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  1. #1
    WDF Staff smoseley's Avatar
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    I have a "customer" who owns a highly ranked website with a significant amount of traffic. They want to change the domain name on (they have the opportunity to get a really great name), but they're afraid of losing traffic in the interim.

    The issue is that the backlinks and page rank on the current domain name are really great, and the new name, although much more brandable, doesn't have any backlinks, and has been sitting in the virtual abyss for the last 15 years.

    The question is... if we go ahead and get the new domain name, how do we transfer the site over without losing SEO or Google positioning?

    My Current Plan:
    1. Acquire the new domain
    2. Create a new site on the new domain and put some new content there
    3. Transfer some of the old content from the old site to the new one
    4. Create all "new" content on the new site and have the old site link to that content
    5. Leave the duplicity in place for about 3-6 months until the new domain can develop some "buzz"
    6. Transfer over the rest of the old content and create a permanent redirect record with the registrar from the old domain to the new one


    If there's a quicker way to do it, though, I'd rather go that route. If we set up a permanent redirect, does Google forward backlink pagerank value to the new site?

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  3. #2
    WDF Staff smoseley's Avatar
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    Bump. Anyone?

  4. #3
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    Sounds like a tricky situation. Google frowns very badly upon two sites with very similar duplicated content and can end up with both sites being removed from the indexing. 301 response permanent redirect is what Google recommend, which basically means if you typed in the old (current address) the user would be taken to the new domain/web address. This would be accepted by Google. I'm not totally sure how this would affect back links though. It would be fine for physical users typing the old address and getting redirected but not sure about how it would affect the search engine ranking. You could contact Google direct and find out what they recommend - I'd definitely do this first. You really have two good things - a current domain name (maybe not perfect) but has excellent search engine results, many existing back links already in place - compared to the new domain name, excellent potential for branding etc, downside is absolutely no back links and no search engine visibility. So your company needs to weigh up which option they prefer, old or new domain... however I think speaking to Google would help make the decision easier. It might be that the permanent 301 redirect will not affect backlinks. Let us know what Google say if you do speak to them because I'm curious to know the answer.
    Good luck.
    Sussex Web Development - freelance website design and e-commerce solutions in Sussex - http://www.sussexwebdevelopment.com

  5. #4
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    I agree with matth, a 301 redirect is a far better solution than risking a Google penalty for duplicated content.

    I did this for a site a while ago. As soon as the new site was launched I worked on new inbound links. I find that traffic dropped by about 20% with the 301 redirect. I lost my page rank as well. This being said it took maybe 3 months to regain the page rank and increase my traffic inline with what my previous site was getting.

  6. #5
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    No matter what, changing your domain name will affect your rankings, largely because each search engine responds differently to such changes, but you can substantially limit the damage done by using a '301' code in HTTP headers.

  7. #6
    gdc
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    The problem with new domain links is that you are losing all of the backlinks to it. You can transfer content, but it will be very difficult to aquire the backlinks.

  8. #7
    Junior Member gingabox's Avatar
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    definitely agree with the 301 here. but since I know they will probably worry about the change of the url in the address box, you could do some url rewrites and mask the url... not sure what anyone thinks of that option

    One other thing... instead of doing a 301 in the header, why not do a .htaccess redirect? its similar, but is it the same? wonder what Google would have to say about that
    Ryan Russell
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  9. #8
    jj1
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    I've never done this but I think you MUST redirect from old to new site (believe it's a 301 redirect??)
    Otherwise Google is likely hit you with duplicate content filter and put the new pages into the supplemental for months - I experienced this when I changed the urls on one of my first sites and didn't redirect: the new pages ended up in the supplemental and didn't rank well. I had to rewrite and it took months to get the pages ranking well again.


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