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Changing the domain - best practices
Timetraveler




msg:4144406
 4:25 pm on May 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

I recently underwent a large url change but not the primary domain change. Every word after the .com/ was changed. It had quite an affect in yahoo, but not so much in google.

Now, on a seperate site we are going to shorten the url from keywordkeywordblog.com to keywordkeyword.com, whereas the "keywords" are the same. Has anyone had any experience with changing the main domain such as this example where its more a shortening of the domain, than changing the actual keywords in domain. Everything after the .com/ will remain the same. I'm particularly worried about google and especially yahoo, because yahoo seems to handle redirects awfully.

On a side note with yahoo, is the only way to get the traffic and rankings back is to manually go and ask every webmaster that links to your page with the old 301'd url and have them change it?

Thanks in advance for any help

 

tedster




msg:4144504
 9:06 pm on May 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

Here's a start:

1. Do not make any other major changes at the same time.

2. Retain all the same file paths - this makes a url-by-url 301 redirect rule much simpler, and you're less vulnerable to technical errors that way.

3. Be sure that the new domain avoids canonical URL problems.

4. Use the WebmasterTools "change of address" form.

5. Monitor WebmasterTools obsessively until everything stabilizes.

6. Notify important backlink sites about your address change - give each one the specifics they need to know to change their links quickly, and include a note of appreciation.

Here's a thread from 2007 [webmasterworld.com] for additional reference.

RedCardinal




msg:4144727
 7:21 am on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

When keeping original URL structure the Change Of Address Tool is quite definitely your friend.

Be prepared, and set expectations, for a drop in organic referrals until things settle.

AnkitMaheshwari




msg:4144813
 10:17 am on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Might be of help: [google.com...]

Timetraveler




msg:4144912
 2:22 pm on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the tips.

Also reading the link provided and the tip about moving the trusted incoming links over I found this on the help page.


Google: # To prevent confusion, it's best to retain control of your old site domain for at least 180 days.

Would it be safe to assume that google doesn't recognize 301 redirected inbound links after 180 days because of this statement? Seems like you'd just keep the original domain and 301 in place forever.

Robert Charlton




msg:4145068
 5:57 pm on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

180 days.... Seems like you'd just keep the original domain and 301 in place forever.

Yes, I agree on keeping the 301 in place forever. The "180 days" is in reference to Google's suggestion on their Help page noted above. We discussed that suggestion in this thread....

Moving to a New Domain - Official Advice from Google
http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/3629305.htm
[webmasterworld.com...]

Timetraveler




msg:4145133
 7:30 pm on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Thanks Robert. I just read the thread. So just to clarify, will incoming links that are redirected to the new 301 url still pass the same (or about the same) link juice? For example many of the incoming links I can't get changed...

Robert Charlton




msg:4145169
 8:40 pm on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

...will incoming links that are redirected to the new 301 url still pass the same (or about the same) link juice?

In my experience, about the same, depending on your definition of "about", though it can take a while to regain rankings.

From the Eric Enge follow-up to his interview with Matt Cutts [stonetemple.com]....

9. Matt Cutts: re: link juice loss in the case of a domain change: "...I am not 100 percent sure whether the crawling and indexing team has implemented that sort of natural PageRank decay."

Eric Enge comment: In a follow on email, Matt confirmed that this is in fact the case. There is some loss of PR through a 301.

Timetraveler




msg:4145677
 2:35 pm on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

Thanks guys, this was of great help!

wheel




msg:4146212
 11:35 am on Jun 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

About 3-4 months ago I took a ranking domain and did a 301 redirect to a new, prettier domain. I also changed the website content, though some of the pages remained the same.

Rankings took a huge drop. they still have not returned to their pre-301 levels.

Sounds like it's a bad idea to do content change at the same time as a 301 :).

rogerd




msg:4146266
 1:33 pm on Jun 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

I did a major move and followed the steps so well summarized by Tedster and saw very little traffic loss.

I agree about the content changes. It's tempting to combine the domain change with a spiffy new version of the site, but in my experience you'll retain maximum link juice and ranking power if Google's automated processes can readily see that nothing changed but the domain.

weeks




msg:4146301
 2:35 pm on Jun 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

It's tempting to combine the domain change with a spiffy new version of the site, but in my experience you'll retain maximum link juice and ranking power if Google's automated processes can readily see that nothing changed but the domain.


Yes, and it is one of the few things in the land of Google that actually makes sense.

I've done it both ways. Changed the domain name and then updated the site and updated the site and changed the domain name. I recommend the latter over the former, but for gosh sake, do NOT do change the domain and change the content at the same time. I mean, come on folks--that's a brand new website to any search engine. But, yeah, you see otherwise well run firms try to do it.

And any change is a change. WidgetXYXinc.con to WidgetXYX.con is a change.

Yes, I know everyone here knows that. But not everyone here knows that everyone does not knows that. And if the client comes in and says new site, new domain and we'll pay you $$$, need it in a month and you just take the money without looking at potential search results impact and advising them, you're not a professional.

vegasgirl




msg:4149125
 8:28 pm on Jun 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

Couple of weeks ego we changed a domain, following a new design and re-branding.

We had 301 redirects of all of the pages in the old site to the appropriate pages in the new site, did the webmastertools change of address, set the crawling rate to max and followed all of Google advices.

The ranking dropped incredibly but slowly starting to improve. Very slowly.

My conclusion is that you can't avoid getting a nice amount of inbound links to your new domain, especially to the homepage.

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