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  1. #1
    SitePoint Addict revlimiter's Avatar
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    New Domain Name - Google.com Sitewide 301 Redirect?

    Hi everyone,
    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
    "To make an apple pie from scratch,
    you must first create the universe.
    -Carl Sagan

  2. #2
    Certified Ethical Hacker silver trophybronze trophy dklynn's Avatar
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    rev,

    Using a one-liner like
    Code:
    Redirect 301 / http://newdomain.com/
    in your OLD domain's DocumentRoot (.htaccess) should be all you need. SE's should not penalize because you've provided the information that the redirection is permanent.

    Why bother with robot.txt when you're redirecting EVERYTHING to the new domain?

    I use cPanel all the time to set-up new e-mail accounts, account forwarders and ... Be sure to have a look at the tailoring of your EXIM server to knock out the .cn, .in, .ru and .ro origins as they are the greatest creators of SPAM.

    THEN you provided the scare: HostGator is known as a registrar and members have long complained about their very poor service as a host. If my foggy memory serves, they didn't even offer mod_rewrite (to standard web accounts ... you may be okay with your VPS account). I would recommend a thorough search of other hosts before committing to HostGator (I use WebHostingBuzz for two accounts and modVPS for one and can recommend both. NO problem in my several years with WHB - they've just invited me to be an Ambassador for them - and the occasional problems at modVPS have been efficiently resolved).

    Regards,

    DK
    David K. Lynn - Data Koncepts is a long-time WebHostingBuzz (US/UK)
    Client and (unpaid) WHB Ambassador
    mod_rewrite Tutorial Article (setup, config, test & write
    mod_rewrite regex w/sample code) and Code Generator

  3. #3
    SitePoint Addict revlimiter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dklynn View Post
    rev,

    Using a one-liner like
    Code:
    Redirect 301 / http://newdomain.com/
    in your OLD domain's DocumentRoot (.htaccess) should be all you need. SE's should not penalize because you've provided the information that the redirection is permanent.

    Why bother with robot.txt when you're redirecting EVERYTHING to the new domain?

    I use cPanel all the time to set-up new e-mail accounts, account forwarders and ... Be sure to have a look at the tailoring of your EXIM server to knock out the .cn, .in, .ru and .ro origins as they are the greatest creators of SPAM.

    THEN you provided the scare: HostGator is known as a registrar and members have long complained about their very poor service as a host. If my foggy memory serves, they didn't even offer mod_rewrite (to standard web accounts ... you may be okay with your VPS account). I would recommend a thorough search of other hosts before committing to HostGator (I use WebHostingBuzz for two accounts and modVPS for one and can recommend both. NO problem in my several years with WHB - they've just invited me to be an Ambassador for them - and the occasional problems at modVPS have been efficiently resolved).

    Regards,

    DK
    Hi dyklynn,
    Thanks - so the OLD domain will contain this .htaccess and the NEW domain doesn't need to contain any extra code in the .htaccess at all?
    In terms of Google, will they be keeping the old domain up there along with the new domain as well for a long time? Is it possible that I will lose all of my SE rankings and have to start over? And will I need to time this domain launch along with Google's quarterly 3 month deep crawl or can I do this at any time? Keep in mind that we do not want to be penalized for duplicate content on Google for both domains, at all if possible. We are looking to keep our rankings intact but for the new domain. Maybe we don't need to do anything at all except for the .htaccess redirect and Google will just know that the new site does not get penalized for duplicate content?

    One quick word on this too: we will be keeping the old domain and have it redirect to the new domain forever. Will the old domain eventually be removed from Google completely as soon as they see the redirect taking place?

    Also, I think we are OK for our VPS hosting for now, but when we do switch over it may be with WHB or another company which is similar.
    Thanks!
    "To make an apple pie from scratch,
    you must first create the universe.
    -Carl Sagan

  4. #4
    Mouse catcher silver trophy Stevie D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by revlimiter View Post
    Thanks - so the OLD domain will contain this .htaccess and the NEW domain doesn't need to contain any extra code in the .htaccess at all?
    That's right.
    (You don't even have to own the new domain for this to work, you could set up redirects to someone else's site if you wanted to)


    In terms of Google, will they be keeping the old domain up there along with the new domain as well for a long time? Is it possible that I will lose all of my SE rankings and have to start over? And will I need to time this domain launch along with Google's quarterly 3 month deep crawl or can I do this at any time? Keep in mind that we do not want to be penalized for duplicate content on Google for both domains, at all if possible. We are looking to keep our rankings intact but for the new domain. Maybe we don't need to do anything at all except for the .htaccess redirect and Google will just know that the new site does not get penalized for duplicate content?

    One quick word on this too: we will be keeping the old domain and have it redirect to the new domain forever. Will the old domain eventually be removed from Google completely as soon as they see the redirect taking place?
    If you can afford to, it's a good idea to keep the old domain there with the redirects active forever. Although search engines will, in time, update their indexes and remove the old site, there could well be people who have linked to your old site or bookmarked your old site, and the chances of getting all these people to update their links and bookmarks is small.

    If you put a redirect in place and the new website is clearly an evolution of the old one (bearing in mind that Google focuses on content rather than visuals), you shouldn't lose your rankings. You might experience a temporary dip while Google works out what's going on, but once it's done that it should put you back to where you were. It certainly shouldn't take 3 months, at least not to get the main pages done (although some deeper links may take longer to be crawled and updated), I would have said that a few weeks should normally be more than enough. (On the other hand, if it takes longer then it isn't the end of the world, because the redirects will ensure that everyone is taken to the right page even if they follow a link to the old URL)

    A useful tip is to use a canonical tag on every page. Add a line like

    HTML Code:
    <link rel="canonical" href="http://example.com/page/">
    to the <head> of each page, giving the URL that you want to be indexed for that page. Combined with the redirects, that will help Google to understand that it is not duplicate content, it is the same content but at a new URL, so it will transfer the rankings and link juice more quickly.


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