Google: Inside Search

Moving to a new domain name

Moving to a new domain name: "  . . . . Having a ccTLD (Country specific top level domain) is only part of the picture. Search Engines determine your target regions via several signals. The ccTLD is an overriding one while hosting is normally the last ditch attempt to work it out. Other factors include your content (do you state your country on the website) and if you have backlinks from a country. With Google at least you can actually tell them what region your based on. Register with Google Webmaster Tools and it's one of your first setting options. So you can save some time and effort if you want and just set that to the UK. Saying that, having a ccTLD does provide an extra signal to users that you are local, which can help on click through rates. If you decide to to the switch, for SEO you want to make sure you 301 Redirect every page on your old domain to their equivalent page on the new domain, and keep that going for as long as possible. You may also want to chase down all the links you have to the old domain and try and get the owners to update them. I'd do the WMT region setting now and give it some time, see if it makes any difference. Then reconsider switching over. I'd suspect switching domains will have no ranking benefit. Your ranking issues may lie somewhere else."

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