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Does Changing a Site’s Name Affect Rankings?

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Dear Kalena…

I am thinking of changing the name of my internet business site so as to direct more traffic because the current name, while nice, doesn’t really spell out what we do. It is now Gilt-Edge Luxury Tours and Travel and I would like to change it to DC Luxury Tours. However, we have had this site for 10 years and it well indexed by the search engines. Does changing the name (but not the url which would stay the same) have any impact on the search engines? Or would I have to start all over from scratch if I changed the name?

Gilda

Kalena’s Answer:

Dear Gilda

A site name change is not necessarily a problem. It would be different if you were changing your domain or changing your name from one with keywords in it to one without. Losing the word "travel" from your site name may slightly impact your site’s rankings for searches involving the word "travel", but only if you no longer include that word prominently in your site. Your main site heading will no longer include "travel", but you can compensate by making sure that the rest of the site is optimized for travel-related keywords.

The other area that might be impacted is your link popularity. If other sites are currently linking to you using your old name, it might be contributing to your site’s relevancy for "luxury tours and travel". But if ranking for "DC luxury tours" or "DC tours" is actually more important to you, then you should encourage sites already linking to you to change the anchor text of their link to your new site name and of course any new link partners should link to you using your new name. DC Luxury Tours is certainly easier to remember than your old name, so the change should be good from a marketing and usability perspective.

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Does Changing a Site’s Name Affect Rankings?
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About Kalena Jordan
Kalena Jordan was one of the first search engine optimization experts in Australia and New Zealand and is well known and respected in the industry, particularly in the U.S. Kalena was one of the founders of http://www.SearchEngineCollege.com and is currently Director of Studies and SEO tutor for the online training institution. Kalena is a member of SEO Consultants and has spoken at the popular Search Engine Strategies Conferences. She is also a moderator at the Search Engine Watch Forums and author of the popular Search Light newsletter. WebProNews Writer
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