How to move your content to a new location

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

While maintaining a website, webmasters may decide to move the whole website or parts of it to a new location. For example, you might move content from a subdirectory to a subdomain, or to a completely new domain. Changing the location of your content can involve a bit of effort, but it's worth doing it properly.

To help search engines understand your new site structure better and make your site more user-friendly, make sure to follow these guidelines:

  • It's important to redirect all users and bots that visit your old content location to the new content location using 301 redirects. To highlight the relationship between the two locations, make sure that each old URL points to the new URL that hosts similar content. If you're unable to use 301 redirects, you may want to consider using cross domain canonicals for search engines instead.
  • Check that you have both the new and the old location verified in the same Google Webmaster Tools account.
  • Make sure to check if the new location is crawlable by Googlebot using the Fetch as Googlebot feature. It's important to make sure Google can actually access your content in the new location. Also make sure that the old URLs are not blocked by a robots.txt disallow rule, so that the redirect or rel=canonical can be found.
  • If you're moving your content to an entirely new domain, use the