A common problem that many bloggers face is having to work out what to do with a blog that is trapped on a domain that they wish they’d never started it on. An example of this is starting out of a Blogspot or hosted TypePad blog and then realizing that it doesn’t have the features you want (plus a longer unprofessional looking domain) and wanting to move to WordPress of MovableType on your own domain.
The only problem is that you run the risk of messing up your Search Engine Ranking by starting on a new domain – it could be like starting all over again!
I often get questions from readers about how to move domains. To be honest, I have no real idea – except to say that I’ve seen people completely loose all their SE ranking and traffic by trying.
So today when I was surfing by one of my favorite blogger’s blogs – Matt Cutts from Google – I was happy to spot him addressing the question in a post on moving to a new web host. He spends most of the post writing about moving hosts but keeping the same domain name – but ends the post by addressing the question of a new domain (bolding is my emphasis):
‘All other things being equal, I would recommend to stay with the original domain if possible. But if you need to move, the recommended way to do it is to put a 301 (permanent) redirect on every page on mattcutts.com to point to the corresponding page on someotherdomain.com. If you can map mattcutts.com/url1.html to someotherdomain.com/url1.html, that’s better than doing a redirect just to the root page (that is, from mattcutts.com/url1.html to someotherdomain.com). In the olden days, Googlebot would immediately follow a 301 redirect as soon as it found it. These days, I believe Googlebot sees the 301 and puts the destination url back in the queue, so it gets crawled a little later. I have heard some reports of people having issues with doing a 301 from olddomain.com to newdomain.com. I’m happy to hear those reports in the comments and I can pass them on to the crawl/indexing team, but we may be due to replace the code that handles that in the next couple months or so. If it’s really easy for you to wait a couple months or so, you may want to do that; it’s always easier to ask crawl/index folks to examine newer code than code that will be turned off in a while.’
Read the full post at Matt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO