I just made a major change for me and 301′d PatrickGavin.com to Searchengineoptimization.net The focus of this site moving forward will be more of a SEO resource than my personal blog so I wanted a name that says this loud and clear. I wanted to kick off the new site (new design coming soon btw) with a quick guide on how to properly 301 a domain. If you would have done anything differently please let me know in the comments! In the end, the judge will be Google and how it handles this 301.
Goal is to 301 redirect www.abc.com to www.123.com
1. Register both www.abc.com and www.123.com with Google webmaster tools. Note that you will have to insert a snippet of code or upload a file to both of your sites to verify you do own or control both websites.
2. Make sure www.123.com takes on the exact design, look and feel, etc of the original www.abc.com site. This is important as Google doesn’t like too much change going on at once. Keep the design the same during a 301 so you don’t throw too much change at Google at once.
3. Make sure you keep the url structure the same, ie www.patrickgavin.com/2009/04/19/april-sandbox-update/ should be moved to www.searchengineoptimization.net/2009/04/19/april-sandbox-update/
4. Follow Google’s steps technical guidelines on completing a 301
5. Double check your redirects. Use a 301 redirect checker to make sure your redirects are seo friendly (http://www.internetofficer.com/seo-tool/redirect-check/). Also, test a handful of urls from your old domain to make sure they are getting redirected properly. You can easily do this by googling your old domain name and clicking through your sites indexed pages. Be very sure that every single page of your old domain is getting redirected to another active page at your new domain. You definitely don’t want to be left with a bunch of 404 not founds. Additionally, it is recommended that you chose to redirect everything to either the www or non-www version of your new domain.
6. Let Google Webmaster Tools know about the 301 by submitting a "Change of Address" request.
7. After the 301, it is highly recommended you build some strong links and add some content to the blog to show the site is still active & growing. If you want to go further, have some of your old incoming links update their link to point to the new site (this is not required, but it shows that the sites that linked to you before still want to link to you now indicating it’s the same site as before). Remember Google logs redirects just like they log your backlink data so don’t rely on 301’s as your sole link strategy.
8. Wait patiently and have some faith! Your original site can disappear for a period of time from Google’s index leaving you with NOTHING for a period of time. This could be days or weeks. What should happen is the new site you 301′d to should appear taking on similar rankings that you had for your original site give or take a few spots up or down.
Now we will wait and see what happens with my 301 and I will keep you updated. The PatrickGavin.com domain is currently ranking #6 for the coveted "search engine optimization" query so this is a bit of a gamble and it will be fun to see if it pays off!
UPDATE! +3 days after the 301. My PatrickGavin.com site has lost all Google keyword rankings! I have lost all rankings including #1 for "patrick gavin" #6 for "search engine optimization", etc. Here is the good news: this is what happens when you do a 301. Fingers crossed but the SearchEngineOptimization.net domain should* reappear in the coming days/weeks…