301 Redirect - SEO Rise & Fall

301 Redirect – Changing or Updating New Domain Name

Have you ever thought of trying out 301 redirect to change your domain name, or update your new domain name?

There are many people who wonder what will happen when you completely redirect a domain name that you had for many years and contains many backlinks and listings within the search engines.

Alternatively, we changed a domain name with over 500+ different IP backlinks and 3000 complete backlinks in total.

Of course, this step was a huge risk as the website was ranking very well for certain keywords and we were highly worried that the SEO would drop.

We performed 301 permanent redirect

301 redirect is a permanent redirect of a domain name, meaning that it will be permanent and all SEO ranking that the domain has will be transferred over.

We never used 302 redirects because this would be temporary and we wanted long-term redirects. Therefore 301 redirect was perfect.

  • 301, “Moved Permanently” – Moves most of the website SEO over too
  • 302, “Found” or “Moved Temporarily” – no SEO is moved and redirected anywhere

If you wish to perform the 301 permanent redirect then please check out this full step-by-step guide. If you wish to perform the temporary redirect, then check out this step-by-step guide here.

More info here on how to do a 301 redirect, this is what we used – Click here

The traffic outcome on the new website that we have redirected for the next 12 months

Here is the image which shows the last 12 months of the SEO traffic, let’s have a look at it below in more detail.

Changing Domain Name | 301 Redirect - SEO Rise and Fall

Changing Domain Name | 301 Redirect – SEO Rise and Fall

As you can see above we have 5 different actions taking place over the last 12 months. Let’s explain what each of the figures shown does.

Figure A

This is where we have changed our main domain name to do a 301 redirect, we had a huge spike in traffic, this was expected.

Imagine redirecting 1000 users from an old website to a new website with a 301 permanent redirect.

Clearly, there will be a huge spike of traffic at the beginning as most users visiting your old website will be redirected to your new website or domain name.

Alternatively, we knew that some of the SEO rankings would drop. because it is almost impossible to transfer all SEO ranking whilst performing the 301 (permanent) website redirect.

Figure B

This was the settlement period, traffic was not stable and very spiky, moving like crazy up and down but in a steady stream, this is known as the settlement period.

Figure C

Just as expected the SEO ranks dropped like crazy and the website went from 800 users per day straight down to 500.

This was something we never expected, a huge drop in rankings.

Also, keep in mind that we were receiving around 1100 users per day on our (old) previous website.

So we weren’t happy at all.

Alternatively, we did post around 50 new blog topics back then but that also never help the situation in driving any new SEO traffic.

The SEO traffic just simply kept dropping and dropping.

Finally, and tragically, as more and more backlinks were dropping due to the 301 redirect, the ranks went down and declined, it was one huge disaster.

Figure D

This was a nightmare, we looked at our semRush backlink analytics, and our backlinks went from 200K down to around 2000 (graph below).

SEO dropping due to backlinks (301 redirect)

SEO dropping due to backlinks (301 redirect)

This was a huge SEO disaster but we knew it wouldn’t get any worse from here.

Clearly, the worst was behind, at least we had 2000 strong backlinks.

Also, most of the 200,000 backlinks were from our previous old website domain.

Clearly, this explains the change in backlinks, but we never expected it to be so dramatic.


We posted another 90+ high SEO-related blog posts then but they had no effects on SEO whatsoever until a few months later.

Finally, we started gaining back good backlinks and things started to look good again (see below Figure E)

Figure E

Successfully, as you can see on the graph the traffic started to grow again as more users on the site became active.

Therefore, the SEO ranks and backlinks started growing.

This was great news.

This gave us a little push in the search engines and we started beating some of our competitors.

Our website was reaching peaks of around 1500 users per day and growing, It took a whole year to get where we are before the domain change, as you can see below from the Google Analytics Screenshot.

SEO traffic returned to normal

SEO traffic returned to normal


What have we learned about doing 301 redirects and its effects on Traffic results?

Littery, we have learned that doing a permanent 301 redirect to a new website domain name and moving website files over is a disaster.

Also, no matter what you try and do to save your SEO ranks there will simply be a huge drop in backlinks and SEO ranks.

At the start, we have experienced a huge spike in traffic, but don’t get your hopes up, till the settling period kicks in.

Clearly, there can be an expectation for traffic to normalize after 8/9 months. This is when some form of traffic growth will take place.

Alternatively, this is the rise and fall of doing a 301 redirect.

Also,  we would like to warn you to use 301 redirects on URLs or the whole website if it’s crucially necessary.

If you have no choice, then go for the 301 redirects, but do expect a bumpy ride, something similar to the graph shown above.

5 key points we recommend if you’re going to perform 301 redirects on your website.

  1. Take your time and redirect all top-ranking URL’s from your old website to your new website
  2. Hire a professional if you don’t understand programming as this can become very messy and can lead to even destroying all your hard work.
  3. Keep backups of your old website and SQL database, because things can and will go wrong.
  4. Do not panic when you see a drop in traffic as it will get better later on.
  5. Keep publishing new articles and work hard, things will get better!

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All topics and tutorials on our blog are written and constructed by "Pavel Horvath" a self-taught web developer and SEO enthusiast with over 17 years of experience in online blogging, marketing, and developing music production-related blogs.

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