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I'm considering changing my clients URL. Reasons being the following: - We're rebranding his company - Currently, the domain has the small town, outside of the city, in the name. However, for his specific practice, he generally owns the market for his niche locally, and doesn't have competitors for a much larger radius than just the small town the domain is in. So instead we want to include the city's name instead, which is available. - The domain would be the same as the branding

Upon launch of the new domain, we'll also be launching a newly built website, new sitemap, URL structure, everything.

My thoughts were to redirect the entire domain to the new one as a 301 redirect, THEN redirect to HTTPS.

All older pages would redirect to the page that most clearly matches the topic, or to a 404 page.

According to Moz, all link equity would be passed. (Short article here: https://moz.com/blog/301-redirection-rules-for-seo ) However, it seems risky.

What is the true risk?

  • I would say that 301s is the least of your concerns. Check my answer below – Raul Reyes Jan 29 '18 at 22:16
  • did I answer your question :)? – Raul Reyes Jan 30 '18 at 23:59
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I would like to start by recommending you to avoid 301 redirects chains as much as possible. Redirecting the old domain to the new http domain and then to the https is unnecessary, as far as redirecting the old domain goal concerns. You can definitely do that with your new http to https domain to establish the canonical site.

As long as you do a proper URL mapping from the old domain and create a friendly http 404 page with links to other related pages the risk of loosing page rank will be very low, according to Google cero, nada. To avoid any risk in that department try to maintain what you are doing, you are using 301 redirects in a thoughtful and honest way, that is basically the purpose of 301 redirects, basically declaring that your site has been moved onto another address.

In terms of rankings or in terms of the risk of loosing your position in SERP I believe that you might experiment a lost in the position but with an expected recovery once Google reindex the new site and pass on the authority of the old site. However, You need to be aware of loosing rankings from potentially more than 200 other ranking factors that will have to be reassessed once you have the new website live. You might lose rankings for changing the layout, website structure and design, having new content, etc. You might also loose ranking even by changing servers, the website will have a different location to serve content from, impact in performance will also be playing an important part.

  • "Redirecting the old domain to the new http domain and then to the https is unnecessary, as far as redirecting the old domain goal concerns. You can definitely do that with your new http to https domain to establish the canonical site." Can you expand on this a bit? Redirect directly from old HTTP to new HTTPS? – J Robz Jan 29 '18 at 22:46
  • There are other considerations. One is domain age. The OP will lose any advantage to having an older domain which is a key factor in the domain trust score. As well, adding a city name in the domain will do absolutely nothing making the expense in changing domain names a reason to fire him. Instead, learn how to target your locale search more effectively. – closetnoc Jan 29 '18 at 23:00
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    @JRobz from the old domain server you don't need to redirect to the new HTTP version of the new domain, redirect straight to the HTTPS version. In the new domain server, you will need to set the rules to redirect from HTTP to HTTPS, this will help you to define which domain is the canonical. Makes sense? – Raul Reyes Jan 30 '18 at 2:06
  • Ah Okay, yes I understand! – J Robz Feb 4 '18 at 16:04

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