Own a website? Listen up. We are going to give you some pointers that could boost your search engine rankings.
First off, we are going to explain the Domain Redirect or “Domain Forwarding“. Say your old website is www.abc.com and your new website is www.xyz.com. Now you want all the traffic to www.abc.com to go to www.xyz.com.
Here are the different ways that you can Forward your Domain:
Forwarding from your Domain Registrar (ie Godaddy etc…)
This is the preferred method of domain forwarding, and can be the best for SEO. We use this method often when the domain is hosted with our domain registrar, and there is no server space or website created for the old domain. This will guarantee that all URLs on the old domain is forwarded into the new site.
**Always use 301 redirects *permanent*, not 302 redirects *temporary*. 302 redirects will not pass the “link juice” and will have no SEO benefit.
Forwarding using HTACCESS file
If you are hosting a website using WordPress or any other CMS, you will probably have a hidden file on your server called .htaccess. To find this file, login with your FTP software. Navigate to the main folder for your website. Choose to show hidden files (We use CyberDuck on Mac, so we navigate to “View” then “Show hidden files”).
If you do not have an htaccess file, open a text file and save as htaccess.txt on your desktop. Now move htaccess.txt to your server via FTP. Once the file is on your server, change the file name from “htaccess.txt” to “.htaccess”.
Now you have an active htaccess file on your server that you can use for redirects.
Write the following to redirect a page:
Redirect /old-url http://www.new-url.com/new-page
That is it! Just include the old URL not using the http://, then write the new page on the new URL with the full http://.
You will need to redirect each individual page from your old site to the new site. This can be a tedious process, and is why we typically will redirect from the Domain Registrar instead of each page at a time.
You can also redirect the entire site from the htaccess, but often this will create broken URLs.
Wrong ways to Redirect a site:
Do not use a meta tag refresh, this can get you penalized in search engines.
Duplicating Content from Old Site to Mimic on New Site
Always remember that duplicate content can get your site penalized. Do not copy your content to be identical on multiple sites.
Using iFrames for Old Content on New Site
This tactic solves nothing, but some people have asked about if this helps SEO. Search Engines do not read content through an iFrame and will not index that content on the domain using the iFrame.
BONUS SEO TIP! It is important to note that if you plan on using the old domain for more backlinks to the new site, be sure to host the two domain’s websites on different servers. If you don’t, then the links will not be as powerful for SEO. Sure, you can gain some traction for having links between sites on the same server, but it is always better to have different IP’s linking between sites.
If you plan on having similar content on both sites, but not identical, note that you will have to host the sites on different IP’s (in most cases) in order to rank on the same page in search engines for the same keyword.
Example: if you have two sites that are trying to rank for “SEO TIPS” and both sites are optimized very well for that keyword, however both sites are on the same IP. Only 1 site will rank for “SEO TIPS” and the other site will not show up.
After Redirected, Check for Not Found Pages
Navigate to Webmaster Tools after a day or two after redirecting
On the new site, setup the htaccess file to redirect the not found links to the correct pages. These “Not Found” pages can negatively affect your SEO slightly, but is not an emergency.
Looks like we have some “Not Found” pages to redirect for my site. We are going to get on that! 🙂