Google guidelines for moving your content from one domain to another ..

There comes a time when you are moving your content from one site to another (it means that your content was found earlier in site abcd.com, and will now be moved to a site called xyz.com). The reasons for this can be numerous, to state a few:
– You may have come to the realization that the domain you are using is not good for marketing purposes and have bought a new domain name that expresses your ideas more evocatively.
– You are combining the content from some other domain to this domain (you have bought the content of another site and want to kill off the other site while using the content from the other site)
– The earlier domain was a partnership with somebody else, and is now dissolved. As a part of the partnership, you have handed over the domain name to your ex-partner but get to keep the content (this was as happened with a friend of mine). What happened after that was that the earlier domain name was not used any more, but he no longer had the right to run the site.
– The earlier domain was a free site, but you no longer want to have a free site but instead want to move the content to your site
– You did not get the domain name that you were looking for when you started, but it is now available and you want to use that domain name for your content.
– In some cases, you are looking to do a re-design, and as a part of this re-design, you are fine which changing your domain name as well (although most re-designs are not associated with changing a domain name).

So now you have decided to change your domain one. What are you giving up ? The biggest problem is that you have earned some search engine points with your older domain, and you stand to lose that when you move your content to the new domain. In the world of Search Engine Optimization, losing your search engine ranking can be pretty painful, and for businesses that derive their revenue from users coming there through search engines, losing this revenue can be painful. However, it is not necessary that you will lose all this revenue. For most users, Google Search is the primary sender of people to their sites rather than other search engines, and here is a link that provides the methodology recommended by Google for making this move (link). Please make sure that you go through this link, and read the content before going through with your move – this will ensure that your new content is ranked quickly and the loss to you because of the move is mitigated. And equally important, will ensure that your users do not 404 errors because some of your links are no pointing to anything.

Some tips from the site:

– Use a 301 Redirect to permanently redirect all pages on your old site to your new site. This tells search engines and users that your site has permanently moved.
– Don’t do a single redirect directing all traffic from your old site to your new home page. This will avoid 404 errors, but it’s not a good user experience. It’s more work, but a page-to-page redirect will help preserve your site’s ranking in Google while providing a consistent and transparent experience for your users.
– Check both external and internal links to pages on your site. Ideally, you should contact the webmaster of each site that links to yours and ask them to update the links to point to the page on your new domain. However, if this isn’t practical, make sure that all pages with incoming links are redirected to your new site.
– Once your content is in place on your new server, use a link checker like Xenu to make sure you don’t have broken legacy links on your site.
– Use the Change of Address tool in Webmaster Tools to notify Google of your site’s move. (Note: To use the Change of Address tool, you must be a verified owner of both the new and the old sites.)
– Add your new site to your Webmaster Tools account, and verify your ownership of it.

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