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Using a 301 Redirect is critical to keeping your link ranking when changing URLs or Domains entirely. The 301 Redirect tells a search engine where you are.

Today we are talking about the important 301 Redirect

Okay, so it's been silent on the blog posts for a bit.  There is a good reason, and that reason is here:  Vermont Modular Homes

The website rolled out last night, and we are busy making sure the new domain name works as expected.  There are a lot of things to take into consideration when switching a domain name, as our client Vermont Modular did.  They have been using the domain vtmodular.com for just under 16 years.  That's a lot of Google Juice to lose by changing the domain name!  So what on Earth possessed us to change it, and why is it still okay?

For starters, Google sees the word VT and Vermont as synonymous - meaning anyone can find the page by searching for either VT or Vermont.  In the SERP (Search engine results page), having a domain URL with a keyword that people are searching for makes the URL / Domain more relevant.  Having said that, the domain name vtmodular.com is good, but says nothing about homes.  As such, anyone with a url that has the word home in it could potentially rank higher, even if they are less relevant overall.  That's really not good.

So the solution is to change the domain name to VermontModularHomes.com - which in turn does have the word home in it.  Combined with the website itself containing keywords such as modular and home, instantly the domain name is more credible.  I'm sure you've heard the phrase "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water", and the same really strongly applies here as well.  Remember, 16 years of Google Juice is a lot; and yes, domain age also plays a big factor in domain authority.  So what DO you do in this situation where you want to change your domain name (for SEO reasons or otherwise) but do NOT want to lose your rankings?

Start with 301 redirects:  A 301 redirect tells search engines (and anyone else who comes to the URL) that the content has moved permanently to a new location.  It also tells search engines to update on their end the information they have, so it reflects the new URL and/or file.  Then the magic kicks in, and the Google Juice the old resource had gets passed along to the new resource.  It has been long debated just how much of the PageRank gets lost when you do a 301 redirect.  In the past, typically you would lose some PageRank (Google Juice) while the traffic got passed along to the new site until it normalized.  There was also reports that Google would pass the rank, but other search engines such as Bing and Yahoo would dramatically drop the rankings.  Those reports were from 2010, and we are now in a new digital era!

The truth is, a 301 redirect and a link pass the same amount of PageRank. There is no more dilution of PageRank with a 301 redirect when compared to using a normal link. (source: searchengineland)

So if you're looking to rebrand, rename, or otherwise change your URL - don't be afraid to do so.  Just be very careful to choose a domain name which accurately reflects your business, as well as reflects the general content of the website.  Having this, along with a 301 redirect for the content, will allow you to successfully migrate from an old URL without losing all the hard work you put into the previous URL.

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