Have you ever heard of .yu domain names? If not, then you won’t be disappointed that they’ll stop working after September 30. If you have one then you might be alarmed. What should you do?
The following advice is really for anyone, regardless of whether you have .yu domain or not, who is planning a transfer of domains to a new domain. If you have a .yu domain then you’ll need to start making your transfer as soon as possible. I would not recommend waiting until September. You want your new site working before your old site stops working and if you are planning 301 redirects, forget about it. They won’t work either. The entire .yu block of domains will be dead and so will any links that are pointing to them.
So how do you transfer an old domain to a new domain? Here’s a short list of items that you should keep in mind in your preparations.
- Do a little keyword research first – in other words, update your keyword list to see if your old list is still the best list for your niche – and secure a domain name that is adequate on another TLD; be sure to choose a TLD that is sound and doesn’t have a history of volatility.
- Transfer a handful of pages from your old site to your new site and test them before you move entire site. Do they work and are they visible in all browsers? Is the internal link navigation between them intact?
- If all is good, transfer all of the pages from your old domain to your new domain.
- Check all of your backlinks to your old domain. Are there any that you can control yourself? If so then get those links changed to point to your new domain. Contact the site owners of all other links and request that they change the link to point to your new pages. Make sure that you give those site owners the exact address of the old page being linked to and the exact page URL of the page you want them to link to on your new site. Be prepared for some site owners not complying with your request, which means you’ll lose some of your links, but if you can get most of them changed then you’re off to a rocking start.
- If you have not already done so, change all of your directory listings. For some directories you may need to delete your old listing and submit a new one. Whatever it takes, make sure those directories are listing your new site and not your old one.
- Create and submit a sitemap for your new site to all of the search engines that crawl them.
- Test your new site again for crawlability, navigation, and user friendliness.
- If you are satisfied wit your new site, take your old site down so that your new site can get crawled and indexed with no duplicate content issues. If your site is not a .yu domain and you have reason to believe that it will stay where it is for a long time, use a page-to-page 301 redirect on every page of your website so that you don’t lose any visitors. Your links to the old site should count for PR and link juice to the new site. But in the case of .yu domains, that won’t happen so taking your site down is a better option.
- Continue marketing your new site.
If you do have a .yu domain name, now is the time to start your transfer. The bigger your site the more likely you are to run into problems and the larger those problems are likely to be. You’ll need to plan for contingencies so sooner is better than later.