I am in the process of moving domains I still have alot of visitors coming to old domain (who are familiar with brand) so don't completely want to 301 it, but I would like pages from the old site to get indexed / credited to the new site

Now ideally 301 or rel="canonical" would be the best bet here but as I mentioned I cant 301 it as for rel="canonical" it has been well over a month now and it looks like my rel="canonical" is not getting honoured (even after fetching pages as Google etc) old site pages still shows up in SERPS with the same pages on new site not showing up or showing very very low down the list, heard Google is not big fan of cross domain canonical

SO I am thinking of doing the following...tell me if my theory is flawed:

  • Setting all existing pages to noindex on old site
  • This will eventually remove it from Google index, right? Other better ways to get these pages removed except with search console demoting?
  • When the old pages have been removed from the index on old domain because the same content exist on new domain the same page on the new domain will now get credited -- on the new domain?

Making sense here? Any Other alternatives?

2 Answers 2


I am not sure if your theory is good because it is based on a very big assumption that your new website will take the credit for your old site after deindexing. Except rel="canonical", you don't have anything else to pass on the credit and if that isn't working now, how can you be sure it will work after deindexing your old pages?

Understand that rel="canonical" link element is seen as a hint by google and not as an absolute directive. However, they do consider cross-domain canonical links and try to incorporate them when possible.

My suggestion would be to either go via 301 route or if that's not possible, keep the current setup intact and google will eventually honor canonical tag. Deindexing pages which are ranking well in google is not something I would do or suggest to anyone.

  • if I de-index though will pages get removed from the index or cant u tell?
    – Tim C
    May 9, 2016 at 8:00
  • Yes, it will. But again, over time.
    – Aakash
    May 9, 2016 at 10:42

Are you using the same content across the two websites (which are now separate brands)? If yes, you are forgetting about a bigger problem, which is known as duplicate content.

Based on what you have shared, you could be on path to nuking both sites out of search engines. The first through noindex tags. The second would occur due to duplicate content, which is also a form of spam.

If you have pages on the new site which are new versions of the page on the old site - move forward with the 301 redirects. You will be happy that you did.

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