Many people don’t realize that when they want to move their website to a new domain or do a redesign, it can possibly hurt your site performance in the search engines. There are ways to do this without hurting your rankings.
301 redirects are very helpful, especially if you are moving from an old domain to a new domain. A 301 redirect is a search engine friendly way to redirect your webpages to another website or webpage. The code 301 is interpreted as “moved permanently” and tells the search engines that the old website or webpage has moved to a new domain or new webpage.
If your website is listed in directories or linked to other websites, it is ideal to contact the webmaster of each site that links to yours to update the links. If this isn’t possible, another option is make sure the 301 redirect is in place so when someone clicks on your old link it will redirect to the new one.
Make sure you create a Sitemap of your website. This is helpful in making sure the spiders crawl your entire site. Make sure that the Sitemap is submitted to Google and Yahoo, so their spiders know that it is available to be crawled.
It’s also helpful to create a custom 404 page, which lists a link back to your website’s homepage as well as any other useful links or a search bar. That way, if a user happens to land on a non existent page on your site, they can search for what they’re looking for or just go back to the homepage.