Moving to a New Web Address: Some Tips and Words of Caution

Moving to a New Web Address: Some Tips and Words of Caution

As I mentioned in my last post, I have commenced in my own experiment moving to a new web address to avoid one of the main slapping criteria of Google EMD update: Exact match domain name (the other one is being low quality content.)

A little background story

This site of mine – let’s call it CBR – is quite an authority in its niche – MozRank is good, PageRank is good, traffic could be better, but for sure, I have been contacted by industry leaders to have the site promote their businesses, expos and seminars. It is also listed on high quality directory, such as AllTop – a good sign of authority.

CBR has been slapped a couple of times in the past by Google Panda updates due to thin content (all are unique article – but some are short – less than 250 words, typically containing breaking news.) Fortunately, it – so far – remains untouched by Google Penguin updates.

During the Panda 1.0 slap, I have lost 50 percent of traffic – but I have made changes, and let’s just say that CBR escapes the Panda attacks. But the Google EMD updates kick me hard on the face, causing yet another loss of traffic by the same approximate amount, 50 percent. I got fed up, and I follow the path that has taken by some others with one success story I know and nothing else.

What I did

I buy a new domain name and I do 301 redirection (or permanent redirection) on every page from the old domain name to a new one. The site and its content remain untouched.

Then I inform Google via Google Webmaster Tool’s Change of Address feature so that they can index the new web address properly, instead of the previous one.

Everything is as expected – the new web address is starting to rank on Google search engine result pages (SERPs) and on a particular keyword, it’s now rank higher than the old web address. So far so good…

However, on the business side, things are a bit challenging – thus the sub-title of this blog post “Some words of caution.” Read on…

Before you change your web address – read this first!

Remember, when you move to a new web address, your backlink profile will be reset – you’ll start with no PR, no MozRank and so on. So you need to start building links and traffic as soon as your site is ready.

With regard to PageRank, Matt Cutts explain that your PageRank will be transferred to the new web address – but he admitted that there will be a loss in PageRank, somehow. It’s also similar with Bing’s guide to moving content- most of the value is passed.

I strongly recommend you to read this article about 301 redirects before you start the process of moving web address.

As mentioned above, technically, it’s pretty simple to move to a new web address. Just move your site to a new hosting, add a domain name on it, and redirect every URL from the old address to the new one via 301 redirection. That’s all – again, please refer to the last post on EMD updates I mentioned early in this post. However, just like moving homes, there’s some things you need to do right – or else, you are missing out a thing or two… indeed, what’s trivial is on taking care the nitty gritty related to the site.

To help you out, here are checklists you can use to guide you transitioning from the old web address to a new one.

  • Notify your contacts, clients and prospects about your change of address – if you host your own email address (like info -at- be sure to let them know about the change to the new email address, too.
  • Contact as many webmasters as possible regarding the move to a new web address, so they can update their links to your site.
  • Change your social media account settings – update them with your new web address information.
  • Let search engines know about your change of address to speed things up (the bots will detect your 301 redirection, but to speed things up, “ping” them with your changes.)
  • Remember, when you move to a new web address, your backlink profile will be reset – you’ll start with no PR, no MozRank and so on.
  • Make sure you update your internal links and redirects. If you like to link out to your own pages, this will require you a bit of work, updating all of those links.


So, there you go – some things you need to do to make the whole moving experience as painless as possible.

Again, be sure to start your link building as soon as the dust settles. Don’t rely too much on the value passed from the old domain name; continue delivering quality content, build backlinks and promote your site online and offline – THEN you will start seeing results AND a good possibility to recover from EMD update slap – even Panda.

Ivan Widjaya
An new 301 redirect fan!
Image by Gabriel Saldana


  1. Did you get full recover? How long took it?

  2. Umut,

    You know what, a week after I move the site to a new address, it got ranked on the first page for the search terms that was penalized before. Is this a good sign or a temporary situation? Time will tell :) I’ll update in a new blog post when I see something significant…

    Thanks for dropping by!

  3. i am following you bro..

    i will move my site Sunday. Is there anything to do except above?

  4. Umut,

    Not much, really – just be sure to track everything and if you see something wrong, just revert back (if you do so, don’t forget to let Google know that you undo the change of address request.)

    By the way, here’s the experiment result 10 days after the change of web address:

    Let’s just say that the site has recovered from EMD update :)

  5. Hey Asep;

    can you share with me htaccees code for 301 redirect

  6. Umut,

    Sure – I have this on the old location’s .htaccess – don’t forget to replace NewDomainName-dot-com with your own domain name!

    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteBase /
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !NewDomainName-dot-com$ [NC]
    RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.NewDomainName-dot-com/$1 [L,R=301]

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