Moving from country code domain to .com

Many moons ago my tattoo site used to get 30,000+ visitors per day, like many of us building sites in 2002 a hyphen was recommended to separate the words in the domain name so Google could see the keywords, I opted for www.tattoos-by-design.co.uk which looks spammy but ranked well and was a good site, around Sept 2008 Google started pushing the geo location thing and ever since then having the site on the .co.uk domain has been an issue, before the site ranked nicely in Google.com but in the last few years the site didn’t feature in Google.com but would dominate Google.co.uk. All makes sense now and if I’d have originally built it on the .com the issue would never have come up but hindsight is a great thing.

I have owned the various extensions of the domain so it’s never been an issue losing type in traffic, not getting worldwide traffic had caused the site to go from 30,000+ visitors per day down to around 10,000 visitors per day over the last few years. Thankfully I have taken on lot’s of other income sources to the point that I wouldn’t miss any income/adsense from the tattoo site so the time was right to actually move home. On February 1st I moved the site from the .co.uk domain to the .com, all internal url’s were staying the same so it was simply a case of doing a 301 permanent re-direct in the htaccess file. I also told Google about the move in Webmaster Tools – after that I updated quite a few of the links to the site and then waited.

tbd

From Feb 9th to Feb 17th the traffic dipped a lot but I am pleased to report that about 1 week after the initial dip the site was performing at around 95% of where it was before the move. I have read plenty of posts on what to do but hadn’t seen anyone actually move & say how it went, in time I’d like the site to feature in Google.com which was the reason for the move and will really need to start promoting it more so will watch will interest but will also try and get some work done on it, but it’s now on a better cleaner and more worldwide friendly domain name and most importantly of all…no damage done, phew!

About Scott Jones

Scott hails from the north east of Scotland and started earning online at the end of 2000 building websites for local businesses during which time he won an award from Lord Alan Sugar for Excellence in Enterprise. After having quite a bit of success with domaining Scott mainly runs educational evergreen websites which generate over 3 million visitors per month but is always on the lookout for a fresh thinking out of the box way to turn a buck. Follow on Twitter.

Comments

  1. This is something I’ve been wondering about for about 6 months with some of my .co.uk sites – do you lose on traffic from the larger Google.com market of searchers?

    From the sounds of it you probably do, I’d be very interested to hear how that domain performs for organic traffic in the coming months.

    Well done on making the transfer without it all going wrong and good luck with it Scott!

  2. Nice to see you back posting again Scott :)

    I have a site that is on a non country specific topic hosted on a .co.uk domain, I have been thinking of changing to a .com for a couple of years, but as it has a (closed down) forum attached to it i’ve been putting it off for a while. Will be very interesting to see your results; hope that you will post regular updates.

    What was the time frame of the dip in traffic? (unlike you if I lose income from the site, it would affect my lifestyle as I am travelling at the moment).

    Deano

    • The dip was 1 week Deano, so not as painful as I thought it could be, seems there has never been a better time to make the move.

  3. That’s not bad at all. I will watch this closely.
    I have a lot of top 3 ranking keyphrases for this site in the UK, which are nowhere (top 20) in the USA.

    Guess that over time i’d lose the rankings in the UK, but gain in the USA. Wonder how that would affect traffic midterm; guess could be outside the top ten on both; wonder howlong the midterm would last?

    Then there is domain age to consider, three year old .co.uk, one year old .com

    Guess you had a lot of similar thoughts when you made the decission to change domains; guess long term could be worth a lot more traffic!

    • Risk vs Reward, I felt the time was right so will revisit this as and when anything happens further but the plunge has been taken.

  4. Good post Scott and pleased to hear it all went well for you. My loft conversions is very much a UK only site so I’ve never been bothered about a .com for that site. However, I do have another product related site that is currently on a .co.uk and I would like to get some traffic from the US, so I am considering buying a .com for it.

    The only concern is what to do with affilliate sales – no point having UK products for sale on a US site.

  5. I’m glad to see you’re back. I was wondering about this site just yesterday, and today I see a healthy helping of posts…

    Anyway, where is the site hosted? If it’s hosted in the UK, perhaps you could consider the (sometimes not worth the hassle) idea of moving it to a server based in the US? Just an idea.

    I guess it would be good to wait and see if the traffic increase is worth it…

  6. Hey Scott,

    I moved my blog and posted some results feel free to look:

    http://www.makemoneyontheinternet.com/moving-my-blog/

    I didn’t include traffic figures and instead referred to rankings in Google as an indicator of success.

    Chris

  7. I haven’t moved from a .co.uk to a .com but have moved a site from one .co.uk to a different .co.uk domain. It went without a hitch – exactly as you describe and traffic is now better than ever.

    I think there’s a lot of fear about changing domains but done correctly (with 301s) it is a fairly safe process now.

    Roland

  8. 10,000 visitors a day is fantastic, 30,000 is just boombastic. The best I can do on any of my sites is 2.5k/day (and that was around Christmas), so I’m not in a position to offer advice but will certainly like to see if you do start to get ranked in google.com.

  9. Stick a Translator on it!

    Also where the domain is hosted is a factor effecting “world results.” Domains I have simply moved to the USA to host have done far beter than the same domain on a UK Server.. go figure!

  10. Looks like a sound move, a little bit of short term pain for some long term gain:)

  11. I have noticed for one of my sites that I rank a lot better on Google.ca than on Google.com and as I’m from Finland and my server is in Texas on a dot com domain I can only believe it’s the inbound links that skews the geo targeting.

    I have some prominent links from sites that seem to be used by a lot of Canadians even if I don’t know if the site itself is in Canada (not on a dot ca at least)

    So watch out where you get your link if you want specific geo targeting.

    Simon

  12. Didn’t realize one can switch from a localized site like .co.uk to .com Have read somewhere that one can also completely change a site’s url. That’s wicked!
    Scott, I think obviously because you localized your site to .co.uk tells (told) Google in the first place that it’s probably more important in that region than worldwide. This is exactly why your results would trigger on the first pages within the UK but not worldwide.

  13. I really like the way you can set a .com to geotarget the UK.

    If you hosted the domain in the US would that not help for .com?

  14. Hi Scott,

    Is your current site hosted in the UK?
    Are your registration details in the UK?
    Currently from where does most of your traffic come?

    My instinct would be that if you’re hosted in the UK and if your registration details are open and you 301 it, that it probably stands a fair chance of retaining good rankings however, as you probably know, .co.uk sites tend to dominate many UK SERPs and especially so with Google.

    The one good thing is that if it fails miserably that reverting to the .co.uk should not be an issue and should regain rankings rapidly.

    An interesting experiment, let us know how it goes.

  15. I am not an expert of this but for some who have that kind of site they usually consider the strategy of buying a .com that will redirect to the their original site. This can help in getting visitors from other places. Not really sure about the impact of this strategy.

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