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Google Releases Update to Change of Address Tool


Last updated on February 20, 2020 at 07:28 pm

Google search console update Photo

As Google slowly migrates old tools they had to Google Search Console, they’re also coming up with new updates that will help webmasters and SEOs do their work, monitor changes, and accurately track their website’s performance. Now, with their recent update to Google Search Console’s Change of Address Tool, we’ll now be able to update and monitor our site moves. Here’s how:

Google Search Console Change of Address Tool Update

Through the change of address tool, you can notify that you’re moving your old domain to a new one. This leads to them prioritizing the crawling and indexing of the new domain as opposed to the old one. The change of address also tells Google to forward the authority and signals from the old domain to the new one. 

So, aside from redirecting the pages of your old domain to the new one, it’s necessary for you to use the change of address tool to fully and securely migrate your website. But Google rolled out an update that we’ll all like: 

Redirect Validation

Redirection Verification screenshot

Since redirects are a massive and integral part of site migration or moves, it makes sense that Google will come up with this new feature in Google Search Console’s change of address tool. With this new feature, you’ll be able to validate if the redirects you have for your top URLs are valid or are erroneous. 

As you can see from the screenshot above, it’ll show you the validity of your redirects and if there are pages from the old site that currently don’t have redirects. This could potentially be of massive importance in assuring that all of the pages you want to redirect are properly redirecting. 

Prompts

Prompts in change of address tool screenshot

Once you’ve started with your change of address request, Google Search Console will have prompts that will remind you that the site is moving to a new domain. You will see the prompts once you log in to the dashboard of the website you’re migrating from or the website you’re migrating to. 

Our Experience with the Change of Address Tool

The primary reason why we’re particularly excited about this new update is that migrating websites to new domains is a difficult undertaking just because it involves too much monitoring and quality assurance just to get the best results. 

Of course, we’re not exceptions to the failures of site migrations. One of which happened a year ago with one of our clients. To give you an idea on what happened with our site migration here’s a graph of their movement for one of their most important keywords:

site migration ranking graph screenshot

8 months. 8 full months of missed opportunities for traffic, conversions, and growth. While this was happening, we did a deep dive on why this was happening and we found out that the old website’s pages were still ranking for the same keywords even though we’ve redirected them properly and we’ve used the change of address tool to signal to Google that our website is moving. Fortunately, we still recovered. 

However, it makes me think that if we had these new features, we’d be able to track better and monitor better our migration since we also had pages that weren’t redirecting properly, etc. 

Key Takeaway

Although this might not seem like a large update – it isn’t – we can’t deny the fact that this update is a massive help for SEOs and webmasters alike. Google also advises us that site moves or migrations will take up AT LEAST 180 days or more. This is what they said regarding the 180 day period:

“After the 180 day period, Google does not recognize any relationship between the old and new sites, and treats the old site as an unrelated site, if still present and crawlable.”

Do you have any stories about a site migration gone wrong or are you just excited about this feature? Comment your stories and opinions down below!

Source: SEO Hacker Blog

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