Established Marketers

Domain Authority 301 Rebranding: Maximizing SEO for Merged Websites

Implementing domain authority 301 rebranding in the correct way is extremely important. Failing to take the proper steps during a domain consolidation can decrease domain authority, leading to a decrease in search engine rankings and website traffic.

To ensure that doesn’t happen to your website, we walk you through the steps and best practices for merging your websites to maximize SEO and keep your domain authority. We cover creating a sitemap of your current website, mapping your URLs, and getting your new domain live with the best practices.

1. Create a Sitemap of Your Current Website

A sitemap is a list of all of the pages on your website that effectively helps a search engine find your web pages. Sitemaps guide users to site resources, improving navigation.

Some of the best practices for your site include:

  • Making it user-friendly – you want your visitors to use it easily
  • Link to it from your home page
  • Under 100 links is best for search engines to crawl your pages
  • Use keyword-rich anchor text for your users and search engines

Creating a sitemap of your current website prior to merging it with your new website is important because it will ensure the old and new pages are redirected correctly.

2. Design and Create Your New Website

Create your new website in a way that best represents your brand. Focus on visuals, ease of navigation, simplicity, and organization.

Define what you want from your website to yield the best results. Understand your intended audience and their goals and challenges. This will help you create strategic content for your website.

Through the process, you’ll research the types of SEO value of all your URLs and use that information to create a plan. Andy Crestodina and Semrush get into the details for redesigning your high ranking website and SEO best practices . . .

3. Make Your New Domain Live Before the Merge

It is important to make your new domain live before the merge. The reason for this is to ensure a smooth transition during the merging process. Once you have finished perfecting your new website, you can check if it is active in a few easy ways.

The first way is to perform a manual check by typing the domain name into your web browser and hitting enter. If the website loads, the domain is active.

Another way is to use the ‘ping’ command in your computer’s command prompt (Windows) or terminal (Mac). By typing ‘ping’ followed by the domain name, if it is active, you should see a response with the IP Address of the domain.

4. Map Your New URLs

URL mapping is crucial for SEO as it helps search engines understand the relevancy of your content to specific keywords. To map your new URLs, you can use your original sitemap and decide where each URL should go on your new website.

This is important because it will allow the search engines to find all of the pages on your new site and it also ensures a clear and logical structure for users.

By implementing effective URL mapping strategies, you can improve your website’s SEO performance and increase its chances of ranking higher in search engine results pages.

5. Update Internal Links

Updating the internal links on your website is essential for search engines like Google to find and index your site pages. When you create a new website, you must ensure that all the links pointing to your old site are changed to your new URL.

Internal links play a significant role in helping search engines understand your site’s structure. They also help to demonstrate the contextual relationship between two pages and improve user experience by helping visitors find related content.

Because of this, it’s vital to take the time to update the internal links on your website.

6. Move Your Site

Migrate all content to the new site.

If you don’t migrate your content, you could face duplicate content penalties. Don’t merge useless, thin content. Simply apply a 404 status code to the page(s) instead of merging them.

7. Create Your 301 Redirects

If you had a previous domain that was secured with HTTPS, it’s important to ensure that the HTTPS versions of the URLs are still working correctly.

It’s best to refrain from using 302 links because they indicate a temporary move, which is not true when consolidating two websites. 301 signals a permanent redirect from one URL to another. Additionally, a 301 redirect passes all ranking power from the old URL to the new URL.

8. Update Robots.txt files

On your old site (Site A), you’ll want to remove all robots.txt directives. This will ensure that Google’s bots can discover the new redirects to your new site.

On your new site (Site B), you’ll want to make sure that your robots.txt file allows crawling.

9. Submit a Change of Address to GSC

The next step is to submit your change of address to Google Search Console. This will inform Google about your changes and assist in migrating your Google Search results from your old site to your new site.

The change of address tool within the search console allows site owners to notify Google when a website has moved from one domain to another.

When Google is notified about a domain change, it will begin to prioritize crawling and indexing the new domain over the old domain. Submitting a change of address request also tells Google to forward signals from the old domain to the new domain. (Search Engine Journal)

Related resource: Verify your new website with Google Search Console

10. Submit Sitemaps

For a seamless consolidation of your website, it’s recommended that you submit both the sitemaps of your old website and the new one. This will help Google identify any redirects and enable it to submit these URLs to Google.

Moreover, you can use Google’s sitemaps report to check the status of your submitted sitemaps.

11. Keep an Eye on Your Indexed Pages

You can track which of your new pages have been indexed with Google’s index coverage report. The indexing report shows how many URLs on your site have been crawled and indexed by Google.

You want all of your essential pages indexed. It can take a few weeks or more for Google to start crawling and indexing a new page or site.

Final thoughts on Domain Authority 301 Rebranding and SEO

When you change your domain name, it alters the URL of every page on your website, which in turn affects all the backlinks pointing to your old domain. This means Google may rank your website differently in search results. To minimize the impact of the domain change on your SEO, it’s important to have a good SEO strategy in place.

At Responsify, we’re an inbound marketing agency that provides strategic content that delivers results and increases ROI. Our team understands that SEO is one of the most valuable aspects of generating leads for your business. We can help you understand how a good SEO strategy will help you be found by potential customers online, which may include merging two websites.

Schedule time with our Growth Strategist to discuss your situation and possible growth strategies. Get a free assessment and a fresh perspective on your marketing and current SEO optimization.

free calculator
See how your company’s trending against its top 3 competitors in 1 minute flat.