An insight on the relation of Domain and SEO, and how it impacts your digital footprint altogether.
When you are running a website, the digital footprint you build plays an imperative role in how your website fares among search engines. But be it a blog, online store, or a video stream, the goals are more or less the same – get traffic, create awareness, and generate conversions. To achieve this, webmasters spend vast amounts of their time increasing their organic web traffic, improving conversion volumes, and practicing different SEO techniques to enhance the visibility of their brand.
At some point on this online journey, there may come a time when you feel your website needs to achieve certain milestones in order to grow and establish a stronger position in the market. During this phase, you may come across the decision of changing your domain name to re-brand for expansion, enter a more popular TLD, or increase your digital marketing potential.
What happens when you switch domains?
Unfortunately, moving domains can do a serious number on your search engine rankings. Not because your brand virtually disappears for a short while, but because top search engines such as Google determine rankings through metrics based on both domain level and page level. When you decide to switch to a new domain, you basically reset these domain metrics back to zero. Fortunately, there are ways where you can minimize the damage and if you are careful, you can effectively negate the effects of moving to a new domain.
In this article, we are taking the opportunity of explaining why website owners change their domains and the imminent and long term effects domain changing can bring on their SEO. We have also added a mini-guide that will help you get a proper walk-through on migrating your old domain to the new one.
Why do webmasters consider changing their domain?
In the vast majority of situations, website owners refrain from changing their domain name. However, some conditions may require webmasters to transition into new domain names in order to achieve certain merits that come with it. Here are some of the reasons why.
1. They don’t like the domain name
Often, website owners need a change in taste or outlook to increase relevance with their business and distinguish their position in the marketplace.
2. The domain does not perform well
Perhaps the domain name has failed to accumulate the organic traffic volume or positive feedback that was expected. This prevents webmasters from and achieving their business goals.
3. Change in business
Many online businesses experience transition in their business model, go through an acquisition, change business activity or switch industry. This makes the current domain irrelevant or inapplicable with the current incorporated status of the business.
4. You want a better top-level domain (TLD)
Webmasters also register with lesser-known domain extensions since their desired one is unavailable at that time. Once the opportunity presents itself you might want to move to a more mainstream TLD that suits your business and brand presence.
What challenges does changing domains bring on SEO?
SEO is a key determinant in this entire process and counts as one of the central pieces in the digital marketing toolbox. So, while we know that moving to a new domain directly affects your SEO efforts, the question is how far does it impact your website’s SEO performance or in what ways does it deter its progress.
For new website owners, it may take time to properly understand the implications of changing a domain name. For instance, if you are moving to a new domain name and you have sold your old one, you will lose all the link equity you had built over the life of the old domain. This means your organic traffic takes a nosedive and your domain authority begins to diminish.
Moreover, failing to implement proper redirects during the migration can result in almost immediate loss of traffic. Once you lose your live page front, the only thing greeting your visitors is the dreaded 404 page. It is also important to timely convey your website’s search engine rankings to the new domain since Google search engine metrics will consider your new domain with zero visibility. Another major challenge is content duplication since your site could already be going through canonicalization issues and may start at the domain level. This will eventually exacerbate plagiarism and you will need to implement a canonical URL extension helps you remove duplicate content issues.
Website owners who dearly care about their online presence will never risk losing their link value or quality score they have earned so tirelessly. Therefore, the best course of action during domain migration is to maintain strict adherence to Google’s migration guidelines and track every change with proper tools to remain informed about your website’s progress. Sometimes even the slightest change in direction can end up with several undesired outcomes further down the line.
SEO guide: How to properly move domains
Here your main objective is to effectively redirect all of the pages to an entirely different domain. This guide by MOZ will briefly take you on a step-by-step action plan of doing it professionally and keeping your rankings abreast. Moz also underwent a re-branding phase where it changed its domain name from SEOmoz to Moz so there is a lot here that you can learn from the SEO behemoth.
- Your old domain will need a sitemap so your first step would be to create one
- Develop content for the new domain, such as the description of your company, about us, contact information, mission statement and other basics that can be easily linked
- Now once you have set up the domain, its time you make it live
- Go to Google Webmaster Tools and get your new domain and old domain registered and verified
- To inform your visitors about the transition, enable a 404 page with the old domain so your visitors remain aware of the process and the new domain
- Test the redirects in the development environment from the old domain to the new one. (This should be a 1:1 redirect)
- Now implement a 301 redirect for your old domain to the new domain
- To allow search engines to crawl your old URLs, submit the old sitemap to search engines such as Google and Bing. (You can change their index accordingly as the submission pages are within Bing Webmaster Center and Google Webmaster Tools)
- From Google Webmaster Tools, open and fill up the “Change Address”
- To make sure all URLs have been verified by Google and Bing, create a new sitemap and submit it to the search engines
- Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Center will run the diagnostics for the sitemap and fix any errors found
Now you are good to go. To make sure your new domain is stable and properly indexed you must monitor search engine results.
Don’t forget to drop a comment with your queries about changing domains.
Facebook’s gaming efforts and challenge to Twitch are taking another big leap today, as the social network begins the initial rollout of a dedicated Facebook Gaming tab in the main navigation of Facebook’s app. The goal with the new addition is to help people more easily find games, streamers and gaming groups they follow, as well as discover new content, based on their interests.
After clicking the new Gaming tab, there will be a feed of content that points you to instant games you can play with friends; videos to watch from top streamers, esports organizations, and game publishers; and updates from your various gaming groups, the company says.
The new Facebook Gaming tab builds on the gaming video destination the site launched last year as Fb.gg. That hub had offered a collection of all the video games streaming on Facebook, and a way to for gamers and fans to interact. As a top-level navigation item, Facebook’s new Gaming tab will now further extend the gaming hub’s reach.
While Twitch and YouTube are today dominating the gaming space, Facebook’s advantage – beyond its scale – are its promises of a reduced cut of transactions. On Fb.gg, gamers were able to attract new fans with the aid of Facebook’s personalized recommendations based on users’ activity, and then monetize those viewers through a virtual tipping mechanism.
Facebook’s cut of those tips ranges from 5 to 30 percent, with the cut getting smaller when users buy larger packs of the virtual currency. Meanwhile, Facebook’s fan subscriptions payments for streamers also see it taking a cut of up to 30 percent, the same as YouTube but smaller than Twitch’s roughly 50 percent.
That could potentially attract streamers who want to maximize their earnings and believe they can port their audience over to a new destination. Of course, some streamers may not trust Facebook to maintain those same percentages over time, nor believe it will ever offer the sorts of features and innovations that a more focused gaming destination like Twitch can.
Facebook also last year experimented with making its gaming hub mobile with the launch of Fb.gg as a standalone mobile app.
The app, like the web-based gaming hub, offered a way for gamers and fans to discover content, join communities, and even play instant games like Everwing, Words with Friends, Basketball FRVR, and others.
However, the strategy of keeping Facebook’s Gaming efforts more separated from Facebook’s main site may not have paid off – the Fb.gg Android app, for example, only has some 100,000+ installs according to Google Play.
Instead, much like YouTube recently decided – Facebook will now leverage the power of its platform to boost interest in its gaming content.
YouTube in September said it was giving its Gaming hub a new home right on the YouTube homepage, and would shut down its standalone Gaming app. (The latter doesn’t seem to have occurred, however). As YouTube noted, gaming was a popular category, but the majority of viewers weren’t looking for a separate app or experience – they were just visiting YouTube directly.
Similarly, Facebook today says that over 700 million people play games, watch gaming videos or engage in gaming groups on Facebook. That’s a far larger number than those who downloaded the Fb.gg app, and surely a much larger number than those who have been visiting the Fb.gg destination directly.
That said, Facebook is continuing its tests on mobile with a standalone (rebranded) Facebook Gaming app on Android, which will have more features that the Gaming tab.
Facebook says it will roll out the Gaming tab to a subset of the over 700 million Facebook game fans, and will expand it over time to more gaming enthusiasts across the network. If you don’t see the new tab in your main navigation bar, you can still find it by going to the Bookmarks menu on Facebook.
Rather than just focus on Facebook’s problems like his 2018 challenge, this year Mark Zuckerberg wants to give transparency to his deliberations and invite the views of others. Today he announced his 2019 challenge will be “to host a series of public discussions about the future of technology in society — the opportunities, the challenges, the hopes, and the anxieties.” He plans to hold the talks with different leaders, experts and community members in a variety of formats and venues, though they’ll all be publicly viewable from his Facebook and Instagram accounts or traditional media.
This isn’t the first time Zuckerberg has held a series of public talks. He ran community Q&A sessions in 2014 and 2015 to take questions directly from his users. The idea for Facebook Reactions for expressing emotions beyond “Likes” first emerged during those talks.
From his initial framing of the 2019 challenge, though, it already sounds like Zuckerberg sees more Facebook as the answer to many of the issues facing society. He asks, “There are so many big questions about the world we want to live in and technology’s place in it. Do we want technology to keep giving more people a voice, or will traditional gatekeepers control what ideas can be expressed? Should we decentralize authority through encryption or other means to put more power in people’s hands? In a world where many physical communities are weakening, what role can the internet play in strengthening our social fabric?”
The implied answers there are “people should have a voice through Facebook,” “people should use Facebook’s encrypted chat app WhatsApp,” and “people should collaborate through Facebook Groups.” Hopefully the talks will also address how too much social media can impact polarization, self-image and focus.
[Update: Zuckerberg asked me in the comments of his posts for some format and speaker suggestions. My ideas include:
- A formal debate between him and a civil but pointed critic.
- An independent moderator asking him questions with no pre-brief and/or selecting questions from public submissions.
- A talk where he’s challenged to never say the word “Facebook” while discussing larger issues facing society & technology.
- A mythbusting talk where he addresses the biggest Facebook conspiracy theories. An open discussion between him and Jack Dorsey.
- A referendum where he asks or is asked questions where the public can select from multiple-choice answers, with him then discussing the publicly visible tallies.
- A discussion with an early employee like Ruchi Sanghvi, Leah Pearlman or Naomi Gleit about how Facebook’s culture and priorities have changed.
- A talk with Bill Gates and Warren Buffet on longitudinal approaches to philanthropy.
- A round-table with high-achieving high school students about the next generation’s concerns about privacy and the internet.
- A talk with the heads of Messenger (Stan Chudnovsky), Instagram (Adam Mosseri), and WhatsApp (Chris Daniels) about how the arms of the company work together.
- A panel with top Facebook Group and Page admins about what the app’s most dedicated users want from the product.]
It’s nice that one of the de facto leaders of the world will shed more light on his thoughts. But given Zuckerberg is prone to sticking to his talking points, the public would benefit from talks held by moderators who don’t give the CEO all the questions ahead of time.
Hearing Zuckerberg’s candid thoughts on the inherent trade-offs of “bringing the world closer together” or “making the world more open and connected” could help users determine whose interests he has at heart.
Zuckerberg’s past challenges have been:
2009 – Wear a neck tie every day
2010 – Learn Mandarin Chinese
2011 – Only eat animals he killed himself
2012 – Write code every day
2013 – Meet a new person who isn’t a Facebook employee every day
2014 – Write a thank-you note every day
2015 – Read a new book every two weeks
2016 – Build an artificial intelligence home assistant like Iron Man’s Jarvis
2017 – Visit all 50 states he hadn’t already to meet and talk to people
2018 – Fix Facebook’s problems
Google Attribution 360
Just like with the free product, Attribution 360 is easy to set up, works across channels and across devices, and makes taking action easy. Both products also offer data-driven attribution, which uses machine learning to determine how much credit to assign to each step in the consumer journey. In addition, Attribution 360 is designed to be highly customizable and can measure ads from DoubleClick Campaign Manager. This means that you can get a view of your marketing performance that matches up with how you view your business. The new version of Attribution 360 is currently in beta, and will launch more broadly later this year.
Here’s how Attribution 360 is designed to solve the enterprise attribution challenge:
Attribution 360 offers seamless integrations with Google Analytics, DoubleClick Campaign Manager, DoubleClick Bid Manager, and DoubleClick Search. You’ll get all your marketing event data in Attribution 360 with no need for retagging and no data loss between systems. You simply link your accounts and reports will usually be available within 48 hours.
“The setup process for Attribution 360 reduced the time to first data from 3 months to just a matter of weeks. Using Google Analytics data was so much easier, we already had our GA tags onsite and validated. It just made life so much easier.” – Eric Bernhard, Marketing Innovation Manager at Dixons
Attribution 360 has a rich set of features to simplify the challenge of importing and managing your external data sources. You can ensure that your data is complete and correct with enhanced preview capabilities, in-product data quality reporting, and the ability to reprocess your data if you make changes to your setup.
The TV Attribution feature within Attribution 360 helps businesses integrate digital and broadcast data to understand their cross-channel performance. Good news: TV Attribution is now included in Attribution 360 with no extra cost and is available directly in the Attribution 360 UI.
Easy to take action
Of course the insights you get are only valuable if you can put them into action. Here are two ways Attribution 360 makes it easy:
- The in-product Digital Optimizer lets you explore a variety of optimization scenarios to inform future marketing investments and make your media more effective and efficient.
- Programmatic connectors send results directly to bidding platforms so your media buys use the most accurate attribution data.
Here’s how one of our customers, Confused.com, uses Attribution 360 to improve their search advertising.
Confused.com increases paid search conversions by 28% with Google Attribution 360
Launched in 2001, Confused.com was the first insurance comparison site in the United Kingdom. This 100% e-commerce company helps people save money on car insurance and related services.
Paid search is a critical part of Confused.com’s acquisition strategy. CEO Martin Coriat challenged his marketing team to improve paid search with data-driven insights.
To more deeply understand how people really interact with Confused.com’s marketing messages, the team implemented Attribution 360. Data-driven attribution insights showed each keyword’s role in the customer journey and the associated value to Confused.com. As suspected, data-driven attribution gave Confused.com proof of over-investment on some lower-funnel keywords.
Attribution 360 also revealed opportunities to invest in untapped upper-funnel keywords. Using these insights, the team was able to take immediate action in re-allocating spending to help drive up quote requests by 28% at a lower cost per acquisition.
“With careful data analysis and insights from Attribution 360, we’ve increased our quote volume and lowered our overall cost per acquisition. We’re now able to re-invest what we’ve saved back into paid search and put real pressure on our competitors.” – Sophia Glennon, PPC Manager at Confused.com You can read the full Confused.com case study here.
We look forward to sharing more updates on Attribution and Attribution 360 as we continue to invest in features and expand availability to more marketers.
Posted by Stefan Schnabl, Product Manager, Google Attribution 360