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Move a domain from NL to COM TLD for SEO

Published 16 February 2021 10:17 (4-minute read)

I noticed that I got a lot of visitors from countries that are the closest to my origin. My domain is with a .nl-TLD, and now I want to see if there could be a positive ranking impact for worldwide reach when I change it to the .com-TLD. Let's dive into it!

You can view the search results for a specific country via particular parameters in the URL.

  • gl = from a specific country
  • hl = language to use

So let's start this test by checking what positions I'm in at this moment. After that, I will move my domain to the .com-TLD.

Disclaimer: I know there could be more factors that may impact my organic ranking.

Test results: 16 February 2021

Here are the organic rankings as of 16 February 2021. These are gathered via an incognito browser session. Also, the results are for a specific country & language.

The United Kingdom & English (position 11): https://www.google.com/search?q=what+is+real+user+monitoring&gl=uk&hl=en

The United States & English (position 8): https://www.google.com/search?q=what+is+real+user+monitoring&gl=us&hl=en

Netherlands & English (position 5): https://www.google.com/search?q=what+is+real+user+monitoring&gl=nl&hl=en

Netherlands & Dutch (position 1): https://www.google.com/search?q=what+is+real+user+monitoring&gl=nl&hl=nl

Germany & English (position 8): https://www.google.com/search?q=what+is+real+user+monitoring&gl=de&hl=en

Germany & German (position 7): https://www.google.com/search?q=what+is+real+user+monitoring&gl=de&hl=de

India & English (position 16): https://www.google.com/search?q=what+is+real+user+monitoring&gl=in&hl=en

India & Hindi (position 8): https://www.google.com/search?q=what+is+real+user+monitoring&gl=in&hl=hi

So now we have the results, let's start the migration of the domain.

Change the TLD

To start with the move of the TLD, I first installed the new domain on a server. This can be achieved via Forge or Ploi. These are the server management tools I use.

After the installation, I moved the storage folder to the new project. Here are all my files (for example, screenshots) stored.

Time redirect the .nl-TLD to the new .com-TLD. I added the following redirect to my NGINX configuration for robindirksen.com.

    location / {
        rewrite ^/(.*)$ https://robindirksen.com/$1 redirect;
    }

This redirects all requests to the .nl-TLD to the new domain.

Inform Google about the domain change

Via Google Search Console, you can inform Google about the change of your website address.

Google does a quick check on your domain's known URLs to see if the redirect is correct.

It shows the tested URL add lets you think twice before you start the move.

After you confirmed the change, it will start to move the old to the new domain. This could take a few hours/days before it's completed.

Google also shows on the new property in Search Console that another domain is being moved to the property.

Test results: 1 March 2021

I checked Google Analytics and saw a drop in visitors last week. But now, it's back to normal with the number of visitors.

Also, in Search Console, it's visible the site is almost moved to the new TLD.

Here are the performance results of the .nl domain.

And, of course, also the .com domain.

Also, tools like Ahrefs see the changes:

Let's wait another week to see the new results.

Test results: 26 March 2021

It's now more than a month ago that I migrated my site. It's starting to get some traffic and looks like it's back at the normal amount of visitors. Here is the screenshot of Google Analytics for the period from 16 February 2021 till 25 March 2021.

There is a drop in the organic search position. But it's still growing to the original position before the move from the NL to COM TLD.

Test results: after the migration

So, now it's time to wait before the traffic is coming to the new .com-TLD. Let's hope this will have some positive impact on my organic ranking positions.

I'll update this post with more information about 1-2 months from now.

Sources I used during the migrations:

Robin Dirksen
Robin Dirksen

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