How To Change Domain Names & Keep Rankings in Google


We’ve all been there. Sometimes when you rebrand, you want to transfer your old domain to a shiney new web address. Many don’t realise though that you should actually ensure you transfer the age, authority and trust your site has in Google to this new web address.

Traditionaly when I move one domain to another, I usually just stick a few 301 instructions in an htaccess and start getting links to the new domain. I’ve always found it pretty painless although I can appreciate it’s easy to screw up if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Now you can actually tell Google about your domain name change in Google Webmaster Tools.

If you’ve moved your site to a new domain, you can use the Change of address tool to tell Google about your new URL. We’ll update our index to reflect your new URL. Changes will stay in effect for 180 days, by which time we’ll have crawled and indexed the pages at your new URL. The change of address tool is safe, because only verified site owners can use it. You can check the tool at any time to see the information provided to Google about your domains.

This new tool from Google will be handy for some, though, you’ll still need to know your way about some technical aspects to use it. See moving your website to another domain.

UPDATE – Also see Google announcing support of the cross-domain rel=”canonical” link element.

Written by Shaun Anderson

9 Responses to “How To Change Domain Names & Keep Rankings in Google”

  1. Jack Osborne says:

    Cheers for this, I’d never even heard of the change of address tool before.

  2. Jeet says:

    Change of address, now Google is really thinking about businesses that move their addresses.

    I also managed these transfers with domainwide 301s earlier, but PR and SERPs definitely took time to transfer to new domain, specially for internal pages.

  3. Brian says:

    Very timely tip; thanks for pointing this out. I’ve been blogging for a day over a month now and am starting to give thought into obtaining my own domain name. I wasn’t sure how to go about doing it. I’ll be sure to keep this information in mind when making the eventual switch. I don’t want to lose a month of SEO work after all. :)

  4. Gopal Raju says:

    Thanks for the tip! useful!

    Gopal Raju

  5. Richard says:

    thank you so much although I’ve just found various ways of achieving this. this is the most simple and sound approach

  6. gazz says:

    Great piece of information, will come in useful

  7. Jay Ehret says:

    Shaun, what about moving a blogspot blog to its own domain name? Can that be done without losing all the links to the blog?

  8. clickTRUE Pte Ltd says:

    Thank you for this article.. ill do the suggestion! i am on my way to launching new website! SOOON

  9. SEO Guru says:

    I was looking for this solution for a long time and generally use redirection code to retain the Page rank. Thanks for the latest information!!

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