RDicas # 05 – Careful when changing domains

6 basic strategies to use on your company website and improve your sales
Domain, subdomain, subdirectory, and parked domain: what they are and when to use each one

The fifth edition of RDicas is for you who are thinking of changing your domain or make a change in the information architecture of your site that involves changing some urls within this domain.

The consultant in SEO of Digital Results, Aluysio Ferreira, prepared a step- by -step 4 – step how to accomplish this change smoothly and ensure that their organic visits and authority of your page are not adversely affected.

Watch the video below:

Check here the other posts of RDicas, our series of short videos about SEO.

domain change is a delicate action. Many people complain that when they exchange the domain site is lost organic traffic and positions of the links in the search results. However, this only happens when the exchange is done incorrectly.

To change your domain safely, some precautions need to be taken.

1 – Let the two domains coexisting for a time

The first is in relation to the maintenance of the old domain. What we have to keep in mind is that during a short period of time the current domain and the new domain must coexist.

So soon after you publish the new domain, keep the old active for a while. Both must be “alive” for a period so that the transition is smooth and does not undermine their authority.

2 – Create a sitemap to the new domain

The next step is to make a sitemap domain 2. We have commented on sitemaps in another post and also in RDicas # 4 – How Google works , but it’s always good to stress about.

In short, the sitemap is a file that Google searches when you get your site to understand a little of his information architecture. Thus, it is highly recommended that it exists and that is hosted on your server.

It is basically a file to communicate with Google, and it will explain how the structure of your new domain.

However, above all we need you to confirm the ownership of this new domain. Google needs to be told that you really are the owner of this domain, and the way to do this is through the tool Google Search Console , formerly called Webmaster Tools.

The moment you confirm the property of domain via Google Webmaster Tools, you can tell Google where the sitemap of your website is hosted.

3 – Apply canonical tags

As the two domains are still coexisting until this step, what you need to do is tell Google which is the domain that should be considered at the expense of the old. Therefore, it is necessary that a tag canonical is applied, which is nothing more than an html code snippet that should be inserted in the <head> of your website, advising or pointing to a link which is the original url or what url the Google should take into consideration at that time.

Example: <link rel = “canonical” href = “http://www.novaurl.com.br” />

Also read Redirect 301 and Canonical Tag: Why are important for SEO and when to use

What should be done at the moment is to revisit the pages of the domain 1 point and a tag for the canonical domain 2. However, what should not be done is to take all the domain pages 1 and point a tag canonical for the home domain 2. do not do this, the correct way to apply the tag is canonical page by page. Example: take the “home” of the old domain and point to the “home” of the new domain, take contact us the old domain and point to the “contact us” the new domain, and so on.

The canonical tag, and warn that the old domain should be disregarded because it is a copy or a duplicate version of the new domain, will also pull much of the old domain authority and will pass on to the urls of the new domain. So when a new domain is released, it is not born from scratch fact, as already carries the old domain strength.

After applying the canonical tags, which you have to do is go back to the sitemap and analyze how this new domain urls are already indexed, or are already in the Google server.

When the time comes for you to upload your sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools, you can read some relevant information such as how many urls are present in this sitemap and how many have not yet been indexed.

Therefore, especially in the content pages of your website, when a good level of indexing is reached (above 90%), the time is going to last slap and, now kill the old site

4 – Make a 301 Redirect

The last step to make the correct migration from one domain to the other is to do a 301 redirect all the old domain to the new domain pages. It is now that the old website will effectively cease to exist and leave the space open only to the new site.

But why this redirection just now? Because only after the fulfillment of these steps is that it is guaranteed that Google understood that there is a new site, he crawled the new site and that the authority of the old pages were transferred to the new. After the 301 redirect pages done, who try to access the old URL from now on will be automatically redirected to the new domain.

And why the redirect 301 and not the 302 redirect?

Well, the 301 redirect is a permanent redirect. It is this function that involves the transmission of relevant authority of the old page to the new page. If you put a 302 redirect, no such transfer of authority to the other. So the new page would be without the relevance of the old page, as if from nowhere. Why this case is most recommended that you use the 301 redirect.


Following in order the 4 steps above, you can safely change the domain of your site without loss of organic traffic or authority.

It is a process that takes a little more time, but it is worth the long-term, since if you lose all the authority of a domain will have to start from scratch and consequently have much more work to be done.

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