After several months of work I have finally relaunched a new and improved version of a travel related site. The original had been online for almost seven years and as recently as two weeks ago was attracting in the neighborhood of 1,500 users/day (it was actually #1 for the city name, but that was pre-Bourbon).
For a variety of reasons the original site was never hosted with its proper domain name. Instead it was hosted as a subdirectory of my business website. The proper domain name was redirected from another ISP to the sub-directory on my business domain. It didn't seem to matter much because all of the links I've accumulated over the years are pointing to the sub-directory site.
Anyway, now that I've finally started to get serious about this site I've relaunched it using the correct domain name and I've put 301 redirects from all of the old pages to the corresponding new pages. Users clicking through from any old links on other sites are transparently redirected to the correct page on the new site.
At first I was convinced this was the right approach. When I do a Google links search for the new domain name it turns up all of the links to the old site - so clearly Google has made the connection.
Also, initially, my PageRank had carried over to the new site as well.
As of today, however, my PageRank is gone. And my ranking in Google seems to be sinking. Post-Bourbon I dropped from #1 to #10 for the city name. Now I'm down to #22.
So I guess my questions are:
1. Did I do the right thing with the 301 redirects from the old site to new site?
2. How much of the Google juice from my old site gets carried over to the new domain? For example, will the new site continue to get credit for the links to the old site?
3. Am I subject to the sandbox effect? At first I thought I wouldn't be because the domain name has been active for several years. Now that my PageRank is gone I'm not so sure. I'm kind of wondering if this might have something to do with the fact that the new domain name is not in DMOZ. I've gone ahead and submitted the new domain and I'm awaiting a response.