A Step by Step Guide to Changing Your Domain Name with Minimal Impact to Your Web Site's Rankings
In 99% of the cases when someone asks us how to change their domain name without losing rankings, our advice is simple...DON'T!
It's been our experience that many site developers are far too eager to change their domain names. In fact, unless the new domain is really (and we mean really) outstanding or the old domain is absolutely terrible, the potential drawbacks to changing a domain name far outweigh the advantages.
Regardless, there are some good long term reasons to change your domain. Say you've been using a very poor domain name for years, and finally the perfect domain, with your company or brand name becomes available. Sometimes, that's an opportunity just too good to pass up. However, switching domain names should be carefully considered in a long term scenario. Do not switch just because another TLD (top level domain) like .biz opened up allowing you to get companyname.biz or keywordkeyword.info.
We're now in a period where brand signals are quite important. The brand signals that Google is looking for include naturally occurring links to your site with your company name / product name, or combo of Brand and Keyword.
For example: Chevy Trucks would have Chevy as the brand and Trucks as the keyword. A site that's well established with lots of naturally occurring links over a long period of time will suffer if those brand signals are lost in a domain change.
The bottom line is: Changing your domain name can be tricky and it's easy to lose rankings if it's not done correctly.