301 redirects for rebranding
Currently I’m observing the redirect of totallyproperty.com to propertycommunity.com which I note is being done by 301. Why did they do it? Was it because of a lawsuit? I doubt if it was on a whim. In any case initially it seemed as if all was going well, on the first day, the old site showed 10,000 urls in the index using a site search whilst the new site indexed over 3000 urls, day 2 the old site showed 8,500 urls whilst the new site showed still marginally more than 3,500 urls. Today is day 3 and now we’re seeing just 2,500 urls yet the old site is showing only 8,000.
Just to note, when doing a site search on the old domain the urls shown are not the destination urls but the legacy urls. I’m guessing this is because the root is being redirected to the new site, therefore from a user experience point of view it makes no sense to show the destination urls (like Google would for a 302 redirect) as the whole site is being redirected.
I see a lot of pain happening in terms loss of rank traffic as Google will just not care too much about the fact that the website is primarily commercial and will not recognise the previous existence of the legacy website when reindexing the new site. Subdirectories that were previously getting first page results are now nowhere to be seen. Within a few months, most of the PageRank will transfer over, but it may take up to a year to reestablish your TrustRank. Re-branding is not something that the search engines consider, they just don’t like it when URLs change — and neither do searchers, previous customers, or people who’ve bookmarked or cited your pages.
Several sites brought to me that used a 302 redirect to point to their new domain, what usually happened is that the old domain name stayed in the index and the new domain name rarely showed up at all, even after many months or even years.
Sometimes after URLs using the new domain name gained many backlinks, it would then be shown in the index. But then Google had a mish-mash of old domain and new domain versions of URIs for the exact same content, and all their duplicate content filtering kicked in.
A 302 redirect usually indexes the content of the new domain target page as belonging on a URL that uses the old domain.
Posted: May 8th, 2009 under SEO.