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I have to move one domain to a new one which is semantically better for SEO. I would like to know the best way to do it so that the new domain keeps the google position. I know the basic steps:

  • to put a redirection 301 in the old one, with an apache script, it can be very detailed, but the important is the 301 header

  • for google you can tell them through the webmaster tools page

  • try to gain pagerank for the new domain

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You seem to have it pretty much nailed.

The important part is having 301 redirects from all the old URLs to the corresponding page on the new site. If you're keeping your site structure the same and just changing the domain name, it's pretty easy: just set up a general redirection rule (e.g. with Apache mod_rewrite) from oldsite.com/foo/bar?what=ever to newsite.com/foo/bar?what=ever.

As Anagio suggests, it's also a good idea to try and get other sites to update their links so they point directly to the new domain. However, that's not particular important — while 301 redirects do lose a small amount of PageRank, it is, to quote Matt Cutts, "just a tiny little bit, not very much at all". A more important reason for trying to get people to update their links is that you presumably want to build some brand recognition around your new domain, and having a mess of two different kinds of links to your site floating around may interfere with that and confuse users.

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I would transfer copies of the files to the new server, make sure your settings are all correct and that your database is working if needed. Add you're redirects, new sitemap submit it etc. Contact anyone who's been linking to the old domain ask they update their links if possible. And that's about it. You're moving to a new domain so you will lose rankings even with all 301's for every page on your site. They don't pass as much link juice as a direct link that isn't being redirected.

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