Navigating a domain name change is a difficult process, especially when the brand has a significant history in the market and SERPs. A switch can negatively impact search visibility and rankings, so it’s important to approach domain name changes with professional oversight. A regional Michigan-based health organization sought out BlackTruck Media + Marketing for strategic and logistical assistance with their domain name switch and any additional changes needing to be made in the process.
Goals & Objectives
Our client’s primary goal for the domain name swap was to maintain brand visibility in the marketplace and experience a smooth recovery following the changes.
Stats & Figures
- Organic search traffic grew by 170% in the first 60 days after the name swap.
- In the 3 months following the switch, lead generation from search improved by 26%.
- Engagement on the site increased by 72% and the average organic user session time moved from 1:48 to 3:06 after the switch.
- Branded searches recovered within 5% of previous searches following the change.
- Average position improved greatly, keeping the brand in the top of SERPs 25% more than with the previous domain name.
Understanding the major impact a domain name change can have on a brand, BTM briefed our client in advance on the positives and negatives that can come from such a move. Our team outlined a full approach to the process, with a designated focus on the following elements:
- A full mapping of legacy and new site changes for the domain swap.
- Collaboration with the web development team leading change efforts at the DNS level.
- A strategic approach for redirects necessary with changes of this level, which included ongoing client communication about these elements in preparation for launch.
- A post-launch follow-up with an ongoing monitoring of changes.
- The re-indexing of strategy and process with Google, as well as other search engines, to expedite updates within the SERPs.
- Overseeing of changes made to content during the swap, in which vanity pages and those providing commercial intent were determined.
As anticipated, following the domain name change, an immediate downward shift in traffic took place. We had been monitoring a downward trend prior to the launch, and mapped out a 3-month recuperate window, in which we outlined ideal recovery and growth over 30, 60, and 90 day periods.
Within this time frame, organic search quickly regained momentum and reached full recovery. We also saw a notable increase in site engagement, lead generation, and session time, which indicated that the brand was continuing to get meaningful user interaction on the site.
Given our client’s goal of positive brand visibility and recovery, we were pleased to see branded and non-branded search improved well, with impressions and click data for the new domain regaining significant momentum in the SERPs. A domain name switch can create a variety of SEO concerns, but if done strategically and attentively, is more often a positive experience with a notable ROI.