Welcome to fosterbrain.com, dear visitors. This is my first article on Search Engine Optimization also known as SEO. Today's topic is how to properly change your old domain to a new domain. SEO best tutorial on domain migration.
At the very beginning I would like to tell you why I am writing this article as already there are numerous articles written on the same topic.
The reason behind this article is my personal bitter experience while I tried to change my existing domain to a new one.
Well, let me explain the situation. I had a blog say myblog.blogspot.com hosted at blogger which was pointed to a custom domain say www.olddomain.com.
After 6 months of running this blog, I felt that I made a big mistake of choosing the domain name as it was affecting the google search rankings known as SERP (Search Engine Results Page).
The old domain name was not at all related to my blog topics and it took me 6 months to understand. Guess how stupid I was.
So, I learned of my own the very important rule that while choosing a domain name one has to be extremely careful. The domain name must relate to your services and should contain keywords.
Keywords are essentially those words which an user searches for in google. Suppose, you run a blog which deals in beauty products. Now, ask yourself a question from the point of view of your client, on what type of searches google will show my web site?
Suppose an user searches for best beauty products or how to look beautiful etc, then google will show all the relevant web sites which best matches with the search query.
So, you may now understand that words like beauty, cosmetic, fairy, beautiful etc. are potential keywords for your blog of beauty products and could be a good choice of consideration while choosing your domain name.
Any ways let's come to the point, I decided to stop using my old domain and to buy a new one with keywords which could well relate to my blog topics.
The very first thing which came over my mind was how would I actually accomplish this task. The reason for my concern was pages of my blog were interlinked with each other.
Moreover, google was showing my old domain on searches related to my blog posts.
So, if I change the domain what would actually happen to those links, I was totally confused and out of my mind.
I was also concerned about the way our friend google would react to this change of domain.
I did exactly what you or anybody would do. Being a non technical person I went through online forums in search of a proper guide or solution to migrate a domain.
And I found it, believe me, but then why am I writing this article?
It's because the problem I am discussing about has not a single proper solution in any of the online support forums and I do not want to name the big forums.
In fact, blindly following one of the solution I almost messed up and got into severe trouble.
In most forums the following solutions have been provided:-
- Remove the old custom domain from your blogspot and point it to the new domain.
- That the internal links will not be affected at all.
- Inside blogger setting you should setup custom 301 redirect for all pages.
A lot of trial and error has taught me that the above solutions are totally wrong, misleading and incomplete.
And this is why, I have decided to share the proper and working solution to change your domain without losing google search index. Please read on.
Setting up the new domain
Login to your blogger account, select the blog say myblog.com and remove the custom domain say olddomain.com.
Buy your new domain from any reputed provider and set it up as new custom domain in your blog myblog.com.
You may be required to add some DNS records to your domain management site as will be shown by blogger. It's not that hard.
After a few minutes your blog will start to point to your newdomain.com.
It is true that the internal links will not be hampered by this domain change.
But the real problem is google doesn't know about this domain change and hence it will exclude all pages of your site from indexing.
The reason for this behavior is links to your pages were already indexed by Google with olddomain.com.
And when you suddenly change the domain url, google will consider the pages as duplicate and will exclude them all from indexing with newdomain.com.
To resolve this you will first need to redirect your olddomain.com to newdomain.com. This redirection is permanent and is called 301 redirect.
As suggested in forums, you can't actually set 301 redirects inside blogger. Only internal redirects are possible in blogger setting.
To setup the redirects you will have to create an account in cloudfare.
Update nameservers in your olddomain.com DNS management so that it can be linked with cloudfare. It will take couple of hours to update the nameservers.
Now login to your cloudfare account and select olddomain.com.
Select page rules and then select Create Page Rule. Select forwarding url on the left box and 301 permanent redirect on the right box.
Type the url of your olddomain.com in source and url of newdomain.com in destination box. Click submit.
After a few minutes type olddomain.com in a browser and you will see that your old domain is being successfully redirected to the home page of newdomain.com.
But there are still problems. We have successfully redirected only the home page but what about the other pages of your site.
As per recommendation by Google all the pages should be property redirected from olddomain.com/etc to newdomain.com/etc.
But this is definitely not possible for a web site with numerous pages. So, you can avoid this, believe me, it will work.
Google will allow the migration if you have at least redirected the home page of your old domain to new domain.
Now the final steps
Go to search console of Google Webmaster. Add olddomain.com and newdomain.com as property to the search console.
Adding a property or domain to search console needs ownership verification, if google automatically verifies your ownership it's good for you. If it doesn't it will tell you to paste some records on your dns management page after that your ownership will be verified.
Make sure that both the old and new domain are added to the search console.
Now select the olddomain and click settings. Select change of address and enter newdomain.com in destination.
Before accepting the submission google will verify some pre checks and if you have followed this article without any deviation then google will surely accept your submission for change of domain.
You will be surprised to know that you will have to maintain the redirection from olddomain to newdomain for minimum 6 months for best results.
After 6 months google will conclude that the olddomain is actually doing nothing and hence it's index records will be removed from Google.
In the mean time google will gradually index the pages of your new domain without any issue. The smaller the web site is the faster migration will take place.
That's all readers. Hope, this article will help you to properly change your site from old domain to a new domain. If you require further assistance please feel free to ask in the comment section.
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