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Changing domain on a well established site
kapow

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 28108 posted 11:39 am on Feb 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

I have to change my domain from .com to .co.uk. The .com: is 6 years old, has pr6, has some high quality links pointing to it, has some top positions in Google that bring good business... I plan to use a 301 redirect.

- Will the site lose its google rank? How long for?
- Will the sites age be set to zero?
- Will it go into the sandbox?

Most of the linking sites I can ask to update to my .co.uk but then I am worried about losing the link age.
- Is it better to leave them linking to the .com and expect Google to comprehend my 301?
- Or is it better to ask them to link to the .co.uk and lose the link age?

 

claus

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 28108 posted 2:54 pm on Feb 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

do you really ...have to? Like in "i'm forced to"? These days i would do a lot not to have to (including but not limited to spending a little money)... Can't you just buy the "co.uk" and 301 redirect that one to the ".com"?

A "yes" to 1+2+3+5

kapow

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 28108 posted 5:56 pm on Feb 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

do you really ...have to?

My site is a UK site and is aimed at 'keyword keyword UK' (and things like this). Recently Google began redirecting visitors to google.com to their country version (for my customers its google.co.uk). I ranked well on google.com and most of my customers went there. Now they go to google.co.uk where I do not rank for 'keyword keyword UK'.

The issue is how does google detect a UK site? I believe its either by country where the site is hosted OR the domain e.g. .co.uk. My site is hosted in the U.S. and I don't want to change that as the costs are much higher for UK hosting.

To regain my rank I need to 'show' google my site is a UK site. I believe the way to do this is to change to a .co.uk name.

Wizard

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 28108 posted 7:28 pm on Feb 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

To regain my rank I need to 'show' google my site is a UK site. I believe the way to do this is to change to a .co.uk name.

It's quite risky. It will take a significant time for G to crawl your new urls, and you'll lose SERPS during that time. It can take months. Is it worth risking?

You cannot start the same site in a new domain while it exists under old, because of duplicate content penalty, but what if you put a different, but on-topic content in .co.uk domain to check, if this will really help?

Anyway, the 301 redirects will be essential, and so will be inbound links to the new domain.

conroy

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 28108 posted 7:35 pm on Feb 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

I would avoid this at all costs. You will likely lose all rankings and traffic for many months. Yes it is very likely you will be "sandboxed."

kapow

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 28108 posted 7:49 pm on Feb 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

The trend with Google (and the others will probably follow) is to redirect people to country specific SERP / sites. Google has made several steps in this direction over the past year. It helps them sell targetted Ads (and I don't blame them).

I strongly suspect my site will not rank at all (for my market) soon. In which case I will have nothing to lose.

Can anyone shed any light/experience on my original questions so I can better plan if/when to act.

OptiRex



 
Msg#: 28108 posted 7:57 pm on Feb 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

You need to get that .com on a UK host. We have had this discussion on several threads and the only reliable way is to move it. Sure there are one or two who will tell you otherwise however the vast majority will tell you this is the only real positive solution.

claus

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 28108 posted 9:57 pm on Feb 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

>> and the others will probably follow

I've noticed this with the new MSN as well.

>> New host

That's more appealing. Moving to another host means that you keep your domain name and only switch it to point to another IP adress. Such a move is painless with Google (last time i did it was three days ago) and your ranking will not be effected by the move.

If OptiRex is right that this is a factor Google uses for localisation, i would definitely do that first. At the same time buy the "co.uk" domain anyway, and put up a single page there, telling your customers that your proper URL is the ".com" - perhaps even put up two-three pages and make a mini-site with specials or whatever. If a few months pass and the host switch doesn't do the trick, so you feel you really have to change domains then it will be nice not to start totally from zero. You can also make the "co.uk" the corporate site, and the "com" the shopping area - just don't make a duplicate site.

kapow

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 28108 posted 10:13 am on Feb 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

You need to get that .com on a UK host

I use U.S. hosts for reliability and cost. I can get the reliability in the UK but the costs is about three times higher. We manage over 100 sites at one U.S. host. Our other UK customers all have .co.uk names, I arranged our .com before I understood all this. I do own the .co.uk name for our company the question is if/when to change over to it? Currently we still get enquiries via our .com listing but I forcast it trailing off to nothing as location specific redirect/SERP increases.

Aside: Google must know there are some very big hosts in the U.S. and proably millions of non U.S. sites are hosted in the U.S. If the only solution is to host a business site in your own country, when that message catches on there will be a mass migration of sites from U.S. hosts. Does Google want to take business away from America?

This is the internet after all, it is about a world network. A sites location should not be detected by the host. It is probably better to detect it from the domain and/or the content. I personally believe Google detect either the domain if its a .country or the host if its a .com/net/org. Which leaves me back where this thread began: if/when to change to a .co.uk.

A simple solution would be for Google to accept a 'location meta tag', but I'm not serious about that, Google is a business and they need people to buy Adwords rather then rank in the free SERPs. If they accepted a 'location meta tag' they would lose profit, so thats no going to happen IMO.

claus

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 28108 posted 12:21 pm on Feb 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

>> We manage over 100 sites at one U.S. host

You don't need to move all 100, just the one you're having problems with. The cost of hosting one domain in UK vs. hosting 100 in US can't be that much higher, can it?

Regardless, i'd switch hosts even for three times the cost, if the alternative was no income. But i'd still put some real content on the "co.uk" (but not the "com" site) - just in case the regional filters get harder so you'll have to build it to full scale at some point.

OptiRex



 
Msg#: 28108 posted 12:33 pm on Feb 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

If the only solution is to host a business site in your own country, when that message catches on there will be a mass migration of sites from U.S. hosts.

We've already been doing this for more than a year or so when we realised that Google, and now Yahoo, MSN and a few others, were offering search by geo-location.

It's made a massive difference to some of our country specific sites such as Germany, Italy, France etc. The biggest hassle is finding a good host at the right price, fortunately it usually only means one site being located in that specific country and we serve the images from our central server which keeps the bandwidth costs down enormously by only serving text pages.

We've toyed with the idea of buying a country specific IP address but this seems to be more hassle than it is worth. Anyone with helpful insight into this?

Actually, it surprises me that the hosting companies do not seem to have picked up on this or have they? Or are they going to blindly lead 99% of their customers into believing it does not matter where they are hosted so long as it is seen to be a reasonable cost?

Is it only when an ever-increasing volume of e.g. 1and1 customers, realise they cannot be found in a .co.uk search that they will do something about it?

Does Google want to take business away from America?

Are Google bothered about that? I would guess they see themselves as a global information centre with regional offices therefore if they want to penetrate a regional market more successfully than specialise for that specific market.

That's what we do, after all, when you are searching for a product do you want corporate HQ in the Cayman Islands or the UK stockist/distributor?

Incidentally the transfer is seemless from one host to another so long as you have everything set up correctly on your new host. I did this for a dozen domains only last month without a hitch, much better than it used to be.

I tell you the biggest problem I have noticed with geo-location search and that is actually getting firm information on one's ranking.

MSN seems to be switching back and forth at the moment between global and geo. Google.com is accessible straight from the tool bar however .co.uk is the default address when searching directly from the UK with .com as the alternative. If I want to search Google.de, .it, .fr, .es etc at the moment I can do therefore if they keep it like this then I do not forsee any problems.

If they do all switch over to geo-specific it's going to make our jobs so much more difficult if we cannot see how we're doing with the "other" main players if they "force" our own country's results upon us!

Will their data centres actually reveal the truth? Will they let us see those DC's?

Or is this another way of monetising? Will they offer us guys the opportunity to view the reality in return for subscriptions...ohhhh...don't even think about it!

claus

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 28108 posted 1:01 pm on Feb 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

>> If I want to search Google.de, .it, .fr, .es etc at the moment I can

Otoh, it is fairly difficult for "the average joe" in one of these countries (i live in one) to switch to the ".com" version, and there's no clear reason as to why he/she should do so.

Also, i'm not sure that what "we foriegners" see on ".com" is 100% the same as what US residents see, at least not always.

OptiRex



 
Msg#: 28108 posted 1:17 pm on Feb 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

claus

Otoh, it is fairly difficult for "the average joe" in one of these countries (i live in one) to switch to the ".com" version, and there's no clear reason as to why he/she should do so.

In general I don't suppose Joe Public may even be interested in doing that unless they are specifically searching for something from that country which, of course, could happen a lot between, say, Germany/Austria/Switzerland, Belgium/Luxembourg/France.

I was considering it from a purely selfish SEO view of wanting to study how I was ranking:-)

Also, i'm not sure that what "we foriegners" see on ".com" is 100% the same as what US residents see, at least not always.

Do you think we are served different results at times or just the one from the main DC? I know at times I would love to be able to see what geo-targeted Adsense is being displayed in each country.

claus

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 28108 posted 4:23 pm on Feb 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

>> Do you think we are served different results at times or just the one from the main DC?

Well, it's a bit off-topic here, but there's an experimental thread in supporters [webmasterworld.com] in which people from different parts of the world report which datacenters (by IP) that serve up their google.com results. Sofar a few of them seems to serve Europe only.

OptiRex



 
Msg#: 28108 posted 5:51 pm on Feb 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

I know this is slightly off theme as well however it is pertinent to all language sites and geo-targeting.

If this were to continue, and maybe it will, for example what would happen if I were to decide to launch an English language site hosted in Australia, Canada, India or South Africa using exactly the same content to target those specific countries?

Would this invoke a duplicate content penalty for .com but be shown in .au, .ca, .in and .za?

I do know that German pages hosted in Germany do not generally rank in Google.at unless the German language pages option is requested and vice versa Austrian pages on Google.de.

My assumption, using the German analogy, may be that the same pages in .au, .ca, .in and .za possibly may be ranked for the country specific search however I have absolutely no proof of this.

Can GG or anyone else advise on this since building replacement English language pages for the same content would be a right pain!

claus

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 28108 posted 10:39 pm on Feb 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

>> since building replacement English language pages for the same content would be a right pain!

And it would be duplicate sites as well. Perhaps you should start a new thread on this, as it's not only Google, but also the rest that are doing this geo thing.

kapow

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 28108 posted 9:31 am on Feb 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

Anyone:
If I choose to change domain how long do you think the site would take to regain its positions?

I would use a 301, which as I understand is the accepted way to inform a spider of a permanent change of address.

lego_maniac



 
Msg#: 28108 posted 10:22 am on Feb 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

Each page on the new site will essentially be "new to Google", so they each get sandboxed.

You will get sandboxed, even with 301 Redirects. But at least the redirects will help populate gbot's cache with your "new" content.

You will lose any points from existing links that point to domain.com, since you're now domain.co.uk

Over time, the old site will age out of the cache and the new site will eventually come off probation. Since you're reading these forums though, you likely know a thing or two about SEO, which means the "sandbox" will feel like an eternity, during which time you can't judge how your new site is really performing.

Google will no longer be your friend, you'll start swearing by yahoo's and msn's searchs.

None of these scenarios may come true at all for you, but I've seen it happen to some of my sites firsthand.

OptiRex



 
Msg#: 28108 posted 11:41 am on Feb 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

If I choose to change domain how long do you think the site would take to regain its positions?

If you simply move your .com to a UK server there should be no penalty, no delay, ranking will remain as you are now.

For a 301 redirect there are plenty of thread theories and disaster stories on this forum. Avoid it if you possibly can.

If you really want to move to a new domain name why not copy all the pages to the .co.uk, remove the information from the .com and hard code from the .com to the .co.uk?

Don't forget to give a link back to the .com. I've done this successfully many times when moving information to a more relevant domain.

Sometimes it's worked immediately, sometimes it's taken a couple of months to regain it's former position however don't forget that all the relevant links you have on your .com will be superior to the .co.uk until it has built up its own natural relevancy, therefore anyone who's ranking close to you right now may jump above you.

joeking

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 28108 posted 11:42 am on Feb 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

Kapow - the obvious solution is to move that one website to a UK host as has been pointed out already.

Others have pointed out the folly of going down the road that you seem intent on doing no matter what advice you receive to the contrary.

If the cost of moving host really outweighs the value of traffic generated by the existing .com then this thread is a waste of everybody's time. If not, take the advice.

kapow

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 28108 posted 5:41 pm on Feb 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

move that one website to a UK host

In this thread I have stuck to and pursued my questions about changing domain because it is fairly easy to understand the implications of changing host. I am simply taking time to FULLY understand my options and their implications before I make my decision. The only area I lack clarity about is in what will happen if I change domain. The fact that I pursue those questions does not mean that will be my course of action.

Rollo

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 28108 posted 6:00 pm on Feb 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

Good God, don't take it off the old domain if it's preforming well, you'd be undoing all your work.

Why not just build a subsidiary site on a co.uk and host it in the uk? Tweak the graphics and content to British audience. Sure, it would take some time, but then you'd be solid in the two leading English language markets. You could just link the two sites together. (Just aviod duplicating the content). I'm considering doing something similar with one of my businesses.

Google is making life difficult for everyone not to mention undermining global commerce to an extent with its geolocation obsession. It should be a search option users can choose, but not mandatory.

I hate to say it, but eventually it's going to be more time/cost effective to just buy adwords for most business offering worldwide services (which I think is just the way Google wants it).

Robert Charlton

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 28108 posted 6:10 am on Feb 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

I would use a 301, which as I understand is the accepted way to inform a spider of a permanent change of address.

kapow - A client decided to change their domain name in early July. I warned them against it, but they went ahead... I did a fine set of 301s... and we were soon indexed but essentially invisible on Google... went from being an established industry leader to a site that could hardly be found for its own name (partially because the company name was so widely cited by so many other sites ;) ).

With Allegra, we've just come back... with top rankings again on Google, as they've been ongoing on Yahoo and MSN.

There's one Google database still showing us as #70 that's rotating in and out, so things are not exactly settled. Even though I warned the client, this has affected my credibility as an SEO as well as their income and mine. It's been 7 or 8 months.

I don't know whether other sites have come back from such problems, and I don't know how much that would say about the next redirected site even if they have. Candidly, I would not do any domain changes until it's well established that redirects are no longer behaving like this.

With people buying old domains with existing links and redirecting them to entirely unrelated areas, which is what was going on last year at this time, it's not at all clear that Google will relax this until they have other ways of detecting this kind of scheme.

Powdork

WebmasterWorld Senior Member powdork us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 28108 posted 6:49 am on Feb 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

I used 301's in june. The number one rankings have not come back but there have been improvements for marginal phrases with allegra. The images update has brought in ten times the traffic as the regular results but is still one tenth the traffic before the move. Also consider that even without a sandbox, Yahoo is still not quick in picking up changes like those you are contemplating. You can get a pretty decent hosting program fo $4 a month in the states. if it's three times that abroad I would definitely go that route. The eight dollars/month you spend will save 100's in Adwords/Overture expenses.
If I knew now what I knew then!

It occurs to me Google may want to have a hosting company where you simply say where you want your sites geo-location to be. You could even purchase extra countries for a fee.

newsphinx

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 28108 posted 7:42 am on Feb 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

Is it logical on Google's side that one has to register countries specific domains of all countries One targets?

kapow

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 28108 posted 2:44 pm on Feb 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

don't take it off the old domain if it's preforming well

Right now its performing well. The forecast is for geo redirecting to replace all SERPs. It has started to happen and we have received less enquiries as a result. So, what I'm saying is the trend is down! If the trend continues I might as well have a 100% flash website :( hence my questions here.

It's been 7 or 8 months

Thank you so much Robert Charlton! That is the first actual reply to the question so far. Don't worry I'm not taking it as the definitive answer, but it helps.

Hosting in the UK

I don't just want hosting. I need damn good hosting. OptiRex I checked out the host you recommended. They put IP addresses in the same C class, No phone support, No telnet... and a bunch of other weaknesses. I hate to say it because I'm a Brit but U.S. hosts leave ours standing.

tomtomclub

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 28108 posted 2:58 pm on Feb 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

FWIW...

We've got a .co.uk site (with .com on a permanant redirect).

Our site was hosted in the US until about 6 months ago and we felt the same thing as you so we shifted (at great expense) to a UK host. Now we rank OK'ish (page 2-3) for google.com searches but if you search google.co.uk for 'pages from the UK' we rank in the 300's - so it doesn't necessarily stand IME that even moving a .co.uk site to a UK host will help!

Work that one out!

OptiRex



 
Msg#: 28108 posted 3:13 pm on Feb 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

OptiRex I checked out the host you recommended. They put IP addresses in the same C class, No phone support, No telnet... and a bunch of other weaknesses.

No problem however I must ask what it is you require from a host that is so much different to my requirements for 100+ sites? We do have any e-commerce sites which may be the crunch.

I have never had the necessity to phone them since their e-mail support response times are absolutely unbelievable and far superior to any UK host I have used in the past decade.

What is wrong with having IP addresses on the same C Class unless you are distributing duplicate copy?

Don't get me wrong, if they're not suitable for you then they're not, however it is also fact that some of the US "offers" which can be found just do not provide either:-(

Whatever you decide to do it is evident that you are losing by being hosted in the US, surely to try and resolve your problem it would be wise to get a UK host on a monthly basis for the moment and experiment with what happens to your main .com domain since, by your own statement, "the trend is down!"

Is it logical on Google's side that one has to register countries specific domains of all countries One targets?

The general consensus seems to be that the actual hosting geo-location is more important than the domain name however it would not harm to have that country's extension either. I have never had a problem with a .com hosted on a specific geo-located server.

Heavens, we're going to have to give this thing a name! Geo-located ISP - GLISP?

Unless there is one?

OptiRex



 
Msg#: 28108 posted 3:29 pm on Feb 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

We've got a .co.uk site (with .com on a permanant redirect).

Am I the only person who does not use redirects?

When I want to transfer an entire site or page, I simply remove the specific optimised on page content and hard code the new url to the navigation of the old url.

This has worked on every site I have with absolutely no problem for years. Google, and Yahoo and MSN for that matter, pick up on it almost immediately and the transfer is seamless since visitors going to the old url still get through with the new navigation and the SE's spider the new pages.

Once the new url is in the SE's you have a free domain which the SE's already know about and are hungrily waiting for new stuff!

No "sandboxing", no waiting...anyone else do this?

Maybe I shouldn't have told you:-)

claus

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 28108 posted 4:12 pm on Feb 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

>> and hard code the new url to the navigation of the old url.

Could you elaborate on that OptiRex? I don't understand what it is that you do - change the anchors on your pages? symlink files on the server? something else?

This 39 message thread spans 2 pages: 39 ( [1] 2 > >
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