Selected answers from the Dumb SEO Questions G+ community.
Chris Coussons: You can 301 and it`ll help, but it will never be 100 pct
Scott Clark: No. But you can minimize the impact with a migration checklist. Always check the history of the new domain even if it was unregistered when you bought it. I`ve done dozens of migrations... The enemy is when clients rush it or hand it to SEO-ignorant IT/hosting staff.
Jesse McDonald: What said. If you migrate successfully, the chances of seeing those rankings recover faster is much higher.
Paul Karalius: Thanks a lot. Are there also issues with moving a high ranking page internally?
Scott Clark: less of a risk... if you`re moving and not changing much else.
Paul Karalius: Thanks Scott. My homepage ran ranks highest but it’s a actually a review page and means the structure of the site, or updating content isn’t really logical.
I’m going to move it so it becomes a standard page, then set up a more general homepage with internal links to other pages (including the original page). Im hoping it doesn’t loose traffic once moved.
Scott Clark: Paul Karalius actually the home page is an exception, since you don`t refer to it by its page name and can`t redirect it. This may be difficult. If you plan to move it make sure it`s only one hop away from the home page and link to it above the fold on mobile. It still may have an impact to the ranking.
Michael Martinez: We`ve successfully moved content to new domains many times but as said you should not expect a 100% perfect move. A lot of things can work against you. The SEO decision is to support the business decision.
Richard Hearne: Yes. But the boilerplate I give all clients is that site/domain moves incur risks, and it`s always best to assume some drop in organic referrals at least temporarily. With a well managed move any drops should evaporate quite quickly. Badly managed site moves can be disasters.
James Fuller: Why do you want to move the domain? Rebranding? Or to be SEO friendly? I.e. randomfamilyname vs descriptiveproductname As others here mentioned it comes with risks but if done right and for the right reasons it can be done with little to no effect on your SEO and in some cases even give it a boost. Keep your content and structure the same or you won`t know what hit you if something goes wrong. The redirect must be done proper and it helps big time to update the details with Google Search Console. If you haven`t set up a Google search console you should do so before you move domains. Set it up on the original domain so you can tell it that domain is moving to the new domain. Keep your old domain active and redirected. You will be tempted after a year to shut it down but I did that and it hurt big time. You need to update all your external backlinks. But there might be some you aren`t aware of still containing your old domain.