figuring out how you will maintain your ranking.

Changing the domain of your website is as major an event online as moving house is in reality. If you moved house and didn't tell anyone where you were going, you wouldn't get the same amount of visitors that you used to, because no one would know where you were.

The same applies to your website. If you change addresses you need to do the online equivalent of sending out change of address cards - and that's to use a temporary redirect to highlight the link between your old domain name and your new one. This will ensure that the traffic and rankings associated with your old domain name will travel over to your new one; think of it as the equivalent of leaving a forwarding address.

However even with this redirect in place you are not guaranteed to keep the ranking you had previously. In reality very few websites that change domain names keep their ranking exactly as it was before the move. Sometimes it will only change slightly but other webmasters have had to virtually start all over again, so you should only change your domain name if you absolutely need to.

Of course you should check your current rankings before you consider making such a move anyway. If your site is still young and you feel you made an error in choosing the domain name you did originally, you may decide that it's better to change now than later, when you've had a chance to build up a more impressive ranking. After all if your ranking is low to begin with then you will have a lot less to lose now than you will in the future.

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