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Here is my experience with a recent 301 redirect:
--Popular travel niche website approx 4 years old.
--Actively covering all topics related to my niche but we also sell entire vacationsÖ think of this site as being a vortal covering everything and anything dealing with this niche including up-to-date news, weather, unique articles, forums, interactive tools for planning a vacation and a bunch more all of which are free.
--Very little link trading with the bulk of links coming in naturally
--Very little outbound linking
--Clean HTML (for the most part)
--Listed in DMOZ, Yahoo Directory, Zeal and Google Directory
--Was a PR 4 with about 50 inbound links
--Index count was 6,080
--Was in the top 10 results pretty solid even through Bourbon and other various updates
The 301 bomb (website suicide), applied a domain wide 301 redirect via IIS to a domain that is 18 months old. E.G. olddomain.com/widgets --> newdomain.com/widgets
I have seen some people post ďwhy would you do this?Ē Ö this isnít a valid question in my opinion because there are lots of very good reasons to do so.
--301 was put in place roughly 80 days ago
--After approx 5 days the site was nowhere to be found in the SERPís
--Sent a request to help@ and was told the site was not banned or penalized
--Started the long waiting process
--Quasay non existent update Gilligan started
--Old domain was stripped of PR across all DCís
--New domain still has no PR on any DCís
--BLís update to 138 on most DCís
--Google Directory updated showing the new domain as a PR 6 and at the top of my niche
--site:oldsite.com would reveal the new domain
--index count is fluxing between 10,300 and 10,900
--PR begins to return to the old domain!
--alas, no where in the SERPís even after going 50 pages deep.
Sounds like classic sandbox in my opinion but I think a better name would be ďGilliganís IslandĒ because most of us in 301 club feel stranded on a deserted island with no hope of rescue but occasionally there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon.
I also want to point out that until you have been through an experience like this itís not helping anyone to call people in this situation whiners, or something inflammatory because we are simply trying to figure out how to make a some what smooth transition and to avoid the sandbox.
Well, if you are still reading you are probably in this position now but if you are thinking about doing a 301 redirect, do so understanding that you will loss rank for at least several weeks.
Here some alternatives that have been discussed
1)Meta refresh to new domain Ė bad, could get a dupe content filter
3)302 redirect Ė is not permanent and is also very spammy looking
4)404 all old pages Ė donít know how this would work
5)Build a new site which simply wasnít an option for me because I have a lot of unique content that would take weeks to regenerate without having any duplication
Another way to look at this was put best by jd01
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.
Being that GoogleGuy is the closest thing we have to a direct contact (for most of us anyway) I would greatly appreciate his feedback.
Almost forgot, the DC's are almost in total alignment for my new domain... all are reporting 10,100 indexed, all but 2 are reporting 138 BL's and the 2 DC's that aren't reporting BL's are the two servers that are holding onto PR for the old domain.
Still hoping for a SERP return when the new domain is recalculated (whatever that means).
More likely they don't see it as a problem.
If this were true, presumably they would say so.
Kaled, I believe they have mentioned it somewhere. Various others have offered technical explanations in several other threads that strictly speaking, in the narrowest sense of the word, not to put too fine a point on it, technically, Google is following established standards and it's negligent webmasters who've caused the problem. The smart thing about Yahoo is that they've been working on the assumption that not everybody building sites has a PhD in standards, protocols, and procedures. And they don't have this problem - or issue if some prefer - with www and non-www.
I've been programing for over twenty years on and off - this smells like a bug not a policy. Sometimes there is a gray area between the two, I tend to call these "behavioural anomalies".
For instance, I'm looking at some graphic software for creating perspective views. Unfortunately, one that I like causes diagonal lines to bend and large ellipses to appear distorted. The algorithm is the problem not the implementation so is this a bug?
I've emailed the company explaining where the fault lies but my guess is they know about it and can't be bothered to fix it. Does that sound familiar?
I too would be interested in what you care to share about where you believe the fault lies.
However, I have said previously that if Google always indexed the targets of redirects, the problem of page-hijacking would vanish. That said, I accept that this would not be a perfect solution. Like others, I have made more sophistated suggestions but there comes a point when you give up.
Since GG does not chime in and say "there is no problem" whenever this comes up we must assume that Google recognises that a problems exists. The fact that it has not been fixed means that either they can't fix it or they can't be bothered to fix it. As I said before - you choose.
Before the domain name was added my site ranked within the top 3 for my chosen keyword. Afterwords it hit #1 and it seemed that it was the new domain that caused this. However when I checked Google a few weeks later my site was several pages down in the SERP's. Last time I managed to pick it up was a few weeks ago and that was on page 18.
I'm still not sure it was the redirect that did this. There were no other major changes at the time that could warrent such a drop though (there was a degree of rebranding, with the page title and text which previous held the site name being changed to the new domain name).
Here's how the redirect looks in the .htaccess file;
The keyword itself is not highly competitive.
Any thoughts on whether or not this would work and what additional problems it might create? It sounds somewhat risky.
I am I correct in my assumption that the way most have handled moving from one site to another is the correct way as per recommendation by all SE's and G seems to be penalising
just what i understand from others comments
maybe GG could comment if webmasters are doing this incorrectly and advise if there is a better way
2) Every one of its blankets has many holes in it.
3) Some "new" sites have been indexed with placeholders for months/years and likely get treated differently than first time indexed sites.
The main thing though is if you expect perfection and 100% consistent application from Google (or any search engine) you will live a life of constant disappointment.
Most advise using 301s and NOT 302s, including Google engineers I talked to at WebmasterWorld and SES conferences.
We've had OK luck getting our many 301'd pages back into the index (I credit sitemaps) but they remain effectively out of the SERPs. Duplicate content appears to be an issue and I remain confused about what's up.
Because search engines have so much power, I believe that a small degree of regulation is required. This is a perfect example of why I believe this. A regulator could instruct Google to fix it or face heavy fines.
Let's not get into a discussion on regulation in this thread
the only way to get Google to fix this is to embarass them.
I just feel that Google cant fix it.People said the same about the "canonical page" problem but there have been few reports of page jacking recently...
The canonical page fix seems to have introduced a few new quirks in 301 handling. I'll be surprised if they're not resolved with the next algo update.
Algo updates happen about every three months. One way to tell when an update is due is when webmasters begin accusing Google of being unwilling or unable to fix a problem. ;)
a new subdomain of your current domain?
Blimey - I am just wondering the same thing as we need to do a massive redirect of traffic today or tomorrow, from www.domain to uk.domain
We have actually chosen to keep some of the old www. site running, and then redirect some of the www. to the new uk. site. Plus there are normal OBL for certain areas from the nav.
I am happy to do the 'proper' thing - in the hope that google sorts itself out (if need be) - plus also means that I don't have to do anything else given that Yahoo and MSN can figure out what 301 redirect means by all accounts.
Any one help on this one?