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New brand, new domain, millions of 301s?
SEOPanda




msg:4404552
 6:26 pm on Jan 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

Hello everyone... glad to have my second post on WW!

We are going to be moving a big part of our site to a new domain. We believe this is beneficial to the user, and really should be it's own site. It also makes our main site less cluttered and easier to navigate and more streamlined.

I wanted to get a sense of your option for the best way to do this. Everyone has suggested that simply want a 301 redirect anyone anyone lands on the old domain URLs and take them to the corresponding URL on the new site. This seems like a recipe for SEO disaster.

There are hundreds of thousands of URLs, so I'm afraid all these 301s will look like spam to GBOT.

If someone has the old URL bookmarked, or goes to a link in google, how do we get them to the new site w/o hurting SEO? What are your options and experience with this?

My idea was to noindex all of the old pages, and then have some kind of a javascript pop up directing people to the new URL.

Not sure what's the best option...

Hope to hear your thoughts, thanks!

 

lucy24




msg:4404627
 10:08 pm on Jan 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

Why would 301 look like spam? People move pages all the time. 301 simply means: we used to be at URL a. Now we're at URL b.

If you noindexed the old pages and manually told humans where to go, you'd lose all your accumulated SEO standing and have to start all over again-- and risk being accused of cloaking if g### thinks you're intentionally serving different content to humans. Which, of course, you are.

SEOPanda




msg:4404631
 10:19 pm on Jan 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

Why would 301 look like spam? People move pages all the time. 301 simply means: we used to be at URL a. Now we're at URL b.


It might not, but I'm afraid we might risk that chance. Since we're not moving the whole domain over, we're only moving a part of it (big part, about 30% of the site). The information G provides is for moving the whole site, not just a part of it.

[support.google.com...]

If you noindexed the old pages and manually told humans where to go, you'd lose all your accumulated SEO standing and have to start all over again-- and risk being accused of cloaking if g### thinks you're intentionally serving different content to humans. Which, of course, you are.


Why would this be a risk of cloaking? I'm not showing one thing to the user and another to the bot. Both would see the same thing.

Am I over worried about the redirects? Isn't it potentially negative to have a site that has so many redirects?

Thanks for your help, much appreciated!

goodroi




msg:4404634
 10:29 pm on Jan 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

@lucy24 Historically speaking one spam tactic was to buy off-topic expired domains with strong link power and then 301 redirect the expired domain into your homepage. Needless to say Google does not encourage that tactic. I have not heard of someone being penalized when redirecting from one page to another relevant page.

@SEOPanda A 301 redirect is most useful if there are inbound links pointing to that page or it has a high level of direct traffic. If you look at how many pages have external links pointing to it or have inbound traffic you will probably notice that only a small percentage of urls will even need a 301 redirect.

Also why make such a large change at one time? If you are worried, you can transition the site over in sections.

As for the javascript alternative, Google is pretty good at finding and understanding javascript. So you will probably just end up making things harder on yourself for little if any benefit.

SEOPanda




msg:4404638
 10:38 pm on Jan 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

Thanks goodroi. One of my concerns also, is that since all of this was on one site before, the content is similar and related, so branching out to another domain might look like we're trying to rank another site for similar content. Even though the content really should be on a different site, it's a business decision that G might not understand and think we're gaming the system... does that make sense?

When you say transition over in sections, how much of a timespan are you thinking of in between sections?

Thanks!

jimbeetle




msg:4404658
 11:39 pm on Jan 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

since all of this was on one site before, the content is similar and related, so branching out to another domain might look like we're trying to rank another site for similar content.

But if you use 301s you would be telling the SEs that the content no longer exists on the old domain so no similar content problemt. A 301 is best practice in this case and has been used successfully by many folks who changed domains without problem. You probably will see a drop in SE referrals at first as it takes the SEs a bit of time to digest the changes.

SEOPanda




msg:4404670
 12:43 am on Jan 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

But if you use 301s you would be telling the SEs that the content no longer exists on the old domain so no similar content problemt. A 301 is best practice in this case and has been used successfully by many folks who changed domains without problem. You probably will see a drop in SE referrals at first as it takes the SEs a bit of time to digest the changes.


The key is that we are not moving the whole site, just a part of it... does this change your thought?

thanks

prshkatus




msg:4404752
 2:12 pm on Jan 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

i am considering to do same thing with my large site and have similar concerns.. i will probably do it in stages (10% every week perhaps)...
i'm not sure is this good time span ?

dannibecher




msg:4404943
 3:09 pm on Jan 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

You mention that you are only moving one section of your website onto the new domain, therefore you are worried about Google thinking you are attempting to double list for you keywords. Surely if you are moving a section of your website it would be becuase it has a different subject matter to the other sections of your website no? Otherwise what would be the point of moving it? As long as your new website has clear thematic optimsiation, Google will not penalise you if you 301 all of the old domains to new.

I understand your concerns about implementing a huge number of 301s however if it makes sense to create this new website from a section of your old website, then it would make sense to Google to see this new website and understand the 301s.

I always approach this type of question with, if it makes sense to the user, then it will make sense to Google as long as your intentions are correct (and you're not trying to pull the wool over Google's eyes! ;) )

SEOPanda




msg:4405282
 5:52 pm on Jan 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

thanks dannibecher. While the content is different, and should be it's own, it COULD be seen in Google as the same. For example, if we sold cars, we might want to list our sports cars on a different site than our hybrids. While the two are both pertaining to us, they are different, even though Google can see them as the same. Plus, there might be a model that offers a sports version and also a hybrid version, so both sites would have the same car, just a different trim.

Does that make sense?

does this change anyone's thoughts?

Thanks!

enigma1




msg:4405293
 6:17 pm on Jan 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

We are going to be moving a big part of our site to a new domain.

Well I was thinking about it, if you do have some different content you need to move, why not moving it to a sub-domain instead of a completely different one? I would think it would help the authority of your domain and you have less complications with spiders.

SEOPanda




msg:4405294
 6:24 pm on Jan 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

Well I was thinking about it, if you do have some different content you need to move, why not moving it to a sub-domain instead of a completely different one? I would think it would help the authority of your domain and you have less complications with spiders.


Might work with a smaller site, but the big guys in charge want a new domain.

jimbeetle




msg:4405583
 4:12 pm on Jan 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

The key is that we are not moving the whole site, just a part of it... does this change your thought?

No, not really. I think you're over thinking the situation. Moving pages is done all the time, it's a normal process. I'm not sure where you got the idea that this would look like spam to SEs.

tedster




msg:4405592
 4:53 pm on Jan 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

I've had a lot of good results in the past by redirecting only the key urls - those with good backlinks, lots of direct entry traffic, or lots of search traffic. Then I let the new domain's internal navigation point the way to the others and I return a 404 or 410 for the original domain's copy of the rest.

I've been told by Google engineers at conferences that they prefer to see all the moved URLs get a 301, and when that's technically easy (keeping the same file paths on the new domain) it is what I prefer. But I'm not a fan of huge htaccess lists - so redirecting only the key URLs sometimes feels the best practical approach.

This "key URL approach" has worked well, in some cases with only less than a day's disruption in search traffic.

netmeg




msg:4405593
 5:00 pm on Jan 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

Tedster's approach sounds like a winner to me. Last time we had this issue, we ended up using a separate instance of apache and .htaccess file, but I like his better.

Brett_Tabke




msg:4405608
 5:26 pm on Jan 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

> This seems like a recipe for SEO disaster.
> There are hundreds of thousands of URLs, so I'm afraid all these 301s > will look like spam to GBOT.

We had a site moved that had about Ten Thousand urls that were 301'd in 1998 to a new domain. Those 301'd urls were still passing page rank up until about 2 years ago when we took down the old 301's.

That site? WebmasterWorld....

SEOPanda




msg:4405614
 5:41 pm on Jan 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

Brett, but it was the full site, not just a part of it, right? My concern is just the part of the site we're moving. if we were moving the whole site I wouldn't be as concerned.

Maybe I'm just being too cautious :)

Brett_Tabke




msg:4405623
 6:10 pm on Jan 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

Nope - just broke off a chunk of the bigger site split it in 3.

jimbeetle




msg:4405722
 11:44 pm on Jan 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

Maybe I'm just being too cautious

And maybe over thinking things a bit. Situations like this happen everyday in hthe brick and mortar world. Companies are restructured, divisions become independent, brands are bought and sold, names changed -- and all you do is send the postmaster a change of address form.

And especially remember what you said in the opening post:

We believe this is beneficial to the user, and really should be it's own site. It also makes our main site less cluttered and easier to navigate and more streamlined.

Sounds like solid business reasons to send that change of address form.

prshkatus




msg:4405819
 9:03 am on Jan 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

thanks everyone for reassurance :)

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