What Happens To Your Keyword Search Queries When You Change Domains

Changing domains effects not only your incoming links but also your keyword positions in the SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages). This all starts once you notify Google of your change of address in Google Webmaster Tools.

Recently i changed domains and have found the keywords in my content go from an indexing of over 7000 keywords to around 2,584 currently.

These keywords will slowly come back into the search results which i expect to happen once the next Page Rank update comes around sometime in January or Febuary.

If you change domains, you’ll find your keywords coming back on at about 200 per day but won’t be as high in the search results until your domain authority and page rank come back.

One way to track your keywords is to use Google Webmaster Tools or another tool named Market Samurai.

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Old Domains Keyword Search Queries

You can see from the old domains keyword data available in Webmaster Tools under Your Site on The Web > Search Queries that the figures taken after more than 2 weeks from the domain change.

Old Domains Keyword Search Queries

More than 2 weeks after the domain change the keyword search queries at down 46% and click throughs down 33% on the old domain. These figures are useless because most of the old domains URL’s are no longer indexed.

The real figures are in the next screen shot

New Domains Keyword Search Queries

The new domains keyword search queries are growing because Google is indexing about 200 per day however the data from Webmaster Tools is 2-3 behind.

New Domains Keyword Search Queries

In hindsite it may have been better to add new content to the new domain for 2-3 months before notifying Google of Change of Address in Webmaster Tools as the screenshots above clearly show Google acts immediately when you notify of change of domains.

I’m not expecting my search traffic to get back to where it was until Feb however it should be higher then because of all the new content i am adding on a regular basis.

Crawl Errors

I’ve also noticed significantly more 404 page not found crawl errors after changing domains. One of the reasons for this is that i have a Apache 301 permanent redirect in my htaccess file which slows down the time it takes to access content when a link from the old domain is clicked on.

Even though its nearly 3 weeks after i notified Google Webmaster Tools of Change of Address, i can still see some of my old URL’s indexed in the search Engine Results Pages (SERPS)

Is Changing Domains Worth It

Based on my own personal experience and the facts above, the search engines take a long time to index all keywords in your content and don’t immediately transfer Page Rank (PR) or Domain Authority to your new domain.

Even if your new domain is an exact copy of your old site and you have permanently 301 redirected all URL”s to exactly the same content on a new domain to avoid any duplicate content being indexed, you won’t get back the search traffic for some time.

I’ll report back in a few weeks to see exactly what the progress is.

Have you moved domains or are you thinking about it?

What is the reason you want to make the change?

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