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Firstly, I want to redirect an old domain to a new domain, (old site to new site).

The old site has good ranking on Google, now if I redirect the site, I want to retain this site on the Google rankings and want to develop the new site's SEO.

  1. What would be the best redirect to use?
  2. When a Googlebot re-crawls the old site after its been redirected, would the search results still show the keywords and source code on the original old site (as the page is still on the old server)?
  3. the new sites will have near identical /products.html pages and contact us pages etc. Will these all be automatically forwarded?
  4. What is ideally the best way to preserve the old site as well as redirect users that go on the old site straight to the new site, i was thinking of using some sort of CSS code which can blank out the page, or add a new layer or white to it, so the keywords remain?
  • Hiding keywords from users with white text or CSS code is called "hidden text" and it will get your site penalized by Google – Stephen Ostermiller Jan 7 '15 at 18:26
  • Do you have any knowledge of using a 302 redirect whilst retaining the old domains index on the google search results? – user3636420 Jan 7 '15 at 18:38
  • If you are redirecting, then the contents of the new site must be similar enough to maintain rankings. – Stephen Ostermiller Jan 7 '15 at 18:57
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Reading through your questions it seems to me that you think that you only need to do one redirect. That is the case if you are moving a carbon copy of the site. If you changed things around then it gets a little trickier.

What would be the best redirect to use?

301 redirect is best if you are moving your site permanently. Here is a great article about redirects and SEO.

If you are retaining the same structure on the news site then this is pretty easy. You would use something like this:

Options +FollowSymLinks
RewriteEngine on
RewriteRule (.*) http://www.yournewdomain.com/$1 [R=301,L]:

If you changing the structure around then some more complex 301's will be needed. In some cases, if the structure is very different then you would have to manually redirect each page. Usually if you have a small site this is not very time consuming but for very large website could be a huge headache.

When a google bot re-crawls the old site after its been redirected, would the search results still show the keywords and source code on the original old site (as the page is still on the old server)?

Your old site will still be indexed for a while and will show up in results. That is why setting up 301 redirect is important.

I would also setup a sitemap for both new and old site in Google Webmaster Tools right before you do your redirect and do a change of address. This will make things go a little faster and with both sitemaps in place you can check on the progress.

the new sites will have near identical /products.html pages and contact us pages etc. Will these all be automatically forwarded?

See the first questions.

4.What is ideally the best way to preserve the old site as well as redirect users that go on the old site straight to the new site, i was thinking of using some sort of CSS code which can blank out the page, or add a new layer or white to it, so the keywords remain?

If you have your redirects set up properly then you don't need to worry about this.

  • In regards to point 2. Wouldn't it be better to avoid using a 301 redirect due to us wanting the old site to be still indexed indefinitely on google? – user3636420 Jan 7 '15 at 17:59
  • Also, using a 302 redirect, can google still crawl and index the old page and the new redirected page at the present time? – user3636420 Jan 7 '15 at 17:59
  • Why would you want to do that? Are you planning on keeping both sites with identical content? – dasickle Jan 7 '15 at 18:00
  • yes. although the old site will be redirecting to the new site, but as the products/contact us page are still on the old server, we thought maybe the google bot would crawl and index it, (keywords and source code) even though a redirect is set? – user3636420 Jan 7 '15 at 18:10
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    Its best to move everything at once. If you plan on moving products/contacts page to the new site later then I would just exclude them from your redirect. 302 redirect will not help because there is nothing to redirect those pages to. – dasickle Jan 7 '15 at 18:25
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I generally advise against this. The reason is simple. There often is little to no value in actually changing domain names.

Having said that, there are times where a domain name change is required.

The simplest way to do this is to set-up a blanket 301 redirect from your old domain to your new domain name. In the case where a page is removed, and you want to redirect to another page, then on the new server, set up a 301 redirect from the old page to the new page. If the page is removed entirely, then just let it 404. It is cleaner and far easier to do your redirects this way.

Using a 301 redirect will preserve some of the link juice and value of the old domain. It is said that a small percentage is lost with any 301 redirect. Keep this in mind.

Now please understand this forgotten issue.

It seems to always come about that the old domain will need to go. Whether this is the case or not, please do the following anyway. You will be happy you did.

Using 301 redirects should always be seen as a temporary solution. In this case, you will want to do several things. Every domain name should be able to stand on it's own. This means that you will need to build TrustRank, SiteRank, and see how many of the old backlinks you can change to point to the new domain. You will need to build a new backlink profile for your new domain that matches or exceeds the backlink profile for your old domain. Your new domain will be at a disadvantage being new. For example, domain age is a TrustRank metric that has to be regained over time. However, most if not all other metrics can be regained. You will want to work on this along with the backlink profile so that you are not hamstrung by the old domain.

The old domain will continue to benefit your new domain only as long as the old domain remains and the 301 redirects remain. If this is broken, then the value is lost. Keep in mind that stuff happens and even temporary glitches can effect the new site rank very quickly which will take time to recover. This is where you will be happy that you worked on the backlink profile of the new site and the various trust metrics for your new site.

Once done, you will at least have some options not everyone enjoys. You can remove the old domain safely if you do your work well. Better yet, you should be able to make the new site perform better than the old site and therefor would be better off removing the old domain. This is a powerful option.

  • I'm guessing the 310 was a typo and you meant 301. How would a 302 differ to this? It's said 302 redirects are meant to be only temporary, so im guessing it will preserve the old domains ranking correct? – user3636420 Jan 7 '15 at 18:16
  • Fixed the 310. Thanks for that heads up! Using a 302 redirect does not actually solve the problem. The 301 will pass the value from the old domain to the new one. A 302 should not. All redirects are temporary in reality. – closetnoc Jan 7 '15 at 18:25
  • @closetnoc I agree with what you are saying. However, sometimes there is no other choice and you have to move the site. I recently moved a massive site to a new domain with half the structure changed. It took about 6 months to fully rebound but now the organic traffic is +25 % compared to the old site. – dasickle Jan 7 '15 at 18:27
  • Using a 302 will not crawl and index the redirected site, thats fine. However, will google still crawl and index the old site at the present date if a 302 redirect is in place, is that possible? Or would the index just eventually remove itself from the google search results? – user3636420 Jan 7 '15 at 18:37
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    @dasickle I appreciate your comment. I do realize that there are times to move a site- hence my second paragraph. ;-) But I do caution people because there seems to be this notion that changing to another domain solves a host of problems. People think that exact match domains are better, but the payoff is so slight, that changing domains costs more than the value of the new domain. I do recognize that company name changes and branding forces the issue. Your loss of organic traffic is one of the reasons why I recommend making the new domain stand on it's own. I remind people that it is work. – closetnoc Jan 7 '15 at 18:37

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