I migrated my site from its old domain over a month ago. I followed Google Webmaster Tools completely, including 301 redirects from every existing URL to the new domain, and then submitting a change of address. Traffic continued as normal, but then a few days after submitting the change of address traffic plummeted to about 20-30% of what it was previously.

Most of my traffic comes from organic search, and I can see that for the keywords I had targeted before and performed well with and am now ranking much much lower for. In some cases for low competition keywords I've only lost a few places, for higher competition terms I have really suffered. This has started to pick up a bit (one of my keywords I have risen from 195 to 100 in the last week), but it seems to be a very slow process.

How seamless is this process normally? I was under the impression that this would not affect my rankings too severely, but it has now been a month since the move and recovery seems to be very slow, if at all.

Is it likely that I've missed something? The only change is that I have moved what was the home page to be more of a sub-page, and now in its place is a magazine-style home page. I understand that links to the old site will now be pointing to the latter which means that rankings for some keywords attributed to the old home page will take a hit, but even on other pages that seem to fit in exactly the same page structure as the previous site I have seen a drop in rankings.

  • Ever case is unique but after any major site change I've done, I have seen it take 2-4 weeks to rebound. Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 18:43
  • Are you using www and non-www domain names? Do you have a CNAME from www to non-www (or vice-versa)? Are your redirects implemented both for www and non-www urls? Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 19:40
  • Thanks for your replies guys. @JVerstry The old domain was www but the new one is non-www. I don't have a CNAME, no. How do I go about setting that up? My redirects are simply from the www pages on the old site to the non-www ones on the new. Do I need to have them point to www versions on the new domain instead?
    – Ben
    Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 19:59
  • @JVerstry Just checked my DNS and I do have a CNAME from www to non-www set up.
    – Ben
    Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 20:08
  • No, you don't need to forward to www of new domain. If you had backlinks pointing at the non-www old domain, then you might want to set a CNAME from old.com to new.com to pass the juice. Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 20:14

1 Answer 1


This can take a while. It will take Google and Bing to figure things out and make the necessary changes. I would expect 30-60 days though it could be much less.

Unfortunately, making a domain name change is not transparent. It is a huge change as far as search engines are concerned.

My best advice would be to link build and correct any links you can. You want them pointing to your new domain. At some point, the new domain will have to stand on it's own. I recommend building your link profile to your new domain to match as much as possible the link profile of your old domain though it does not have to be exact. In fact, you can likely improve your link profile and benefit from dropping junk links. Take this time to out rank your old domain. Of course this will take time and effort. You will have to do it sooner or later. I assume that you do not want to keep the old domain around forever.

Also know that you will be losing some domain specific metrics that was helping you such as domain age, trust, authority, and so on. 301 redirects cannot help with this. But you can build on this too. Of course domain age you will have to wait for. ;-)

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