13-Point Digital Marketing Checklist to Handle Domain Migration Like a Boss
Whether a brand name change or your business needs an easy, user-friendly, catchy domain, specific steps need to be followed to ensure you maintain your current link juice, SEO value, web traffic, etc. Taking the following steps will ensure your digital marketing performance is not interrupted and in many cases will be better than the before.
Your website may be an online store, service website, magazine, blog, etc. Perhaps using Magento, Shopify, WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, etc. as the platform. Simply follow our well-defined checklist to sustain your digital marketing position and protect your brand name.
Here is the 13-Point Checklist to Tackle Domain Migration:
1. Forced https
SSL is a new normal and every website uses it, it can not be ignored.
All URL versions should go to the only https version. Example: example.com | www.example.com | http://example.com | https://example.com should go to https://www.example.com
This should be implemented sitewide for all the URLs with 301 redirects.
2. One to One 301 Redirect Mapping
This is the most important step to keep your SEO value intact. Let’s say if you were using my-shoe-store.com now you are moving to a brand name let’s say “TechShoe” with the new domain techshoe.com.
All your previous URLs should be permanently redirected to new respective URLs. Example: https://www.my-shoe-store.com to https://www.techshoe.com
https://www.my-shoe-store.com/contact-us/ to https://www.techshoe.com/contact-us/
https://www.my-shoe-store.com/smart-shoes/ to https://www.techshoe.com/smart-shoes/
and so on.
3. Website Browsing Should be with New Domain
The best practice is not to have redirects or very few unavoidable redirects. If it is your website, you can control all the internal links. No internal links should have an old URL redirecting from an old to the new domain, every time a user clicks on it. The browsing experience should be smooth with the new domain so that it doesn’t confuse crawlers and users.
The sitemap.xml file should be generated with new domain URLs. Additionally, the sitemap needs to be submitted to Google Search Console and mentioned in the robots.txt file. See below example:
How Can I Submit my Sitemap in Search Console?
In robots.txt file, you can mention sitemap like
5. Robots.txt File:
Make sure all paths you have mentioned in the file previously still make sense. You don’t have to make any changes as it doesn’t use the domain there.
6. All Tracking and Event Codes
You can continue using those tracking codes as is. Your site may be using Google Analytics, Google Ads, FB Pixel, email codes, etc. Generally, you do not need to change the account id for all the different scripts. You will have to verify the new domain in Google Search Console and may need to set up a new Google Tag Manager if you were using it previously.
7. Content, Meta and OG Tags
Make sure you do not disturb content, meta tags, and OG tags, these simply need to be carried forward as it is on a new domain. In the case of a brand name change, make sure you change the old brand name to the new brand name everywhere, especially in content, meta tags, and OG Tags.
8. Image and Image Tags
All the image URLs should be redirected to their respective URLs, as mentioned in point number 1. Also, make sure that you do not miss alt and title tags. If you are serving images through CDN, you can continue using that in the same manner on a new domain.
9. URL changes on Social Media and Business Listings
Business URLs should be the latest one on Google My Business, FB page, LinkedIn Page, Twitter, etc. Additionally, if you are changing the brand name be sure to change the business name everywhere.
10. Google Ads and Other Ads
Change the URLs and brand name in your ad images, headings, and description, or your ads will stop running and produce errors.
11. Email Campaigns
If you have been sending email campaigns it is better to change all URLs to the new domain in existing templates and if there are any emails in the pipeline be sure to do those as well. Additionally, you can inform your audience that you are a new brand or using a new domain to avoid confusion when visitors revisit your website.
12. PR, Article, or Post Circulation for Domain Name Change
Sharing the change on different platforms including social media will inform your customers about the change; avoiding doubt or confusion next time they come across the brand change or domain name change.
After all the above-mentioned 12 points have been followed and executed, you should crosscheck to ensure you have not missed any points. In the event points are missed or not implemented correctly you risk negatively impacting your website’s performance.
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