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Core: Primary Domain Name


This document explains the process for changing the primary domain name on a Core website.


Customer Care vs Pro Services

If core info was entered incorrectly by G5, or if there is some kind of legal/exceptional reason, Customer Care will handle this project. Otherwise, regardless of whether G5 will charge for the project (CPM may decide to waive the fee), the project needs to go through Pro Services for the following reasons:

  1. The project requires a Project Manager to coordinate resources across different teams, and to ensure accuracy and timeliness

  2. The project constitutes a major change to the configuration of a location's SEO strategy, PPC campaigns and website configuration


CPM Responsibilities

  1. Make sure request to change info is valid and understand the impact:

    1. SEO: The new domain will have to gain trust with search engines and most likely will negatively impact organic rankings

    2. PPC: changing the domain in the paid ads could temporarily impact their quality score

  2. Discuss the alternative of entering a domain forward to their current domain, as this is the least disruptive option

  3. Advise the client that if they have email associated with either of the domains, it will be up to them to manage the transition, as G5 does not provide email services

  4. If the client understands the negative impact of changing their domain but still wants to proceed, submit a Pro Services project (or Customer Care ticket if it is a G5 mistake) to complete the domain change


Client Responsibilities

  1. Secure the domain name and provide G5 access to Registrar/DNS records for both old and new domains or set up communications between G5 and tech person

  2. If they want their lead notification email addresses associated with their new domain, they need to provide the new e-mail addresses and corresponding locations.

  3. If they are changing their own email addresses, let Customer Care know and update their CC/SC logins and


Project Manager Responsibilities

  1. Scoping and Pricing for the task

  2. Notify teams of the change

  3. Determine if the current domain is in the G5 GoDaddy domain account (see Domains tab). If so, submit ticket to IT (it.support@getg5.com) requesting the current domain auto-renew be turned off.

  4. Delete old domain name in the CC domains tab (note, only certain individuals have the permissions to edit this field)

  5. Create new domain in domains tab

  6. Submit Pivotal Tracker story to Web builders to setup Google Analytics tracking code for the new domain

  7. Insert new Google Maps key

  8. Coordinate with Engineering to reboot nginx

  9. Repoint the A-record

  10. Ensure old domain forwards to new domain

  11. Edit all interior links that are not dynamically created and QA the site


Engineering Responsibilities

  1. Reboot nginx before the IP address is pointed at the platform

    1. Note: the site will go down from the point where nginx reboots until the new DNS setting propagate (15 min. to 48 hrs)


Paid Responsibilities

  1. If a client has one primary domain, with each location's URL being a subdomains of the primary domain, the paid team must:

    1. Update all ads (or creatives) and keyword destination URLs pointing to the old primary domain across all locations and across all paid advertising channels (Google, Bing, Yahoo, Facebook, Superpages, etc.). Each paid campaign will either direct searchers to a location page or a co-marketing page. Because each co-marketing page and location page is a different subdomain of the primary domain, the paid analyst must edit each campaign individually to update all ads to reflect the new correct URL. The new primary domain must be reflected in the display URL (shortened URL used in the ad) and destination URL of each ad.

    2. In order for Yahoo Web Analytics to track and display details about our client's keywords and costs, a paid analyst must also tag each keyword with a unique tracking code. In order to set up the tags, a paid analyst will auto tag the new primary URL. This process consists of adding and configuring which ad channels we are running campaigns for under the new primary domain. Once this is done, a help desk ticket must be submitted to Yahoo Web Analytics Support to have YWA support turn on keyword level tagging for the new domain for Google and MSN. Once the paid analyst receives confirmation this has occurred, the paid analyst will then turn on ad group auto-setup to for every campaign listed.

  2. As mentioned above, the process of adding a new primary URL to a client's account necessitates a paid analyst to update all creatives to reflect this change. Performance metrics for creatives featuring your old primary domain are no longer relevant, so all performance metrics for your creatives featuring your new primary domain will drop to 0. Since your performance metrics are used to calculate your cost-per-click and determine your ad position, your paid ads may show in a lower position and cost more per click until more data can be accumulated for the "new" ads.

  3. Depending on the number of locations,  the client's service offerings, the client's vertical, and the number of paid advertising channels the paid analyst is running ads on, this process can take anywhere from 20 minutes (ex./ single location, storage vertical) to a few days (ex./ 40 location, senior living vertical).


SEO Responsibilities

  1. Making sure to redirect is important to retain the links the original domain had.  If it's a new domain, there may be a 'sandbox' period where Google will not display the site in search results, even for branded name searches.

  2. Changing a domain name results in us having to treat the affected locations as if they were completely new.  This will require approximately 10 minutes per location. Changing a domain name will require us to update Google Places, Yelp, & Superpages by hand.

  3. The new data will be automatically pushed by our third party data partner, but those updates will take a fairly long time to 'take root' across the internet.  Typically, a client can expect a dip in rankings for a few months as a result.