As part of graduating from Area51 and becoming a full fledged site we sometimes change domain names from http://topic.stackexchange.com to http://example.com. Aside from the obvious 301 redirect rules to support existing urls transparently, are there other techniques that would aid in the preservation of SEO?

  • Should be noted that the PageRank algorithm is no longer in use by Google. Commented Sep 30, 2010 at 3:27
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    @Nick do you have a source on that? Last I knew, it was still in use in a modified for as one factor among hundreds for result ranking. Commented Sep 30, 2010 at 5:36
  • @Michael In the generic term pages are still ranked against each other, but it is not based off a sole number any more. Google stays quite about this kind of stuff, but there has been hits out there en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… Google has been moving in to more real-time ranking based on how often content changes and bringing that relevant new content to the forefront. I think this is all inside baseball, but it is important to note that a single number doesn't drive the ranking of your site on Google anymore. Commented Oct 19, 2010 at 15:04

3 Answers 3


Check out Google's guide to moving a site:

  • Use a 301 Redirect to permanently redirect all pages on your old site to your new site.
  • Check both external and internal links to pages on your site and make sure they are updated to point to the new domain (obviously, for external links this is difficult)
  • Use the Change of Address tool in Webmaster Tools to notify Google of your site's move.
  • We recommend that you create and submit a Sitemap listing the URLs on your new site.

After the move, sanity checks to make sure things are working:

  • Check the web crawl errors for both your old and new sites, to make sure that the 301 redirects from the old site are working properly, and that the new site isn't showing unwanted 404 errors.
  • If you've submitted a Sitemap, the Sitemap Details page lets you see how many URLs in your Sitemap we've crawled and indexed.

Esp. the Change of Address tool might be of interest.

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    I think it's funny that the charity edit by @Jeff totally changed the value of the post.
    – ErikE
    Commented Sep 30, 2010 at 22:09

I didn't read the link above, but no doubt that http 301 "permanent" redirects will be important to preserving both bookmarks and search ranking.

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    it does look like the 310 permanent is 99% of a proper site move Commented Sep 30, 2010 at 3:36

I'm sure this is covered in the google doc that jmb referenced, but:

  • Tell google your site has moved using Google Webmaster Central
  • Set something up on the old site to return a 301 redirect for EVERY individual url on the old site to the corresponding url on the new site, I imagine this would be some effort but would probably also be the most effective
  • Some effort? How have you been programming your site(s)...
    – user1585
    Commented Sep 30, 2010 at 9:41
  • I wasn't talking about myself :) I don't imagine anyone running a wordpress blog, or a blogger blog, or some other CMS would find this very easy. Commented Oct 19, 2010 at 19:22
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    .htaccess catchall redirect would fix it up real quick.
    – sholsinger
    Commented Nov 2, 2010 at 21:30

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