We at CURTIS Digital, do a ton of site migrations and this topic of what to do after the switch from domainA.com to domainB.com comes up often. We have put together the following article to walk you through how to handle google webmaster tools for this update.
If you’ve migrated your site to a new domain( from websiteold.com → websitenew.com), use the Change of address tool in Search Console. A change of address will help you manage the transition needed by Google to index your new URLs at the new address, while minimizing impact to your current ranking in Google Search results.
Changing of address will notify Google about the new URLs for your existing content, so that Google can update their index to reflect the new domain for your pages. This updated index status remains in effect for 180 days, by which time Googlebot will have crawled and indexed the pages at the new address.
Things to note before you request an address change
Add & verify the new domain
- Login to Google Webmaster tool.
- Add a new property or domain. Click the ‘Add a Property’ button and a popup will show up to enter the new website url.
- On the next screen, it will prompt to the verification process. Keep in mind that the process have different methods. It will depend on how you can verify the domain on your end whatever is more convenient for you. At this point in time we’ll choose the alternate method ‘HTML tag’. Select ‘Alternate Methods’ tab and click ‘HTML Tag’ option. You will then be able to grab the verification tag to add in to your website. See here for more detailed instruction on how to verify a domain.
- This time, let’s assume we have successfully verified the new domain. Continue on the next step which is to request the change of Address.
Use the Change of Address tool
Note: This tool is only available in old Search Console
- Select the property or website you want to change
- On the next screen, click the setting gear icon at the right and it will popup a dropdown. Click the ‘Change of Address’ option.
- You will be prompted to add a new domain or select it from the list if you have already added it. This time we’ll add the new domain that we have recently added. Click the ‘New Site’ option. It will prompt the list of all domains available.
- Just choose the new domain that you want to change address in the list.
- Now, follow the on-screen instruction given in the dashboard. Steps 1, 2, 3 should all be mark completed & confirmed. Then click ‘Submit’ to finally request the change of the domain address.