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A website had separate content in a subdomain, e.g. subdomain.example.com. Later, that content was moved to its own domain, e.g.: subdomain.com. Note that there is no duplication of content. I never had to submit example.com to google or Bing, they just picked it up.

Weeks after the change I noticed that keyword site:subdomain.com searches return no results, i.e. it's not indexed yet. But I can tell from the logs, that the Google bot has found the subdomain.com because it requests the robots.txt file and a couple of random images and pages, but not the root document, i.e. no GET /. Also, it used to crawl example.com but it stopped doing that, aside from a few seemingly random requests.

On the other hand, I can still see the old subdomain listed in search results. It's like Google and Bing have cached the old setup and are not refreshing it.

The current setup:

  • There are links in example.com to subdomain.com
  • There is a CNAME record pointing subdomain.example.com to subdomain.com
  • There is a Cloudflare rule to 301 redirect traffic from subdomain.example.com to subdomain.com.

Reading the google documentation, I understood that a sitemap is optional for simple sites that don't have orphan pages (not linked) and that submission is optional, so I never manually submitted anything. Is a manual submission necessary in this case, and anything else I should know? Did some research online but could not find any clear answer. Thank you!

2 Answers 2

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It took a long time (several weeks is my impression), but eventually both Bing (and consequently DuckDuckGo) and Google figured it out after several bot visits, and now display both sites separately in search results. Would have been interesting to see what it said on Google Search Console (which I was planning to check) when it was broken, and I'm guessing that would have been the quickest way to fix it, as pointed out.

Please note that I'm not recommending to wait. Just reporting to anyone who might be interested, that search engines displayed the expected results on their own, after a considerable time.

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As part of best practice I would always recommend verifying your site and submitting a sitemap in Google Search Console.

More importantly, Google Search Console will give more detailed information around reasons why your content isn't indexed. Usually it will be blocked in some way or it will be marked as 'Discovered/Crawled but not indexed'.

You mentioned subdomain.com is linked from example.com. This should be enough in most cases but clearly not in this scenario, assuming everything else is as it should be.

Last thing to check is to make sure you have a 301 redirect from subdomain.example.com to example.com. You check this in Chrome Dev Tools or other SEO extensions.

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  • Thanks, there is a 301 redirect from subdomain.example.com to subdomain.com . I assume that's what you meant, not redirect to example.com? I verified it with curl -I.
    – Nagev
    Oct 21, 2022 at 14:25

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