We have now purchased a better domain and after 5-6 years in the online business we are finally making the switch over to it. I am looking for explicit instructions on how to do this safely with Google so that we don't lose any SEO and so that we are not penalized for duplicate content for both domains.
Is there such thing as a sitewide 301 redirect? In terms of Google Analytics will we lose all of our data or can it transfer over to our new domain? How quickly will the indexed pages be removed from Google for the old domain and moved over to the new domain? Or will there *always* be duplicate content on Google for both domain names? We will make sure that a 301 redirect is set on the domain name too, using .htaccess - should we create a robots.txt "disallow" for the old domain too or is that a dangerous thing to do for the proper way to transfer all of our SEO over to the new domain?
Also, we have email set up with Google Apps (back when it was free). We would like to get emails up and running ASAP for the new domain. Can we do this using cPanel for free with the new domain (our server is a VPS Level 3 on HostGator) or can we still use our existing Google Apps account but with a new domain?
Thanks for your help! And hope that all makes sense