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Webmaster Tools and redirecting only some URL's to a domain

     
11:28 am on Sep 8, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I'm moving a site to a new domain that is more appropriate name for the content and a lot easier to type/remember.

I have lot of content in a forum that is unrelated to the main topic, I've been denying the bots access to that content for a while now but a lot of it is still indexed. My question is about using the site moved option in Webmaster Tools. Is there any issue with using that if I'm only redirecting some of the content and sending a 404 for the rest of it?
1:54 pm on Sept 8, 2017 (gmt 0)

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The sitemap for the new domain will only include the re-directed pages.

You can use the URL removal tool to de-index the pages that aren't re-directed.
4:11 pm on Sept 8, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Long-term fix: wait for Google to adopt Bing's version, which lets you move individual directories.

Redirecting to a 404 is obviously not ideal. But if nothing is staying behind, it's not that bad an approach. Do make sure you're serving 410s where appropriate. Google, unlike some search engines, seems to have a clear sense that this means “It’s gone, so stop asking”.

Advice from experience: Even if you are moving entire directories to a new site, keep all robots.txt Disallows in place at the old site. Otherwise, search engines will waste their time requesting what they see as newly-allowed content (which they always know about), only to receive a redirect that they're then unable to follow.
4:31 pm on Sept 8, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Sorry guess I wasn't specific enough. I'll only be redirecting the content I want indexed. I'll do the major redirects through htaccess, The wildcards such as topics I'll redirect with a php script doing a quick query on the database to see if it will be redirected.

My question pertains to the way Google has it worded, something along the lines of "make sure your site is redirecting properly". I'm wondering if there is any issues with Google running into a bunch of 404's on the old domain instead of them being redirected since they are not "redirecting properly",

Thanks for the tip on the 410, that was something else I was wondering about.
6:23 pm on Sept 8, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Use 404's or 410's to get google to de-index everything on the old domain that you don't want to move. This will essentially reduce the old domain to the pages that you do want to re-direct. Then you are free to move this remaining part of the site in the normal way.

As I said, you can use the URL removal tool to cut down on the waiting time before you are ready to male the move.
8:53 pm on Sept 8, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I'm wondering if there is any issues with Google running into a bunch of 404's on the old domain instead of them being redirected since they are not "redirecting properly"

Seems like they'd be happier getting a 404 (or 410) on the original request, as opposed to getting a redirect which then ends up with a 404.

Even if you've told them the whole site is moving, they won't magically stop requesting stuff on the old site. (Google Never Forgets.) You question is just about your GSC account, right?, not about the overall behavior of the Googlebot.
1:40 am on Sept 9, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Google Never Forgets
Boy ain't that the truth,

If I had a talking parrot, that's what I'd teach 'em... "Google Never Forgets... Google Never Forgets... ack"
7:41 am on Sept 9, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Even if you've told them the whole site is moving, they won't magically stop requesting stuff on the old site. (Google Never Forgets.) You question is just about your GSC account, right?,


I realize that but the concern I have is they are specifying to make sure it's redirecting correctly before changing it. some won't be redirecting correctly to the new domain but that's on purpose.
7:59 am on Sept 9, 2017 (gmt 0)

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some won't be redirecting correctly to the new domain but that's on purpose
Probably best to serve those requests a 410 Gone.
5:26 pm on Sept 9, 2017 (gmt 0)

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some won't be redirecting correctly to the new domain but that's on purpose

Won't be redirecting correctly, or won't be redirecting at all? If a given URL isn't moving, then it would be correct not to redirect it.

You'll find one annoying but unavoidable detail. Whenever a site--any site, regardless of size or age--issues a lot of redirects, Google will programmatically check for "soft 404s". That's where they ask for a garbage URL like klfliumjhvfyutfhh.html in order to assure themselves that it receives a proper 404. If you have moved an entire site, those garbage requests will be redirected right along with everything else, creating an unwanted 301 >> 404 sequence. There is simply nothing to do about this. (Well, sometimes there is--I can think of at least two alternatives--but really it's more trouble than it's worth.)