I may be splitting hairs here, but the Change of Address form on WMT states "new" domain:

If you've moved your site to a new domain, you can use the Change of address tool to tell Google about your new URL. We'll update our index to reflect your new URL. Changes will stay in effect for 180 days, by which time we'll have crawled and indexed the pages at your new URL.

If I am moving a site (Site A) to a domain I already own (Site B) that has been active for a long time, should I use the Change of Address form?

I've done the 301 redirects, and that all looks clean, but if Site B has a much broader scope than Site A, is the Change of Address for appropriate? Site A is effectively a subset of Site B.

Edit: This great webmaster tools video explains this pretty well, but my scenario is slightly different in that a domain is effectively "absorbing" another domain. In the video all three domains end up somewhere new.

  • Are you saying that you are changing all your siteA.com/url to siteB.com/url but that there are existing siteB.com/existing-url that the siteA movements will not be overwriting? – joshuahedlund Dec 13 '11 at 17:34
  • The Site A urls are being redirected to existing Site B urls, if that is what you are asking. – plntxt Dec 13 '11 at 17:42

That's fine. Site B doesn't have to be a one-to-one perfect match for site A in terms of content and scope. (I was going to ramble a bit more but there's really no need to).

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    Yeah, that's my feeling too, that the Change of Address form is just used to notify Google that you've moved the content. However, that being said, it seems like it does cause some users' issues based on the Webmaster Tools Forums. I am wary of saying this domain now lives here and somehow Googlebot thinks that the previous content should be devalued, or removed from the index, etc. I am sure that is not the case but better to be cautious.... – plntxt Dec 13 '11 at 19:56
  • @Jim Googlebot won't devalue existing content. If you move a domain even with a 1-to-1 page mapping then obviously you will want to add new pages in future that are not on the old site. – DisgruntledGoat Jan 16 '12 at 9:29

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