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My client has recently launched a completely re-designed site. The new site and old are running in parallel at the moment to help users make the transition.

I have a question about how Google chooses a default search URL for a website. At the moment if I type my clients domain name into the Chrome address bar, followed by a space and then a keyword, google will automatically do a search of the site, using what it has obviously determined is the preferred search URL.

This URL it uses is part of the old site functionality, which will eventually be turned off.

What I'd like to know, firstly, how did Google choose this URL, and secondly, what is the preferred way for me to suggest to Google that it should now be using a different URL?

I obviously will do 301 redirect, for the old search URL when I turn it off, as I will for all old site pages, but I'm wondering if there is a more Google friendly way to handle this now, while the old site pages are still active.

To cause minimal disruption to users, I would like to start directing as much traffic as possible to the new site pages now, before doing the hard cut-over.

Things I have done so far...

  1. Changed the google sitemap generator code, to only include URL's for the new site pages.
  2. Added rel="nofollow" to all links from the new site, back to the old.
  3. Added a rel="canonical" link in the old site search pointing to the new one.

These changes were made a few months ago, but Google is still favouring the old site search.

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You are overcomplicated things and you shouldn't be usingnofollow with canonical links. Simply use one of the following methods on the old site:

  • HTML Source: <meta name="robots" content="noindex,nofollow>
  • Htaccess File: Header set X-Robots-Tag "noindex, nofollow"

Then its just a matter of 301 redirecting. It is not recommended to slowly migrate on a page per page basis because your rankings are going to drop because your simply dividing the authority the old site has to the new site.

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