How To: Alert Google about a Domain Name Change

Recently I’d a discussion with one of my SEO friend regarding moving a website under a new domain name. He was telling it would be good if Google provide a tool to alert them about the change rather simply depending on the crawl frequency, waiting for Google bot picking up on a 301 redirect. His wait was a bit long compared to the normal time and it was nothing but the crawl frequency was a little long as the domain had little backlinks and new. I’ve helped him gaining a few good backlinks from a couple of frequent crawled websites and that did the job. But wait, there is actually an option exists to alert Google about a domain change. It’s the ‘Change of Address’ option in Google Webmaster Central.

The most common method to alert Google about a domain name change is to put a 301 permanent redirect from your old domain to new. Depending on Google bot crawl frequency it will take hours to weeks in order to get that reflected in Google search index. Google has introduced another feature to its webmaster central tool sometimes back. That’s called ‘Change of Address tool’ and can be found under ‘Site Configuration’ menu inside your webmaster central account.

The following are the steps to use the Change of Address option:

  1. Redirect all traffic from the old siteAt first you have to set up a 301 redirect to permanently redirect the pages on your old site to your new site. This is to redirect your traffic as well other search engine crawlers to your new domain.
  2. Add your new site to Webmaster ToolsMake sure you have added and verified your new domain.
  3. Use ‘Change of Address’ tool:
    Under the Site Configuration option for your old verified domain, choose the ‘Change of Address’ option. You will find an option to choose the URL to your new domain from a drop down menu.
    E.g.
    New URL for www.your-old-website.com:

You can keep checking the progress of indexing in webmaster central if you have submitted a sitemap and the indexed number of pages in it. Otherwise you can simply do a search in google for your old domain name.

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