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Changing domain names

How to save my PR, links, Ranking and Traffic

     
8:14 pm on Jan 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I'm looking to change my company name and domain. My current website is 10 months old and has 107 links with Google and 1500 with MSN.

The new domain would be brand new so nobody knows about it. I would like to transfer my site over to the new domain but not lose my traffic, PR, inbound links, and Google ranking.

Is this possible? If so, how do I do it! ;)

Thanks!

Wes

10:43 pm on Jan 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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In a nut shell, no, no way, nada, nope, nyet, zero, zugga, snowball's chance in hades.
10:49 pm on Jan 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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theBear said:
no, no way, nada, nope, nyet, zero, zugga, snowball's chance in hades.

Well geez, theBear; no need to dance around it. Say what ya mean! ;-)

Eliz.

10:53 pm on Jan 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Alright, well ummm.....thanks for the reply ;)
11:32 pm on Jan 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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The problem will probably be "sandbox", number one. Members have posted here who've disappeared in the serps after doing the sort of thing you're contemplating (large-scale site reorganisation including domain change). Really, if it ain't broke, don't fix it, at least until the whole sandbox thing is over or figured out.
11:43 pm on Jan 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Agreed: Don't do it.

I moved a 10,000 page site from a subdomain of my main site to its own top level domain.
foo.example.com -> thebestfoo.tld

The hope was that the top level domain would be easier to remember and market to attract branded and return visits. I did the move properly with permanent redirects and such.

6 days after the move, I was excited to see that Google stopped sending traffic to the old site and started sending traffic to the new site. On the 7th day I realized that the traffic to the new site was 10% of traffic to the old site. Ten months later, and the site still in the Google sandbox, getting very little Google traffic.

1:39 pm on Jan 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Alright, well I guess I should keep my original domain and perhaps forward the new domain to my current one.
2:02 pm on Jan 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I'm currently going thru this exact scenario, I thought I'd share my experience thus far...

<some brief background>
I owned the .net for my domain name, and purchased the .com, I decided I wanted listings on the .com side.....
</some brief background>

I utilized a 301 redirect to referr all the "foo.net" and "www.foo.net" requests to "www.foo.COM"
(thought I'd take care of the non-www issue at the same time...)
(Thanks WW for teaching my how to do that correctly...)

The referrals and redirects went well for the most part, yahoo changed my listings within 2-3 weeks with no real loss in position.

G on the other hand is being very slow to make the change, most of my old pages are gone, with the new listings showing up a page or two at a time.
I had some high ranking pages, and perhaps the new domain name coming out of the box at #1 for a bunch of terms tripped a switch.

It does look very hopeful, it just seems to be a waiting game with G. Perhaps the pages have to be manually reviewed due to the tripped switch.
But I believe the rest of the site will be back at full strength under the new domain name. Soon!

so far It's been roughly 5 weeks waiting for G to figure it out, but it looks like they DO get it right, eventually.

Just my 2 cents!
Tera

2:13 pm on Jan 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the reply.

I have another question for you. the non-www redirect. How do you do that?

4:29 pm on Jan 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

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this is my current redirect:
the first two redirect the non-www versions to a www version...of the new domain name...

the last one is just the redirect of the www version to the new domain name.

=========================
RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^foo\.com
RewriteRule (.*) [foo.com...] [R=301,L]

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^foo\.net
RewriteRule (.*) [foo.com...] [R=301,L]

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www.foo\.net
RewriteRule (.*) [foo.com...] [R=301,L]
========================

hope that helps you!
It worked for me...

5:34 pm on Jan 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Thank you for the code.

I tried using it but it does not work. I am not using .htaccess though. I do my rewrites in the Apache httpd.conf file.

This is what I am using:

# Redirect non-www to www
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^domain\.com
RewriteRule (.*) [domain.com...] [R=301,L]

6:09 pm on Jan 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

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try:
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST}!^www\.domain\.com [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ [domain.com...] [R=301,L]
6:16 pm on Jan 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Thank you for your reply. I tried that code as well and it still did not work :S
6:43 pm on Jan 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Around August last year I unintentionally removed my most important directory of pages from Google using their URL removal tool whilst trying to address a none-www issue.

Income virtually stopped and things were looking serious.

Googlebot continued to visit these pages even though they had been dropped from the index, so during the Jagger update I 301'd the entire directory to one with a slightly amended name. 2 days later the new pages started to appear on some of the datacenters in similar positions to those prior to removal.

Initially no backlinks were available, but these have now been restored, although I'm still waiting for the PR to reappear.

I was surprised at the speed with which pages reappeared in the index. Is this typical?

Prior to this occassion I had had no success with 301's.

7:35 pm on Jan 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

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This works for me

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^site\.com
RewriteRule (.*) [site.com...] [R=301,L]

8:27 pm on Jan 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

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>> not lose my traffic, PR, inbound links, and Google ranking.

I do not think it is possible with Google's current algo. Unfair, but it is what it is.

3:28 am on Jan 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I have another question for you. the non-www redirect. How do you do that?

Some of that htaccess code posted above had spaces missing because of the forum. The code below, with a description of the missing space should do it. If not, check at the Apache forum.

Options +FollowSymLinks
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST}!^www\.example\.com [NC]
RewriteRule (.*) http://www.example.com/$1 [R=301,L]

Put a space between {HTTP_HOST} and(space)!

5:01 am on Jan 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I had a old client move a site over to a new domain name last year

This was a SERIOUS CHANGE because it was multi-million dollar business.

It was for branding purposes, the domain was targeted and the business had moved into a broader market so a new domain name was adopted.

The 301 took 10 weeks to take, and it was painfull because of the loss of free traffic. Now it has regained it's positions and it is business as usual

1:44 pm on Jan 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Thanks Stefan for the code. I can't get it to work however. I'm not sure why this isn't working. I have tried it tons of ways. Could I try contacting the company that handles my DNS?
2:46 pm on Jan 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

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wfernley - did you put it at the end? Have you tried it in a .htaccess file?
4:42 pm on Jan 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I put it at the beginning. This is how my Rewrites start...

<Directory />
Options FollowSymLinks
AllowOverride None
RewriteEngine On

# Check to see if requested page exists
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_fileNAME}!-s
RewriteCond %{request_filename}!-d
RewriteCond %{request_filename}/!-d

# Redirect non-www to www
# RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST}!^domain\.com [NC]
# RewriteRule (.*)http://www.domain.com/$1 [R=301,L]

I don't use .htaccess files I do my rewrites directly in the apache httpd.conf file.

12:42 am on Jan 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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On a similar note... what if someone wanted to keep their domain name, but just upgrade their current shared web hosting plan? Upgrading the hosting plan would require a change in servers.

Same domain, same host, different server.

What would happen then?

12:47 am on Jan 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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>Same domain, same host, different server?

Nothing will happen you'll be just fine, I've done just that dozens of times without ever having any problem.

1:35 pm on Jan 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Same here Perfection. I change my domain a few months ago from a shared hosting service to dedicated. All the SE's see is your website go down for a day while the DNS changes take effect. I never lost any rankings at all.
 

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