Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Changing Domain Names

Think carefully if you are changing domain names at an established site solely for the
purpose of change. Google will see your new domain as a brand-new site, even if
you have kept all the file names the same. That means all your old incoming links will
point to the old domain. I recommend keeping your old domain name unless you
have a real compelling reason to change it. For example, my domain originally offered web design and not much else. I now
offer search engine optimization and pay-per-click account management but am
loathe to change the domain name because of my incoming links.

If you must change domain names, the way to do it properly is to keep your old
domain active and insert a "Permanent 301 Redirect" script on that server to instruct
browsers and search engines that the old domain and site have been replaced by
the new domain and site. This will also transfer PageRank from your old domain to
your old domain.

Ask your Webmaster to do this as how exactly to do this as it is a little complex and
varies by server (Linux/Apache vs. Windows/IIS).