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I've made a bad decision earlier and created a local website on a .com domain while I already have the same domain with the local tld.

The site is only a few weeks old so I hope I can do the whole thing without hurting the page's SEO.

So the current site is on a .com domain, using Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools. It also has around 200 indexed pages.

My first question is what should I do with these Google services? Remove the tracking codes from the .com site and delete them fron GA and Webmaster Tools and thats all? Or is there any option that helps me to tell Google that this site will be available on a .de domain?

My second question is how to do the redirections? My first idea is that I keep the .com online and redirect (301) the pages programmatically to their .de version. If I do this should I keep the Google services that belong to the .com? Will this help Google to understand that this site moved to another domain? Or do I need to use DNS redirections? With the first version I can easily redirect xy.com/page to xy.de/page, however I'm not sure it can be done with DNS.

My goal is to make everything SEO/Google friendly as possible so I would really appreciate if somebody could give me some guidance on what is the best strategy to handle the situation. Is there any real danger or common mistake that I should have to avoid?

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The migration process from (TLD to ccTLD(country code top-level domain)) will be same just like other process.

My first question is what should I do with these Google services?

  1. You don't need to remove your submited website under search console tool.
  2. You don't need to remove analytics code as well, because when you implement 301 redirection, then neither browser nor Googlebot will look/crawl inside the webpages, they just follow the redirection which you have set. So the google analytics code and other codes will simply ignore by Google crawler, so if you remove it or not, then nothing will happen (except your hosting storage).

My second question is how to do the redirections?

There are too many solution to implement 301 redirection. And it can also be done via plugin if you're using some popular CMS like Wordpress, joomla or drupal. So if you're using some open source software, then checkout their docs, you might find easy way to implement 301 redirection, otherwise follow the offical guidelines based on your server. Here is apache 301 solution and here is nginx 301 solution.

Just make sure all the pages should be redirect to proper version of your de website, as you said xy.com/page to xy.de/page. I don't know anybody doing 301 redirection via DNS, there may be some hack, but DNS is not made for that, hence I don't recommended it.

The smooth migration is done like this.

  1. Make sure all 301 redirection is proper from old domain to new one.
  2. Add your new site into search console and verify that new property. (Don't remove the old website/property from search console tool)
  3. Use change of address tool in your old(www.example.com) search console property, and select your new website into that tool.
  4. Submit your new .de website sitemap into new search console property.

Then wait and watch into index reports from google search console.

Actually it is totally fine to use TLD if you have set Germany as your target country into search console. It is not bad decision.

  • I have set Germany as a target country, however I would sleep better with .de. Do you think a .com with country targetation is nearly equal to a local domain? – rihe Apr 9 '17 at 14:57
  • Yes, that's why Google search console gives that option. .com may be help in future if you want to scale your business in other country. But I will suggest to go with what your audience like. If they remember your site name easily with .de then go with that as well. In seo point of view both will be fine. – Goyllo Apr 10 '17 at 7:08

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