Google Advice On Domain Migrations

When migrating to a new domain, will the authority from the old domain be inherited by the new domain? Read what Google has to say on Domain Migrations
Marie Aquino
February 8, 2022

In the Google SEO Office Hours episode last February 4, a user is migrating over a site to another domain and has asked whether the page authority and ranking will be negatively affected? Will the authority from the old domain be inherited by the new domain? For sites that would still link to the old domain, will the juice pass over to the new domain?

John Mueller responded that there are two aspects to it.

On the one hand, if you’re moving a website to another domain, use redirects to move things over and use the Change of Address tool in search console, that helps Google to really understand that everything from the old domain should be forwarded to the new one. As much as possible, they will take everything from the old domain and just apply it to the new domain.

The other aspect is on the per page basis. Google also tries to look at the canonicalization. And for the canonicalization, they look at a number of different factors. Redirects play a role. Internal linking, rel=canonical on the pages, and the external links also play a role.

What could happen in some cases is that if Google sees that a lot of the external links are going to the old url, maybe even some internal links still go to the old url, they actually index the old urls instead of the new one because from their point of view, it starts to look like the old url is the right one to show and the new one is more of a temporary thing.

Because of this, what Google recommends when a migration is done from one domain to another domain is not only to set up the redirect and set the domain in the change of address tool, but also to go off and try to find the larger websites that are linking to the previous domain and see if they can update those links to the new domain. This is to make sure that everything is aligned, and that the focus is on the new domain rather than on the old domain.

Domain migrations are a major thing to do and there can be quite some issues encountered when not done properly. We hope that the insights provided would help you prepare better in the migration of your site to a new domain.

In a previous article, we have also discussed best practices provided by Google on URL structure changes, including that of migrations. Be sure to check it out also.