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Please kindly help me with the problem described below:
I have an old site which has a excellent on Google, and the PR is 5 now. But for certain reasons, it must be abolished in the coming months. So I built a bran-new site and submitted to google a month ago. To my great surprise, the new site has not been listed on Google yet when I do a search [site:mydomain.com], no results... ;(
I just don't know why. I haven't tried any sneaky, spammy tactics, the sitemap.xml file has been submitted OK, and I have added a few quality links. Yahoo, MSN has included my new site, but google...
I conside using domain redirection, such as 301 redirection. But I am afraid it may influence the rank of old site. And I also attempt to use Javascipt code to redirect as follows:
Is it feasible way? Or what should I do to list the new domain in Google ASAP and not slide down my old site rank on Google. It will be greatly appreciated if you can guide me how can I, or the best way should I do now.
Regards and thanks.
[edited by: trillianjedi at 11:40 am (utc) on Sep. 1, 2005]
[edit reason] Please examplify code snippets - thanks. [/edit]
This is a very good question and one that needs to be answered. Google's webmaster guidelines are not much help in this area. What should we do if we need to move an established site from one domain to a new domain?
First, if you registered new domain a few months before launching a site under it, you could risk putting 301 redirect from new domain to old domain - after next toolbar PR a new domain will have stolen PR from old page, but this redirect will prevent from indexing new domain, so it's very tricky and crazy idea. Though someone might want to try this.
When new site is launched, any redirect like above has to be cancelled, and you need quality links. If you're shutting down the old site, do 301 redirect from its main page, and also try to 301 redirect all deeper urls from old site to pages in new site with the same subject. But ensure, that each deep url you 301 from what you're redirecting still has some inbound links so Googlebot will crawl it.
If old site was listed in DMOZ, send them URL update. If old url has 301 to new, after such request DMOZ changes the url. DMOZ link would be great help for your new domain.
This are my opinions, and I'm not stating it definitely, some members may know better, but this is what I would think about if I were facing your problem. I don't know how to ensure avoiding sandbox in this situation, mayby someone could point a way.
It doesn't seem right that an established site should be filtered just because the domain changed. Especially if 301 redirects are done from the original site and the new domain has been registered for a while (a couple of years in my case).
It would be nice for Google to acknowledge that webmasters occasionally have a need to change domains and to provide some guidance on the best way to make the transition without loosing the site's ranking.
Of course there are soo many weird things to try. You could leave old domain for Google, and cloak all requests sending the content for Googlebot and redirect to new domain for users. So users will be directed to new domain while in Google index there will be the old one. And as you didn't need to have new pages in Google index, you could give them cloaky redirects for Googlebot to high PR pages so all your pages would appear to have PR 8 or higher.
But clearly it could end up with a penalty, so I don't think it's worth risking.
Why-O-Why are sites punished for this?
Do I have any hope for this next update?
Just as a side note all of the PR prediction tools are predicting a 6 for this site… I know PR doesn’t matter much but I grasping at straws here.
You know, for Google being the top dog and all, I didn't have any problem whatsoever with Yahoo! or MSN during that domain change. What gives?
Just make sure you REALLY want that new domain name, cause you may not perform as well with Google for quite a while after that (4 months so far for me... who knows how long still). Hopefully you have alternative marketing methods, cause you'll need them.
These days, if you realize that you MUST drop the old domain, I am afraid that we must accept that the new domain has to start from scratch. Hopefully you have enough time for the transition period that the new domain will be able to overcome the sandbox and start gaining rank on its own.
When you create the new domain's website, but make sure that it has absolutely no duplicate content. It can be on topic, but totally different new unique content. Start it the same way you would start any new domain. Get some links pointed to it so that the spiders have a way to get to it. "Submitting" is chancy, good backlinks are best to get the spiders in quickly.
Sad as it sounds, when you get ready to take down the old domain, do just that. Take the pages down and let them all 404. Make sure that they have all been spidered and 404'd (this might take some time) before you attempt to "update" the new domain website with the old pages' content. Take heart - if you were able to build a good website before, you will be able to do so again.
I urge you NOT to use the Google removal tool. This seems to just remove them from the public index, but Google still has them in it's memory somewhere. And they will pop back into the public index after 6 months. Once again, even though they have been "gone" for 6 months, Google already knows they are duplicate content, so the minute they return to the public index as supplemental results, bam, duplicate content penalty on the new site.
Sounds like you've got a lot of pages. If they're scripted at all you might try modifying your script to generate the 301 for each page.
BTW, PageRank ultimately carried over (in fact, new pages have shown up as PR5 since the last update) but I'm still not showing up in the G SERPs.
I sure wish someone from Google would take note of this thread and comment on the correct way to move a site to a new domain without being penalized. There should be some best practice recommendations.
I have IIS setup to 301 redirect every page to the same page on the new domain (siteA.com/widgets.htm will convert to siteB.com/widgets.htm).
I sure wish someone from Google would take note of this thread...
I second that, because I have read so many conflicting threads (here and elsewhere) from "the 301 took 3 weeks and all is well" to "it's been over a year and still nothing". This area of "domain name changes" seems to be a very unstable and problematic thing for Google or maybe it's simply a way to make expamles of sites not to do this very thing.
PlanetTokyo, how many months since you invoked the 301?
But I haven't had any long-lasting luck with 301s. At first they seem to work, but then the new site just starts sliding downhill.
I have a not-too-well-formed guess/theory that some sort of penalty eventually catches up to the new site because the "old" site suddenly "lost" a bunch of backlinks. Does that make any sense?
So, lately I have just been trying to start clean sites from scratch and build them up to a PR 4 or 5 on their own, rather than risk these esoteric penalties because I'm not sure of the exact steps that Google expects me to take. It takes a lot of time to start from scratch, but it takes even MORE time to dig out of a penalty that you aren't even sure of the reason for.
There seem to be multiple factors involved, and apparently I'm not taking them ALL into account with just a 301 perm redirect.
I'm not sure what the answer is as far as Google goes. Yahoo and MSN have recognized the redirect and are still sending me traffic.
If it is for humane visitors they will benefit from a 310 redirect in that they wil 'land' on the proper (new) URL.
If it is for search engines it may be a different game altogether.
I am in the same situation, I just transferred a part of my old website to a new domain and made a 301 to the new domain.
I always showed up in the first 5 results of a Google SERP for the terms I was targetting for, now I am down to position 60. So what? People who have bookmarked my site still can find me. If they use MSN of Yahoo search engines they can find me. So *beep* Google ;-)
Yes, I have build my site so that it scores high in Google searches too. However, Google seems to have their own rules these days which nobody understands but Google.
My point is that if you don't know the rules of the game you'd better forget about playing it. Just do the best you can, build your site for human visitors with lots of good content. Rely on the other search engines and forget about Google.
I also expect that, as soon as people discover that other search engines do deliver results that Google does not, they will use alternative engines more and more. That may be a welcome change given the current dominant position of Google.....
Many thanks for your input. I am really very confused now. Combine with your practical experience, I think my new domain has been filtered into G sandbox because of duplicate content. But I have updated the content and meta, and resubmit to Google two weeks ago. But the new domain have not indexed yet;( If this comes true, how long it will back into sandbox? What should I do now? Perform the 301 redirection? It would rapidly slide down my old domain ranking, and I am not sure whether the new one will be indexed immediately. :(
New Domain with 301 from old site = New Site
New Domain with no redirect from old site = New Site
New Domain with meta refresh from old site = New Site
New Domain and old domain with old content = New Site & Dup Content
IOW New Domain = New Site
Don't change if you don't have to - the, for lack of a better term, sandbox is in play.
I had to move to a new domain and re-write part of the site content. Some pages had to be deleted, some to be changed, a lot could survive with unchanged content but perhaps a new URL because the directory structure could not be maintained entirely.
First of all I loaded the site to the new domain. Tested everything, especially internal links and the error trap '404-page not found' as that was needed to tell visitors and spiders that some pages did not exist anymore. On the IIS-based system my new ISP uses that 404 failed initially when a custom error page was installed, but that was fixed in a day or two. So you'd better test the server headers as wel.......
When things tested OK on the new domain I removed everything from the old domain and installed a redirect 301. From that moment on visitors and spiders would land on the new site and either find the information they want or be confronted with a customised 404 page explaining things and offering some help. That point was reached in the last week of August.
Only then I then submitted the old AND new domain to search engines, hoping to 'push' them to notice to the changes.
Immidiately following that I wrote the directories (DMOZ and some local ones) about the change, asking them to remove and/or change their links.
My old site used to show up in the first 5 results of most search engines for the search terms I am interested in.
MSN, FAST, Altavista and Yahoo! showed the new site within a couple of days, ranking as I expected, Google moved the new site to position 60 or so. I assumed that was the sandbox effect.
On September 2 DMOZ changed the links in their directory. Yesterday I noticed that Google used the updated DMOZ directory, this morning I found my site on #1 in Google again.
On a daily basis I now analyze the traffic, just to detect which referring URLs result in a 404. If that is a link on website somewhere I mail the owner and tell him what happened. That should result in less 404s after some time.
Hope this helps somebody out there in decision making ;-)
I'd like to join those calling for Google to be a bit more open about the best way to move domain names. Thousand of sites must have to do this every year for completely legitimate reasons. I'm sure that most businesses would even pay a small fee to have Google do the switch for them. Google could then afford to employ humans to check whether the switch was legitimate.