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I have a huge indexation problem for my website fornitura-lucegas.com since I redirected it on May 2020: only 5 pages are indexed whereas it is a 16k pages website (therefore, my traffic dropped by 98%), and when I look KW by KW, my pages are nowhere to be seen, including if I go to page 8+.

Before I redirected the domain, I had an old website, csttaranto.it, that I obtained in October 2019 and that I put live with my content (again, 16k pages). It had a decent growth and a decent indexation rate (80%) until May 2020, but for a branding matter I chose to redirect the entire website towards my current new domain name fornitura-lucegas.com (that I created for the occasion, so there wasn't any content on it). And from this date, my website didn't regain its indexation.

I honestly think I did all the things "right":

  • It was a 1:1 migration, I created the exact same pages in my new domain (I also kept the exact same design and URL architecture) and did 301 redirects
  • I updated the robots.txt and the sitemap in the new domain, with the new URLs
  • When I do a crawl of the old website's URLs with Screaming Frog, there are all well redirected to the respective URLs in fornitura-lucegas.com, and when I crawl fornitura-lucegas.com, there isn't any error, and the crawler manages to go through every page without problem, and only see 200 (no 3XX or 4XX)
  • I submitted the old sitemap once I did the redirection, so Google can see that they were all redirected, and I submitted fornitura-lucegas.com's sitemap so Google can see the new ones as well

What's really really weird is that:

  • In Bing, Yahoo and Qwant, my new website is indexed, and mostly appears in first page, or at least in first 15 organic positions
  • The weirdest thing is that in the GSC of the new website, coverage report, it says that the website has its 16k pages valid and indexed, whereas they are not! I tried submitted 10 pages one by one to see if it changes anything, but nothing. And the individual report still says "This page is indexed" whereas it is not.
  • In the sitemap section, even though Google reads my sitemap, it displayes "0 URLs discovered", but the sitemap and the sub-sitemap are hit by Google with 200 status code (when I look at the logs)
  • When I look at the Coverage report > Valid pages (so the 16k), it says "Indexed, not submitted in sitemap", and when I look for specific detail one by one, either there are not any referring page, either the referring page is the old domain's previous respective page, which seems to mean that Google knows my new pages only by re-crawling the old domain URLs, and doesn't follow my internal linking (which seems to work if I look at the Screaming Frog report, and most of all knowing that Bing indexes the pages)
  • I did good netlinking campaigns since the redirection and got like 70 new referring domains
  • I don't have any manual action
  • I ran a test in parallel with 2 another new websites (with new domain name, among which utenze-lucegas.it), with 8k pages that speak about the same topic as my main website (but with original content of course) to see if it was a matter of content/authority. Even though the content is less "rich", the 2 websites' 8k pages are indexed in Google. It's also not an authority issue, because my main website has more than 150 backlinks whereas the 2 "test" website only less than 10.

I'm really hopeless and clueless, I can't find any lead or any explanation. Considering the indexation in Bing/Qwant/Yahoo and the weird things I see in GSC (coverage, sitemap, referring pages), I thing there is something Google doesn't accept, or perhaps is blocked by something.

Thanks a lot for your help, Paul

  • Edit: my old website that I redirected is csttaranto.it – Amerigo_Tagliafico Aug 18 at 9:22
  • htacess file at server solves that, after submit at Google and so on – belenus Aug 18 at 17:54
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As this Search Engine Land article indicates:

A site migration will almost always result in a temporary loss of traffic — Google needs time to process the change and update its index accordingly.

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There is a difference between being included in Google's index and included in their SERPs.

You only submitted your change of address a month ago. Google has indexed most of the site since then, but that doesn't mean it will immediately rank the pages for inclusion in the results.

In my experience, it can take some time (even more than a month) between indexing and the pages starting to appear in the SERPs.

The pages from your old domain are still appearing in the SERPS instead of the new pages, but you will notice that over time the new pages will start to appear in place of the old pages. Once the pages do start to appear in the SERPs they tend to quickly move up to where you might expect them to appear (e.g. close to their previous ranking position).

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I think you should wait for a while so that google can crawl your whole website, If there is any major issues if you think then you can ask on here: https://support.google.com/webmasters/community?hl=en

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  • Hello! Thanks for your answer. The thing is that Google already crawls my website quite often, in the logs there are almost 99% 200 status code hits and the average number of pages Google crawls every day is 1000~. I really thing it has crawled entirely and frecuently a couple of times knowing that the redirection is from 3 months. – Amerigo_Tagliafico Aug 18 at 16:13
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You need to use the change of address tool from Google Search Console. It was created for exactly this situation. When you are keeping the same content and URL structure but on a different domain name.

When you move a site to a new domain without using the tool, you hurt your rankings. When you use the tool, Google is often able to keep your site indexed and ranking. I'm not sure exactly why the tool is needed. You'd think that with the redirects, Google would automatically see that the domain name changed. However that just isn't the case.

Google created the tool in 2007 when Rich Skrenta tried to move his site to a new domain and fell out of Google in the process. Rich was able to create enough negative press for Google over the issue that Google created the tool to mitigate the cost of changing domain names.

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  • 2
    Hello Stephen, thanks for your reply and your help. I forgot to mention it, but I did use the change of address tool of the Console... Not directly after my redirection, but 2 months after (I wasn't aware of its existence at the beginning). I redirected my website on May 13th, and I used the change of address tool on July 7th, I don't know if it was too late or not... Do you know if this can be the cause ? That I took too long to use the tool ? – Amerigo_Tagliafico Aug 19 at 9:53
  • I don't know if it's normal or not, but when I go to the console of the old website, it's still saying "This site is currently moving to www.fornitura-lucegas.com", whereas it has been more than 1 month. (I don't know if I have to wait for a message like "This site has moved to www.fornitura-lucegas.com" ?) – Amerigo_Tagliafico Aug 19 at 10:00
  • So you already used the tool? – Stephen Ostermiller Aug 19 at 10:01
  • Yes, on July 7th (and my 301 redirections on May 13th) – Amerigo_Tagliafico Aug 19 at 10:17
  • Well if you already use that tool I don't have any further suggestions. Everything that you say looks right to me. Changing the domain name can result in loss of SEO traffic. It's always a risk. I don't know any way to completely 100% prevent it. In some cases it goes fine but in other cases everything goes wrong even when you do it right. – Stephen Ostermiller Aug 19 at 11:39

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