The advent of new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) has changed the face of the internet. Instead of worrying over your unattractive, unnecessarily long domain names with hyphens, you can make use of new gTLDs like .agency, .science, .boutique, .plumbing, .photography, etc, to take your business to the next level. However, moving your site to a new domain is not a stroll in the park (and is not rocket science either) because you need to take the right action so as not to have a negative impact on your SEO and, of course, organic traffic.
After purchasing your new domain name, upload a ‘coming soon’ page a few weeks before moving all your files from your old domain to the new one so that search engines can crawl and index the new site. It will show search engine crawlers that the new domain is a real website and not a parked domain. The next step is to upload all the files from your old website to the new one (there is a tool for that at your web host) and redirect traffic. There are two ways of redirecting traffic – a 302 redirect or a 301 redirect. A 302 redirect is temporary as it tells the search engines to read and use the content on the new domain but to keep checking the original one first as it will be re-established. On the other hand, a 301 redirect is permanent. It informs search engines that the old domain should be removed from the index and replaced with the new one. Hence, it transfers domain authority, visitors and page ranking to the new site.
It is very important for you to do the 301 redirect for each page of the old site and you can use a 301 checker to confirm the transfer. Also, at your Google Webmaster Console, you can use the change of address tool to let Google know that you have transferred your old website to a new one. You should also not forget to renew the change of address every 180 days.
Furthermore, you should update your backlinks at selected authority sites. Even though your new domain will take up the rank of your old site, it is equally important to update your link profile, especially on authority sites. It is not possible to update all your link profiles, except they are not many, but you can contact webmasters and ask them to update links to your site with the aim of replacing the old URL with the new one.