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I'm trying to use change of address in Google Webmaster Tools, and I've followed the instructions and set a 301 redirect for all requests to HTTPS.

My site has always used HTTP with a 301 for no-www, and now it's HTTPS with a 301 for HTTP/no-www. I added both HTTP and www. as sites in Webmaster Tools, so that I could switch to HTTPS.

However, Google keeps telling me: "Your account doesn't contain any sites we can use for a change of address. Add and verify the new site, then try again."

I can't use "Fetch as Google" because of the redirect, and the inability to change address to HTTPS.

Can anyone shed some light on this?

  • I'm pretty sure the change of address setting in GWT is when you are changing your actual domain name, as opposed to just the prefix, however I'm not a 100%, so I'll let someone else answer. – Max Jul 9 '14 at 6:00
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    Have you added the https://example.com domain in Google WMT and verified it? Otherwise there is no verified domain that you wish to change to in WMT hence the error. And @Max is right, it's unlikely going to be what you want just to change the prefix - just make sure you have the https version verified in WMT. – zigojacko Jul 9 '14 at 7:53
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Google Webmaster Tools change of address tool is only for sites that move to a whole new domain name. It doesn't cover cases such as:

  • Moving from HTTP to HTTPS (or the other way around)
  • Moving a subdirectory or subdomain to its own domain name
  • Consolidating several sites into one
  • Changing URLs within a site

The reason that the tool exists is that new domain names often have a "sandbox effect" where they are not trusted by Google until they age. When you use the change of address tool, it can bypass the sandbox period. The tool was created after Google got some bad press from high profile sites that tried to change domain names and dropped out of the search index during the process. Rich Skrenta went public about such problems with Topix.

There should be no sandbox effect for HTTP to HTTPS moves, and therefore no reason to use the tool. You are still using the same domain which will still be trusted by Google. The 301 redirects from HTTP to HTTPS are sufficient and you won't lose rankings. Google's Matt Cutts has a video in which he says to go ahead and move a site from HTTP to HTTPS. It won't hurt your rankings with proper redirects in place.

You should add your site a second time in Google Webmaster Tools with the https://. Then you will be able to use the "fetch as Google" feature.

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Google WMT feature to 'Add a site' asks users to enter a URL, and gives example 'www.example.com' - which is not helpful when trying to add an https site

To add the https version of the site, just look at the URL in WMT for http version and change it from https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/dashboard?authuser=0&siteUrl=http://www.domain.com to https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/dashboard?authuser=0&siteUrl=https://www.domain.com and you will be prompted to verify ownership

Also associate the new https account with your google analytics account - this will remove association with your http site, which seems a limitation on WMT/GA - they should fix that.

Also - remember to upload your disavow file to the new https account as well!

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