As a part of an IT support, we frequently get asked “How can we change our domain name without losing our page rank”. When you buy, sell or rebrand a company often, the domain name is changed and the last thing you want to lose during this process is Google page rank.
Preserving your page rank is relatively easy using a “301 Redirect” this tells Google and other search engines that your website has permanently moved to another location, it also has the additional benefit of redirecting human visitors that type in your old domain to the new domain.
TIP: Before you perform a 301 redirect make sure your directory structures are the same on your new domain, if they result in 404 errors you will damage your page rank.
This article included step by step instructions below on how to carry out a 301 redirect, this guide used the FileZilla FTP client as it’s free and available for both Mac and Windows. You are welcome to use your own FTP client, the instructions should be similar.
- Access your FTP client
- Login to your OLD domain and navigate to the root of your install
- Check to see if a file called .htaccess already exists (if you are running wordpress or a similar CMS chances are it will).
- Open or create the file .htaccess
- Add the following text (add this to the end of the file if text already exists): redirect 301 / http://www.YourNewCompanyDomain.com/
- Save the file and upload if necessary
The results of this should be instant, if you visit your old domain you should be automatically redirected to your new domain.
The page rank from your old domain will eventually flow to your new site. This process can take a long time (a couple of months) depending on how busy your website is.
It is also recommended to login into your Google Web Master tools and telling Google your site has moved under “Site Configuration” > “Change Of Address” then follow this instructions outlined by Google.