As I’m changing my domain from .com to co.uk sometime next week I though I’d document the process from an SEO point of view.
1. Change all internal links to point to the new domain. If you are doing this on a text server block from google until your are ready as you don’t want the new domain to be indexed containing duplicate content.
2. Add in you 301 re-direct from the old domain to the new. Make sure you also re-direct inner pages from the old domain to the new domain.
3. Re-run your xml sitemap and update the sitemap reference in the robots.txt
Sitemap : http://www.aukseo.co.uk/sitemap.xml
4. Submit a new site to webmaster tools, verify and submit the new sitemap
5. If possible point some links at the new domain this should help with the indexing of the site. If possible change any external links to point directly at the new domain, if you can’t do this don’t worry too much as the links will still have effect due to the 301.
6. Make sure you change anything that depends on your domain, analytics, feedburner, ranking software and payment systems.
EDIT : 14/07/09
7. On Google Webmater Tools verify the new site and use the change of address tool under the Site Configuration to notify Google that your changing to a new domain.
Give Google a couple of days and then check back by using the site: command in Google on the old domain. You should start to see the page reduce from the old domain to the new domain.
If you have some stragglers of pages that don’t re-direct to the new domain then use a HTML Sitemap and point links to the old url’s. This should give Google a reason to index the link. From experience this works but don’t worry too much if the old page doesn’t move over as they still will receive traffic they used to do. Once indexed remove the links from the sitemap.
Any other ideas please add to the comments below!