How do I change my domain name without losing rankings & traffic?
Changing a domain name when done incorrectly can cause a dramatic loss in your keyword rankings and organic search traffic. So when the time comes to change your domain name be sure to do the following to minimise any loss :
Setup HTTP 301 redirects
Each of the original URLs should be redirected to the corresponding URL on the new domain name. There are a number of different HTTP redirects but when changing a domain name Google recommends using a “301” redirect. This redirect tells Google that the URL has been permanently moved. If possible these redirects should stay in place indefinitely.
Check all internal links are correct
You’ll want to ensure any hyperlinks pointing to the original domain name are also updated. The easiest way to do this is by performing a find & replace of the websites database and source code. If you’re using WordPress you can easily perform a find and replace on the database using this plugin.
Change address in Google Search Console
Assuming you’re using Google Search Console (which you really should be) you can submit a change of address which will notify Google of the domain name change. You’ll find the change of address option under “Settings” in the main menu.
If you do the 3 things outlined here when changing domain names you should see little to no change in website rankings and traffic. Be sure to closely monitor the website once the domain change is complete so you can quickly address any issues as they arise.