It’s always a worry when rebranding that changing your website’s URL will mean losing all your internet traffic. This is a valid concern, so this article shows you how to change your website’s URL in a way that the SEO won’t be affected.
Here’s the problem:
You have an existing website hosted on a URL that has been the same for a few years. For whatever reason, you are rebranding and want to change the URL of the website but are worried that you’ll lose all your internet traffic because of these two important SEO considerations:
- New websites have very poor Google ranking
- Websites on different URLs with the same content get penalised by Google
Changing a website’s URL without considering the SEO will take years to recover the traffic and ranking that you have built up and can give competitors the edge.
Here’s how to change your website’s URL and keep all the existing SEO ranking and traffic:
- Get a Webmaster account with the major search engines (Google, Yahoo and Bing)
- Buy the new URL – don’t submit it to any search engines
- Backup the existing website and restore it to the new URL
- Set each webpage on the old website to redirect using a 301 redirect in html to the same page on the new URL. If there isn’t a same page because you’ve changed the website, redirect it to a similar page or if there isn’t one, the homepage. It’s best not to just redirect all pages to the homepage on the new URL, but this is still better than doing nothing
- Log into the Webmaster accounts and change the settings for you website to say that the URL has changed
- Submit the new website to search engines (You may not need to do this because the search engine spiders should pick up your new URL from crawling your old URL and being redirected
Changing your website’s URL this way will keep the existing SEO that you have built up on the old website, including backlinks (as long as you have the 301 redirect setup), domain age and other attributes that effect your website’s SEO ranking.