Step 1: Identify the full scope of your project including the objectives.
The scope is to move from the current domain to the new domain seamlessly, without losing ranking or confusing customers.
Step 2: List key tasks
- Inform Google (and search engines) of the domain name change.
- Inform your clients of the upcoming changes.
Step 3: Moving the site
- Before the move:
- Prepare and revise the communication and all related material destined for your clients
- Write the redirect rule and test it on a development server
- Find and list all pages with absolute references to old domain i.e. URLs that are hardcoded
- Write a script to replace the old URLs directly in the database
- Test the new script on a development database before running it live
- Setup the website with new domain (both domains should work simultaneously)
- Add new domain name to Google search console
- Gradually make the move using search engine tools
- Implement 301 redirects by small sections
- Apply redirect rule on server
- Run a script to find and replace the old URL with the new domain, live in the data base
- Inform Google search console about the move
- Monitor search console for errors and adjust if required
- Identify previously published social media content that ranked highest and replace within it the old domain name with the new one.
Step 4: Confirm the following results:
- Users know that they have been directed to from the old domain to the new domain
- SERPs know that the old_domain.com now points to the new_domain.com permanently.
Reference from Google: Site moves with URL changes https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/6033049?hl=en