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I realise this is a topic which has probably been covered to infinity, however I have my own little question so hope the mods wont mind me opening a new threat on canonical issues.

I have a post on website A, the post have received numerous links and mentions from a wide range of blogs (not owned by me) the post attracted about 40k visitors constantly over a 2-week period as it went viral on social media.

However, I am now in the horrible process of changing domains since my current domain name, drastically limits my audience.

Currently Im doing a rel=canonical pointing towards the new domains corresponding pages, via yoast. I'm also adding links from the old domain to the new domains corresponding pages

My Problem

When doing a copy and paste text search the post still shows up under my old domain with no mention of the post on my new domain in the SERPS.

However when I do a site:mydomain search I can see the post has been indexed on my new domain for what that is worth?

Additional Info

  • The canonical link is 2-days old now, does it take a certain amount of time to get updated?
  • Can the fact that the post went so viral and have multiple links on other websites and social media play a role in the canonical link getting ignored?
  • Im using Yoast SEO from Wordpress for the canonical so I am pretty sure everything is correctly setup I have also inspected the source code and all looks good to me
    • 6-hours after setting up the canonical on the old domain I went to google webmaster console and fetched the page with the newly added canonical link, and submitted it to index, was this a stupid thing to do?

Any advice and help appreciated

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    A canonical tag will not be seen until the page with the tag is fetched again. Even then, it may take a bit for Google to really take notice after the page is fetched. I suspect not more than a day or two if not immediately. If you intend to migrate all of your pages to the new domain name, then you can use a blanket 301 redirect from one site to the other to retain the value of the links. You may prefer that. For what is worth, I am not a big fan of changing domains. Sometimes it is necessary. I get it. Cheers!! – closetnoc Apr 26 '16 at 4:17
  • Hi thank you for taking the time to answer my question, i forgot to add in the post when the canonical was set up I went to the old domain where it was set up from and selected fetch as google from wm tools...hench my concern that it is not getting honoured...one more question if I may what exactly is a blanket 301 am I correct in assuming it passes all link juice to your new domain without physically redirecting visitors to the new domain? – Timothy Coetzee Apr 26 '16 at 4:52
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    Fetch as Google is really not immediate. The regular googlebot will come back in a day or two. This may be because people were overusing the feature. A blanket 301 redirect is where the entire site is redirected from one domain to another with simple code. Any request made to the old domain is, in effect, transferred to the new domain as is. This replaces redirecting pages one at a time when the new domain name is structured the same as the old domain. webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions/84391/… – closetnoc Apr 26 '16 at 5:12
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The canonical link is 2-days old now, does it take a certain amount of time to get updated?

Yes, and this process can take a LOT longer than 2 days.

Can the fact that the post went so viral and have multiple links on other websites and social media play a role in the canonical link getting ignored?

I wouldn't say it's getting ignored, it's more that Google doesn't recalculate instantly.

6-hours after setting up the canonical on the old domain I went to google webmaster console and fetched the page with the newly added canonical link, and submitted it to index, was this a stupid thing to do?

No, it neither helps nor hurts you. As long as you have the sitemaps fed into GWT and Yoast is working properly, Google will re-index and see the canonical tag in its own time.

tl;dr Patience and, as has been said by others, 301 Redirect Permanent is your friend over time.

Also, you know when rel=canonical is not working because a site gets penalized for duplicate content. As long as one post or the other is ranking well you're okay.

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I am now in the horrible process of changing domains

you should 301 the old to the new, all urls, one by one. Don't canonicalize old urls - canonical is just a recommendation, and you use it in wrong way. Canonical doesn't replace redirect - it signalize to search engines, an url's content is slightly similar to its canonical url.

What you should do is to remove all signals from the old domain to the new. And this can be done only by 301 redirect. You will loose some link equity, ca. 10-15%, but it will come again, after your old domain is off, some time passed away and you earn some new links to the new domain.

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