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Google Change Of Address tool - Has anyone used this



12:48 pm on Jan 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I have the site exxmple.co.uk which is well ranked for a lot of great keywords. I get around 300K unique users per month.

My site is not UK specific, in fact it is probably more US specific. I recently bought the domain exxmple.com which is currently set up as 301 redirect to example.co.uk

My site ranks very well in Google.co.uk (top 10 for most important keywords) whereas it ranks top 50 - 100 for the same keywords in Google.com

My theory is that because it is a .co.uk domain it is ranked down in google.com and up in google.co.uk as they assume the content is UK specific.

I am thinking about using the google "change of address" tool to change my domain from example.co.uk to example.com in the hope that it will improve my rankings in Google.com which will in turn get me more traffic as their are more people using that version of Google.

So I have two questions

1) Do you think this is a good idea, do you think changing my domain from exxmple.co.uk to exxmple.com will improve my ranking in Google.com

2) Has anyone used the "change of address" tool and can they report their experience specifically referring to the affect that it had on their rankings before and after the change.

3) Has anyone ever used the change of address, then not liked the results, then changed back? if so what happened.

Thansk for the help.



[edited by: tedster at 1:28 pm (utc) on Jan. 6, 2010]
[edit reason] switch to example.com [/edit]


6:13 am on Jan 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

If you want a better chance at ranking outside the UK, yes, it would be a good idea to use the ,com domaim. However, you will most likely lose the rankings that your .co.uk domain has and it will take some time for the .com to take over. In the long run, you will have more of the situation you hope for.

Don't just depend on the change of address form, however - definitely use a 301 redirect from the old domain to the new as well. I have not used the change of address form personally, but I had hear from others that it seems to help make the period of lost rankings shorter.It is also a good idea to contact the webmasters who are linking to the old domain, let them know about the new domain and ask them to change their link.


12:05 pm on Jan 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Hi Ted, I don't mind losing the .co.uk ranking as long as I get the same ranking for the .com in return.

Does anyone have any direct experience of using the change of address tool?



7:08 pm on Jan 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hi dognobbler. I am in pretty much the same position as you. My site is currently hosted on "my-name.us" and I recently acquired "myname.com".

I have only been able to find only one example of someone who has actually tried the "Change of Address" tool:

I have been researching site migration / changing of address for a while now, and I am still not extremely comfortable about moving forward. After reading about the experience above, I am hesitant to try the Change of Address tool.

In Google's official "moving your site" guide ( [google.com...] ) they recommend that

you move and redirect a section or directory first, and then test to make sure that your redirects are working correctly before moving all your content

So far the advice that makes the most sense to me came from a thread here ( [webmasterworld.com...] ) where sandyeggo mentioned in the last post

matt [cutts] told me at pubcon to move the site (301) one directory at a time over a period of time so not to cause a big disruption

Again, making the change one directory at a time seems like the safest approach to me, but if you look at the directions just above the Change of Address tool, they seem to suggest that I use it only after I have completely moved my site and redirected all traffic via 301.

For best results, follow these steps:

1.Set up the new site Review our guidelines for moving your site to a new domain. Set up your content on your new domain, then make sure all internal links point to the new domain.

2.Redirect all traffic from the old site Use a 301 redirect to permanently redirect the pages on your old site to your new site. This tells users and search engines that your site has permanently moved. Ask webmasters to update their links to point to your new domain and make sure incoming links to your old site are redirected correctly using the 301 redirects.

3.Add your new site to Webmaster Tools Make sure you have added and verified your new domain.

4.Tell us the URL of your new domain

This doesn't seem to square with Google's (Matt Cutt's) advice to move to new domain gradually, in batches of files does it?


3:53 am on Jan 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

@Gray_Fox - you'll find that best practice in moving any site is 100% unique to that site. For very large sites it can be beneficial to manage migration to a new domain in chunks. But sadly this is all but impossible for most site owners. COA helps to port SERP rankings, but when you start adding geotargeting into the equation things will be more complicated. Moving from ccTLD to gTLD is going to throw a few extra variables into the mix.

Given the choice of using the COA tool or not - I'd certainly opt for former.


5:10 pm on Jan 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

If I rely on the directions provided on the COA tool page, I will have to migrate my site all at once. This conflicts with the advice given by Matt Cutts and others to migrate a site slowly/gradually "so not to cause a big disruption." Should I migrate my whole site at one time with COA ... or migrate directory by directory without COA (or with COA after I've migrated all directories)?


5:23 pm on Jan 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I'd say the decision should be based on the size/scale of the site involved. I've been involved with site moves that were done a directory at a time and some that were done all at once. For a smaller site (say a few thousand pages) there was no problem with Google moving everything at once.

The advantage to you in moving one directory at a time (which can be a pain) is that you don't risk the entire business in one shot. If anything goes wrong technically, either on your side or on Google's side, you haven't taken a major body blow. And after you move a few directories, you learn the process well and are less likely to generate problems.


5:47 pm on Jan 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I am not sure how I would move my site one directory as a time.

At the moment:

- example.co.uk points to my site
- example.com is a 301 redirect to example.co.uk

I plan to:

- update DNS for example.com so that it points to same directory as example.co.uk

- re-point example.co.uk to another directory which contains 301 redirect to example.com

that way my site becomes example.com and example.co.uk is 301 redirected to example.com

Then I use the CoA tool

To me this seems like the simplest way to do it.

Does this seem logical?



11:40 pm on Jan 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

I had a very similar quandary a while back. In the end I set up a second site with sufficiently altered content and US localisation of certain words using the .com domain. I then set the UK domain in Google WMT as geo-targetting the UK and left .com with no geo-target. Hosted it in the US and left the UK as it was.

Turned out pretty succesful and obviously the UK targetted site maintained it's positions. It was more work, two sites to maintain of course, but I'm pleased with the results.


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