How much does changing your domain name hurt your Shopify SEO?

Last week a JSON-LD for SEO customer replied to my article about the impacts of changing your Shopify domain with a few questions.

We currently have the domain example.com as our primary domain but I really would like to change it to example.net still have example.com as a secondary domain. […]

How bad is that. Shopify tells me no problem. My tech guy is telling me don’t do it.

So there are multiple sides to this.

Shopify is correct in that changing your domain is no problem. You just change it in their backend and point the new domain to Shopify.

Easy right?

Except that will wipe out your SEO. Whoops!

I have an SEO consultant friend who has setup and done domain moves like this. We’ve talked about this topic a lot.

He says even if you do everything correctly (redirects, no content changes, etc) you’re still looking at a minimum of 6 months of lower/no organic traffic while Google refreshes things. Maybe even a year before your back to where you are now.

Sometimes domain moves are good for brand or company reasons but it will always have a major impact on SEO.

I’d agree more with your tech guy.

You absolutely can switch domains but I’d recommend

  1. waiting until a slow season
  2. having an SEO consultant help who can handle the technical aspects of the move, not just a marketing-type of SEO consultant, and
  3. be prepared for weak organic traffic for at least 6 months. (maybe scale up paid traffic during this time to help revenue?).

One thing that is useful is to register the new domain and put a simple HTML landing page on it with a link to your main store.

That will start to age the domain and show Google it’s a legitimate website. It won’t attract traffic but when you switch domains, the new one will already be associated to your old website and trusted by Google.

Hopefully this explains how much this change can hurt your short-term SEO. I’ve seen stores do this without anyone explaining the full impacts.

Once you do get your new domain back into Google’s good graces, then you can start to pick up search enhancements like Rich Results.

That’s why adding structured data to your Shopify store can be a valuable option.

With JSON-LD for SEO it’s even easier. The app will automatically add the data needed for search enhancements like Rich Results and Rich Snippets on products, blog posts, landing pages, and more.

Already trusted by a few thousand Shopify stores since 2015, it’s the safe and efficient choice for structured data.

Eric Davis

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