Changing your website’s domain while retaining search rankings

We have just completed a transition from electnewmedia.com to dougyhunt.uk so I thought that I would run you through how to change your website’s domain while retaining search rankings of your old site on your new site.

So you have a domain that you want to change we shall call that oldsite.co.uk and the domain you want to change it to let’s call that newsite.co.uk.

There are a few steps to do this and depending on your setup it may be slightly different.

1- Verify Both Sites on Google Webmaster Tools

Now you need to be an ‘owner’ not just have ‘full’ rights to make sure this transition is as smooth as it can be. So verify 0r reverify that you are ‘owners’ of both the oldsite.co.uk and the newsite.co.uk.

2- 301 Redirect oldsite.co.uk to newsite.co.uk

Now depending on your setup this process will be slightly different but all you need to do is 301 direct all URLs from oldsite.co.uk to newsite.co.uk. There are a few easy ways to do this with WordPress and WPEngine.

3- Google Webmaster Tools Change of Address Tool

The last step is to use the Change of Address tool on Google Webmaster Tools for oldsite.co.uk. You will find this by clicking on the domain profile you want to view in GWT and then clicking the cog icon on the right-hand side. In the drop-down menu select Change of Address.

There are four small steps to confirm, and then you are done.

4- Extra Step: Double Check Redirect

Just to be sure check your URL by googling your old domain and checking that oldsite.co.uk does actually redirect to newsite.co.uk

5- Extra Step: Double Check the 301

For piece of mind, I would also run your oldsite.co.uk through this 301 redirect checker: www.redirect-checker.org.

6- Extra Step: Fetch URLs on GWT

Don’t forget to fetch and submit the newsite.co.uk’s URL on Google Webmaster Tools. I’d recommend fetching all your URLs but if you don’t have the time the next best thing are the high priority web pages such as your homepage, paged sitemap, and any other traffic generating page.

If you are looking to change your domain or have recently done so, let us know below.