Changing Domains can be painful and costly!
Despite it being well established, covered in numerous forums and hudnreds of articles ... far too many people do not grasp the problems and costs of Changing a Domain Name.
1) People Change without Redirects.
May sound silly to those in the know - but for many ... they simply ditch the old DN and attach the New DN ... and think things should be fine.
They suffer a loss of established traffic as the old URLs nolonger function, and an SE drop as no values are passed.
2) Poor redirect setups.
Mistakes can/do happen - esp. when dealing with very large/huge sites with thousands of pages.
But, when core pages result in errors, or redirect loops, or go off to the wrong page - it can cause visitors to turn to a competitor.
Just as bad is the SE impact - loss of value transfer, or it going off to the wrong pages (which may cause a reduction in value if not loss) etc.
3) Redirect Chains.
Redirect Chains (multiple pages redirecting to each other in sequence) can compound this issue - it can slow the site up, and the loss of value through a redirect is likely getting compounded as well (-15% of -15% of -15% in a 3-step-chain is going to hurt).
4) Blocking Redirects.
Sometimes you do the redirects - but the Bots never see them because the URL is Blocked in robots.txt
(Thanks to +Pe lagic
for bringing that one up (and he even tested the +HomeAdvisor
site and found some issues :D))
5) Redirects setup perfectly.
Still costs you! G recently stated (via +Matt Cutts
) that Redirects have the same loss as a link, 15%. That means any/all link value is reduced by that amount, which may result in your rankings dropping across the board ... and less traffic.
6) Redirects impact Crawl speed.
Redirects cause a slow-down in crawling. When G finds a 301 response, they reschedule the crawl, this time using the new location. That means initial crawls do little bar update their address-book ... and you may have to wait a little longer than normal for G to crawl your content ... and a little longer for them to process it all too.
7) As little as possible.
Though it's hard to do in some cases, it's advised not to make a lot of Redirects at the same time. If possible, redirect chunks of the site, leaving the rest alone (this may be doable using ReWrites to make new URLs look like Old ones etc. - but that's painful/confusing).
Try not to make other changes as well ... such as don't restructure your site if you are changing the Domain Name (abc.com/page1
... not abc.com
Try not to change content etc. either. The only thing you change is the Domain.
(Again, thanks to +Pe lagic
for the reminder :D)
Can you see now why G generally advises against faffing with Domain Name changes without real reasons?
And that doesn't include the man (or woman!) hours spent setting it all up, double checking (which some people fail to do!), and monitoring for success. #SEO #301Redirects #DomainNameChanges