At times domain migration can be a tough task. Even with a good transfer speed, there are possibilities of downtime during this process. Along with all the crucial aspects of domain migration there is an SEO aspect as well, that has to be taken into consideration. This factor is as important as the website hosting platform that you select.
As various tasks are performed during the domain transfer process, the online reputation that you have built over time might get hampered. In case that happens, it will be hard for the search engines to locate, crawl and index your website and furthermore, this will have a negative effect on the keyword rankings and the organic traffic as well.
Irrespective of whether your website is big or small, migration is a critical process that needs some cautious planning. You must plan ahead of time in order to avoid any bad situations. If you would like to migrate a domain now or at any time in the future, here is some crucial information that you need to be aware of:
Plan And Organize Before Execution
Planning for the migration is a difficult and tedious task. However, the more you plan, the better it will be for the execution process will be better. In the planning phase, you must create a sitemap that outlines the website pages. This will enable you to classify the pages that should remain the same, the pages that need modifications and the pages that need to be removed. Your sitemap must comprise of the current URLs from your database or server logs. You must also outline the updated URLs for the new domain. This will help in keeping everything organized and documented.
Before you proceed with the domain migration, you will have to get the details of your keyword rankings and traffic information. Get the rankings and respected keywords per page and the traffic information along with the related keywords per page. It is also crucial to make a list of the internal and external links to your website pages citing aspects like domain authority, source and anchor text. Initially, the most prominent factor of the planning phase is gathering all the information. After you have gathered all the required information, you will be in a better position to plan on the factors that will affect the new domain.
Your next step is to start the implementation. Block your new domain from being crawled by the search engines and from being viewed by the people. This can be done through proper authentication and enabling the robots.txt blockage. Once you enable the robots.txt blockage, the search engines will not be able to crawl your website while you are transferring the domain and making the necessary changes. After the transfer process is completed and all the changes are perfectly implemented, you can disable the blockage and allow the search engines to crawl your website and index your new domain.
At this stage you will be able to verify that all your links are directing to the URLs pertaining to the new domain. Check on the factors like links, URLs and content and if everything looks fine, you can disable the authentication and the robots.txt blockage. This will allow visitors to view your new domain and the search engines will start ranking your website.
Now that you have successfully executed the planning and execution of your website to a new domain, it’s time to monitor and observe. Keep a track on the rankings and monitor the organic traffic of the new domain. Determine the new keywords that are driving traffic to your website and the keywords that don’t work. Compare this information with the information you had collected earlier about the old domain. This will enable you to determine the aspects that you need to work on for driving traffic to your new domain.
Moreover, you must also verify the external links that are still linking to the old domain name. Wherever possible, ask these websites to update the links so that they point to your new domain name.
The process mentioned above will help you to transfer your domain name without loosing out on the online reputation that you earned through performing SEO tasks. Careful planning and timely execution will help you in keeping the domain authority intact.