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As a grad student at UPenn, I have access to the subdomain seas.upenn.edu/~lindsb/, in which I built a simple personal website. This domain showed up in the top 5 results on Google when I typed in "Ben Lindsay", I assume because it belongs to upenn.edu, a relatively well-respected website. I assume this because I did nothing intentional to try to improve SEO and probably did not do anything magical by accident. About a year ago, I moved my site to benjlindsay.com, which looks much nicer than the previous domain name, but it doesn't show up anywhere on a Google search for my name. I just put in a meta tag in my UPenn domain that redirects to my newer domain name today.

My question is, is there some way to make use of the UPenn subdomain to get benjlindsay.com to show up in the top 5?

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    Not really short of one link. Work on your own site by creating content making it relevant. Consider a Google+ account and linking it to your site. Use schema.org mark-up for your posts and contact information. Gain an audience then brand your name.
    – closetnoc
    Feb 14, 2017 at 4:25

1 Answer 1

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If you want search engines to take notice that your site moved, you need to implement 301 redirects. In general, bots do not follow redirects via meta tags.

Another option would be to use canonical tag, however keep in mind that 301 is better.

As for the ranking aspect in general - just stick to normal website development, give it some time, add some social signals from Twitter, G+, LinkedIn, GitHub (for example, your public LinkedIn profile shows the correct link, but GitHub still links to the edu domain).

On your personal site, make one about me page and implement person schema. Link back to your social footprint. Sample code:

<script type="application/ld+json">
{
  "@context": "http://www.schema.org",
  "@type": "person",
  "name": "Something Something",
  "url": "https://example.com/",
  "image": "https://example.com/images/me.jpg",
  "sameAs" : [
    "https://www.twitter.com/someid",
    "https://www.twitter.com/anotherid",
    "https://plus.google.com/+someID/posts",
    "https://www.linkedin.com/in/someid",
    "https://github.com/someid"
  ],
  "jobTitle": "Something",
  "telephone": "+1234567890",
  "worksFor": "Some Corp, Inc.",
  "description": "Some description"
}
 </script>

Getting a rank for [first name last name] with exact match domain should be rather easy.

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  • Thanks for the detailed info! I tried implementing a 301 redirect with a .htaccess file, but it didn't work. Maybe I'll try that again. Thanks for letting me know my GitHub was out of date. Feb 14, 2017 at 17:02
  • Your .htaccess may be fine - your host may have something turned off in config. It is common for sysadmins on such hosts to instruct httpd to ignore user-made .htaccess files. It varies, you should check with your sysadmin what is allowed. They do it precisely because edu domains are high-profile and carry high value for search engine spammers :). If this is the case, try fiddling with PHP or anything that will allow you to customize headers before a response to http request is sent.
    – Bartek
    Feb 14, 2017 at 17:09
  • I'm too much of a novice to follow the fiddling with PHP suggestion...would this be something that could improve my new site's rank even if web crawlers are the only things that see my .edu subdomain, or would that only benefit if humans are still going to the .edu subdomain? If it's the former, then please expand on that or point me to some resources. If it's the latter, I'll just leave my meta tag redirect in place. Feb 15, 2017 at 2:09

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