Will Changing Your Domain Name Affect Your SEO?

  •    Marketing Manager at MarketGoo, an SEO application for businesses looking to optimize their websites for search engines.

You should be clear on what domains and subdomains are, and what it means to change them before going in to whether they affect your SEO. If you just want quick Yes or No to answer the question, then go ahead and scroll to the bottom!

What is Your ‘Domain Name’?

Domain name (or just ‘domain’) means the address of your website - what people type into their browser in order to visit your site. For instance, Weebly’s domain is www.weebly.com.

What about the page you’re on right now, or the main Weebly Inspiration Center page, or even the blog? Web addresses like www.weebly.com/inspiration/ or www.weebly.com/blog/ are URLs for pages that live on the domain name, in this case Weebly’s, but they do not refer to the domain itself.

When we talk about a changing your domain name, it means changing this main web address to another one. As a Weebly user, one of the changes you may consider is moving from a free subdomain to your own domain.

Subdomain vs Domain

So what’s a subdomain? It’s a subset of your domain. As an example, while yourwebsite.weebly.com is a subdomain. of weebly.com; and yourwebsite.com would simply be a domain.

Some sites have their blog as a subdomain of their site, for instance Nordstrom’s blog address is https://blogs.nordstrom.com. As we already saw, Weebly’s blog is not on a subdomain, since it’s address is weebly.com/blog.



Examples of subdomains

Which One is Better for SEO?

There is a misconception that sites using a Weebly subdomain will not show up in Google unless you acquire a paid plan - this is not true. The only time your site wouldn’t be indexed is if you checked the option in Settings > SEO to hide it from search engines.

However, if you’d like to use your site to sell goods or services, as a professional portfolio, or any other purpose where it’s important your visitors have a good first impression, having your own domain without any external branding is a good idea.

They’re both fine from an SEO standpoint.

Changing From a Weebly Subdomain to Your Own Domain Name

In order to switch from a subdomain on Weebly to your own domain, follow these instructions. You’ll have to go to your site Settings and change the Site Address.

What if you previously chose a domain name but then caught a typo, or just don’t like it anymore? Weebly Support can help you change it, if you make your request within 5 days of purchasing the domain. If more time has passed, then you need to register a new domain.

To do this, click the Domains tab on the upper left after logging in. Then:

  • Click Register on the right side of the page.
  • Go through the steps to register your new domain.
  • Go to edit your website.
  • Click the Settings tab.
  • Change the site address to the new domain by selecting the third and last option: a domain that you already own.
  • Publish your site.

This is the screen you’ll see

So what happens to your site’s SEO status when you make the switch? Weebly automatically forwards your old .weebly.com subdomain to the new domain name for you. You shouldn’t have any major issues after the switch.

If you’re changing an already existing domain to another different domain name, you have to follow the same instructions. If you didn’t purchase your domain through Weebly (using other registrars like GoDaddy), then you need help from your domain registrar to point to the new site, and don’t forget about 301 redirects.

Unpublished Sites & SEO

To be able to start gaining traffic and appear on search results, remember that you need to publish your site. Otherwise, search engines like Google and SEO tools like MarketGoo won’t be aware of your site’s existence nor will they be able to scan your site.

TL;DR - Just Tell Me Whether It Affects My SEO or Not!

Changing your domain name will not affect your SEO as long as you properly follow the instructions to make the switch.