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  1. #1
    Newbie
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    January 18th, 2005
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    switching to a real domain
    Hi all,
    I have a site on a free domain name and I've decided it's time to get me a real domain name. How do I transfer my site?
    What about the sites I've exchanged link with?
    Is there an easy way to do it or should I email them all asking to update their links??
    and what about the search engines I'm already listed on with my free url?

    Thank you for your help!!

  2. #2
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    GameQueen,

    If I were switching to a new (first-level) domain, I would've contacted all those sites that I had previously exchanged links with, and asked them to link to a new one. They might not want to do it right away, as your PageRank won't be great, but with time - as search engines pick your new domain URLs up - they will.

    Another try to keep your old domain and pages active until your the pages at your new domain are well-indexed by search engines.

    Good luck to you!

    Geno

  3. #3
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Most of this is based on what I did when I moved off of Angelfire, several years ago. But it "should" be substantially the same, now.

    Buy the real domain and hosting, and get the whole site set up there (BEFORE closing out the free one!). Don't link to it yet, though, not until you've taken the content off the old site (to avoid dup-content penalties). Make sure all the internal links and images still work. Depending on how your internal linking/images are set up, there may be much fubarrage caused by non-relative links breaking. Chop through it all and reconstruct whatever you need to.

    Copy everything you want off of the old site, like old files or pix that aren't currently connected to anything. Remember to grab any off-season gifs, for instance.

    Anything you don't want, leave it and let the old "landlord" throw it out

    THEN--If you can get a proper SE-friendly redirect going from the old to new, use it. Others can advise more specifically on how that's supposed to go. There's a way to do it without losing any PR, as I recall, but I don't know it...

    (When I moved off of Angelfire ages ago, I just took all the content down [once I had my new real-domain site set up] and put "this page has moved HERE" links from each old page to each new one. Pretty low-tech, and the only PR-transfer came from those links. But, the SEs still followed those links, and for a while I had both sites in (no dupe-content penalty since the old pages only had the "moved" link).) (That shows how small my first site really was. It's hard to even imagine being able to do such page-to-page linking, now!)

    YES--you will need to email all your linking partners and try to get them to update their links. There will be some bleed-off since some of them won't do it. Some of them may have even changed their email addresses, rendering them unreachable (and their whois may have the old useless address). But a lot should eventually update, some much faster than others.

    When you're satisfied, whack the free site altogether. Close your account at the free host and the old site will go away. Once you do this, your only access to it will be via the Wayback Machine, provided they cached a copy.

    If you're in DMOZ, don't hold your breath waiting for them to update their link to your new site. They didn't update my listing until AFTER I finally gave up and deleted my Angelfire account. Then when they got the 404s they updated.

    As for the real search engines (ie, the big ones with bots), the redirect (or low tech Site Moved links) should give 'em the main clue, but it could take a while to attain your proper rank again.
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  4. #4
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Redirecting without loosing PR
    Quote Originally Posted by Leader
    THEN--If you can get a proper SE-friendly redirect going from the old to new, use it. Others can advise more specifically on how that's supposed to go. There's a way to do it without losing any PR, as I recall, but I don't know it...
    It's easy. Just make sure you do not use the permanent redirect (from your old URL to the new domain) until your new domain is picked up by search engines and indexed well. Here are the details:


    Permanent Redirect Not Always the Best Choice

    Conventional wisdom will tell you to redirect the old domain to the new domain using a 301 "permanently moved" response. This tells the engines that the old URL is no longer going to be used and the new one is the correct one, so that they can update their index with the appropriate URL.

    However, if you follow this usually accurate advice, you'll find the new pages do not automatically assume the positions of the old ones in Google...they will remain off the chart. Even though you are telling Google that this site is exactly the same as the old one, the aging filter will still apply. This doesn't seem like the best strategy, as your site will remain in oblivion until it ages properly.

    Temporary Redirect is the Way to Go

    By using a 302 "temporarily moved" response instead of a 301, the original URL will remain in Google's index, and maintain its position as if the page were still there. However, visitors who click on the link will be brought to your new URL, exactly where you want them to be. It's the best of both worlds -- you retain your rankings during that interim aging period, but visitors are redirected to the updated and correct domain.

    Once the 302-redirect is in place, it's imperative to start a linking campaign for the new site. You'll need links pointing to it in order for it to be ready to rank well when it's released from the aging filter. When you notice the new domain starting to show up in the rankings (anywhere from 6-12 months, typically) then it's time to contact your previous linking partners to update their links from the old domain to the new one.

    The Final Move

    Once the new domain has properly aged, go back and change the 302-temporary redirect to a 301-permanent redirect. This will transfer the link popularity from the original site and finalize the move to the new domain. It's a good idea to retain those original pages at the old domain until you are reasonably sure all the links around the 'Net have been updated with your new URL.


    Source

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador Nature Boy's Avatar
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    Unfortunately, not very many of the "free" sites out there allow access to the .htaccess file to make these changes, so the whole Permanent Redirect vs. Temporary Redirect thing is moot.
    Scott
    If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, then baffle them with bulls#!t
    Don't tell me that you'll do it... SHOW ME.
    Just because everyone else is drinking it is no reason for me to drink the KOOL-AID.

  6. #6
    AM Navigator Geno Prussakov's Avatar
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    GameQueen, if yours doesn't support .htaccess, then I'd do a "we moved" link (without deleting your keywords, and leaving as much content as you can)...

    Geno

  7. #7
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    It's a good idea to retain those original pages at the old domain until you are reasonably sure all the links around the 'Net have been updated with your new URL.~article
    I disagree mightily with that article. Doing that will trigger every dup content filter from here to Mountain View.

    Better to have the traffic follow a link over to the new location from an otherwise blank page, than start out a new domain with the engines thinking you're trying to spam them, or that your new domain is some ripoff site.
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

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