Should I keep an old domain name when the website has changed?
I could use some advice. I launched "GreenChairBooks.com" (not the real domain name) as a bookselling site in 2000, but over the years, we added a lot of articles relating to the genre of the books we sold. Since 2010, the site has been an online magazine featuring many different authors, and we no longer sell books at all.
The site/online magazine's official title is now simply "Green Chair" (no longer Green Chair Books) although it's sometimes referred to as "Green Chair Magazine."
Green Chair is fairly well known, has an excellent reputation, 25K Twitter followers, and tens of thousands of visitors each month. There are about 1,500 pages. We have very good Google rankings, although, of course, I'm always working to improve that.
"GreenChairBooks.com" isn't descriptive of the content anymore. While we do publish book reviews several times a month, books are no longer the focus, and we haven't sold books in a decade.
Thinking that it may be less confusing to new visitors, I actually purchased GreenChairMagazine.com (GreenChair.com wasn't available), but haven't used it; it's just been 301 redirected to GreenChairBooks.com since 2018. I think changing the domain name makes sense, but I'm hesitant to make such a big change and worry about the impact that it might have on SEO.
From an SEO standpoint, do you think changing the domain name is a good idea?
TLDR; As long as new domain makes more sense to your (potential) visitors, don't worry about the change from SEO standpoint.
The domain swap should not be judged from SEO standpoint in the first place. That's just something, you have to take care of along the process, but you can't based your judgement on it.
As long as you can make the swap technically correct (1:1 301 redirects from old to new domain), you should be perfectly fine. This is very old topic, domain upgrades happening all the time, and it is Google easily acceptable for Google. The only condition is to make it right.
Thanks for the reply. I've heard that older domains have been favored by Google, and I've also been told before that when URLs change (even with 301s), there may be an impact on the search results for some months. Those have concerned me, as it's taken a lot of effort to get the site where it is, given the competition. :-) Just want to make sure I'm doing the right thing.
It definitely takes some time, while Google handles everything correctly, but if there is no change in site structure, every bit of content is reachable after valid 301 redirect, I see no problem there and such domain swaps are happening more often than you think.
If you are 100% sure that your new domain will work better for you & your visitors, go for it and focus on executing the swap technically right.
Thank you! That's very reassuring.
As per my experience, Google will take care of it if you did follow their guidelines and change the domain. This same thing happened with my client in 2019. FYI, Domain age is the ranking factor or you can say its a little signal for SEO ranking.
Domain age matters so keep old domain.