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I have a domain, lets say example.com. I am rebranding the website and moving to example2.com. The example.com domain is well positioned in Google. How do I keep this Google position, or how do I harm it the least? Is a 301 redirect from the old domain to new domain OK?

I was thinking that it would be best to display a message on the old domain, so that when a user visits the old domain he gets redirected to new domain (e.g., "in 3, 2, 1"). I would then keep that for a month so that some of the traffic from the old domain will be redirected to the new one. Is that approach any good?

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The best thing to do is 301 redirect all of the pages from example.com to example2.com. So example.com/directory/page1.html goes to example2.com/directory/page1.html.

If you 301 redirect this way you will maintain all of your indexing on all of those pages for the search results. And all of your link juice pointing to those pages will also pass onto the new domain.

If you simply do a javascript redirect with a 3,2,1 countdown like you said, google isn't going to index the pages on example1.com. In fact, it's going to crawl the pages on example.com, see that they are empty pages with content, and deindex all of them. You're going to lose substantial traffic and SEO this way.

You have to 301 redirect the old domain to the new. You can do this in htaccess and/or in PHP.

  • The first solution you said isnt possible because the page structure on new website is different ( the website update wasnt done with planning for SEO). I wont serve empty page, it will be a full page of the old website but with a modal(popup) that will say you will be redirected to new website. Will that be good? – Shile Feb 22 '18 at 11:50
  • Unless you redirect every old page to its new page link you are going to be doing massive damage to your ranking. Are you using a CMS like wordpress or? – Patrick Feb 22 '18 at 12:05
  • I agree with macheal, you need to redirect the pages individually if the structure doesn't match to preserve SEO. It is possible. It just takes extra work to set up. – Stephen Ostermiller Feb 22 '18 at 14:00
  • The old website used a custom CMS, and the new one uses Wordpress. So you are suggesting to redirect every page individually? I could do that, because there arent that many pages. – Shile Feb 22 '18 at 16:44
  • It's not going to be very good if a user comes from Google searching for "cupcakes" and gets javascript redirected to a new site that isn't about "cupcakes". You should probably copy the old CMS onto the new domain and keep those pages. You want to retain the content if possible. If you can't, you can 301 redirect to the homepage but you will lose all of your indexing. You'll retain your link juice though. – Michael d Feb 22 '18 at 19:24
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When you change URLs, one thing you need to take care of is 301 redirection. Every page from “Domain A” should now point to “Domain B”.

For example:

DomaninA.com/123.html should 301 redirect to DomainB.com/123.html

You can verify the same using an online redirect checker. Here is one such redirect checker- http://www.redirect-checker.org/

Setting up Permanent 301 Redirects Setting up a permanent 301 redirect is very important for both SEO and user experience. This allows you to redirect users and search engines to your new site. In other words, whenever someone lands on one of your old posts or pages, then they will be automatically redirected to your new site.

To setup a permanent 301 redirect, you need to connect to your old site using FTP and edit the .htaccess file. This will be located in the same directory as your wp-includes or wp-admin folder. Open the .htaccess file and paste the following code at the very top:

   Options +FollowSymLinks
   RewriteEngine on
   RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.newsite.COM/$1 [R=301,L]

Note: Replace newsite.com with your domain in the above code.

Once you have applied these changes, then visit your old site. It should automatically redirect you to the new site. If it doesn’t, then it means the redirection is not setup properly.

Step 4: Notifying Google About the Change Login to your Google Webmaster Tools account to submit a change of address. Basically click on your site and look at the left menu under configuration. This allows you to notify Google about your new site and the transfer. Yes, you have to verify your new site, so go ahead and do it. Google Webmaster Tools Change of Address

Step 5: Notify Users While the 301 redirects do the job, it is always good to make a public announcement about the migration. You can do this by simply writing a blog post on your new site. This can be helpful in a lot of ways. First and foremost, your users are more likely to remember the new domain once they read about it.

Second, you can ask your users to let you know if they see any bugs. This can be very helpful because you alone cannot test your site in all different type of browsers and system environments. Besides it always help to have a fresh pair of eyes looking at it.

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