Google has begun to roll out a new set of features for its web service Search Console that will help webmasters when it comes to changing domains.
The updates are being added to the console’s change of address tool, which allows webmasters to inform Google when a site has moved from one domain to another. The tool is also used when a site is being moved to a different subdomain.
Once Google has been notified about a change of domain, it will start to prioritise indexing and crawling the new domain over the old one. Furthermore, submitting this change of address request lets Google know to forward signals to the new domain.
In order to make the tool more helpful and useful to site owners, the search company is adding two new features. The first is a redirect validation.
One of the major parts of changing a domain involves the site owner setting up a number of 301 page redirects from the old URL to the new one. The change of address tool will now validate these redirects in place for a site’s top five URLs. As part of this, Search Console will indicate whether a redirect from an old URL is valid. If so, the site owner can confirm the move there and then.
The second new feature sees the introduction of on-screen reminders. After the change of address request has been submitted, Search Console will then remind the user that the site is moving whenever they log into the dashboard of either the new or old domain.
Google advises that it can take up to 180 days for these change of address requests to be completed and it is expected that the reminder will be displayed within the dashboard for the entire process.
It should be highlighted that this tool within Search Console is only one part of the domain changing process. Site owners will still need to implement the 301 page redirects. You can read more about this tool here.
If you are moving your site, or are considering getting a new one, talk to Engage Web and see what we can do for you.