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Advice on moving a site to a different domain
Seeking advice and tips.
georgeek




msg:3488544
 5:19 pm on Oct 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

For branding and because of recent mergers it has been decided that an ecommerce site will be moved to a brand new domain. Unfortunately a decision taken at the highest level that cannot be changed.

The site in question has around 450 product pages that rank reasonably well in Google and a home page that ranks 1 and 3 for the primary and secondary keyphrases.

The existing site is on a Microsoft IIS server and the new site will be also. The new site will be an exact copy of the original and it is planned to use something like ISAPI_Rewrite to 301 redirect every page to its copy on the new domain.

Does anyone have any tips or advice on what else can be done to maintain rankings?

I assume rankings will initially fall? Will they return to their existing levels? How long will that take?

If you have moved a site from one domain to another please share your experience.

Thank you.

- George

 

bwnbwn




msg:3488584
 5:57 pm on Oct 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

georgeek
Didn't menthion links,
Try to get with the websites that link to this domain and ask them to switch over to the new domain. The 301 and getting the new links will be a big boost and you may not go anywhere but having 0 links other than the 301 might cause a deeper and harder drop.

SEOold




msg:3488625
 7:02 pm on Oct 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

I have a similar situation. I have two domains, one that is so well branded that if I could tell you the name right now you would know the site (but unfortunately I can't). Although this site is very well known and is PR 8 it does not have much content. It does rank very well though for generic terms.

The site that has the content is a PR6 site. It does rank well for many inside pages and has about 239K pages indexed. The issue is that the site is not branded and no one really knows about it. It does have good links but not as many as the branded one offcourse. Both sites are owned by the same person.

It would be ideal to manage both sites if we could but I don't were going in that direction unless we have to. It has been decided so far to create the content page on the branded site and 301 all the pages on a one-to-one basis. I'm aware that when doing 301s there always a chance of drops in rankings but is there any thing else that be issues as well that are being overlooked?

bwnbwn




msg:3488632
 7:13 pm on Oct 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

SEOold
Let me kinda get this straight you are going to build 200k pages for the "Branded site" and 301 them from the other site to the branded site..
Is this correct?

SEOold




msg:3488667
 7:43 pm on Oct 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

yes the branded site does not have content. It consists of the homepage and then the homepage in different languages and some privacy pages. Thats everything that is indexed and on the site. Were basically going to make it an open access site so besides the download of this particular software there will be other content which is over 200K pages easily.

Do you see a problem with giving 301 from the unbranded domain to the new domain?

Basically the pages will be created in the branded domain.

bwnbwn




msg:3488684
 8:00 pm on Oct 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

why build 200k pages?

why don't you take the "Branded domain" and use the code and database of the "unbranded site you are going to 301 over"

Then all u need to do is 301 a couple pages on the "braded site" were the url's might change and you have a complete replacement of the other site ready to 301 every url to the respective page by just doing a 301 from the domain all the aother will be an excat match.

This will save thousands of dollars in time and effort and it is really easy to do...

I call this cloning were u do a mass find and replace in the database...

All you will need to do is change the logo's and other "Branded stuff" and presto u are done in a Day...

You might need to replace pages such as contact, privacy etc but not much really all this will be is a copy and replace...

Then 301 the unbraded site over...

I see a problem every time someone wants to take down a site that gets hits but I as well understand the dealings with management. I can understand as well the time it takes to manage multiple sites, but from were I sit this should not be an issue as it seems the name is the searched term anyway....

tedster




msg:3488705
 8:22 pm on Oct 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

A 301 between two EXISTING sites is not the same thing as georgeek's opening question about moving to "a brand new domain."

Yes, I have helped sites move to a brand new domain. Minimum of 6 months lost traffic, often more depending on the strength of the legacy site.

My best advice -- first, put up a small selection of urls on the new domain and establish a single Webmaster Tools account that authenticates you as the responsible party for BOTH domains.

Next, build a game plan for your 301 redirects. Do not 301 the entire old domain to the home page of the new domain. But also, do not use a separate 301 for thousands of urls to thousands of other urls. Use a 301 for the most critical relocated urls (nice Google traffic and/or nice backlinks). The rest of "lower importance" the URLs can serve a custom "we have moved" message with a true 404 http status code.

Some people prefer using 301 for all pages. My experience is that Google takes a long time to sort all those 301s, and my more "surgical" approach has worked out a bit better. However, it is still not a fast process in any case.

One other step - work with your backlinks. Contact major backlink owners and request a change - many will be glad to oblige because it makes their site look better. Make it easy for them in your message. Tell them what url on their site has the backlink, and give them the new address.

Take it one step further. You want to establish NEW backlinks as soon as possible, so let a lot of people know about your new site, in a way that encourages new links.

These steps can also help for moving between two established domains - and that situation can often be resolved a good bit faster with Google. Moving to a new domain has usually been a dreadful experience.

One last comment - be sure that the new domain really is "new" and not a domain with a dark past.

SEOold




msg:3488707
 8:28 pm on Oct 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

why build 200k pages?

why don't you take the "Branded domain" and use the code and database of the "unbranded site you are going to 301 over"

sorry it wasn't clear, I didn't mean that we would actually create 200K pages manually. Like you mentioned we would just take over the code and database of the un-branded site. We do realize this is the easiest, the current URL structure is not the best but its not the worst either. We haven't decided if were keeping the same structure at the moment but if anything we may just keep it the same. There is a lot of pieces to work out so were not sure at the moment it was nice to hear your thoughts.

georgeek




msg:3488953
 4:17 am on Oct 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

Thank you tedster.

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