Categories: Crawling, indexing & ranking :

Changed domain 3 months ago, new site indexed but Google shows old URL

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Changed domain 3 months ago, new site indexed but Google shows old URL DogForum 11/22/12 4:51 AM
I've read the FAQs and searched the help center. 

In August I changed the name of my site from www.k9community.co.uk to www.dogforum.co.uk - I verified both sites in Google Webmaster Tools and submitted a move / change request and I also setup a .htaccess 301 redirect on k9community.co.uk to point to dogforum.co.uk

Fast forward 3 months to November and the move seems to have worked well, a search for "site:dogforum.co.uk" shows "About 175,000 results"

So, what's the problem? Well a search for "site:k9community.co.uk" shows "About 462,000 results" too!

Also I find search results for our dogforum.co.uk home page, but Google displays the k9community.co.uk URL in the results.

Any ideas for this? The only possible thing is that both domains are on the same IP? But surely Google should respect the 301 and site move request - both done 3 months ago?





Re: Changed domain 3 months ago, new site indexed but Google shows old URL Becky Sharpe 11/22/12 5:18 AM
Google is respecting your 301's - it redirects from the old site to the new. Have you implemented a page by page redirection or simply from the root?
Re: Changed domain 3 months ago, new site indexed but Google shows old URL DogForum 11/22/12 5:27 AM
Hi Becky, is it respecting them though? Why is it indexing content which is now on dogforum.co.uk and labelling it as being at k9community.co.uk?

To answer your question, it's a .htaccess wildcard redirect, exact code:

Options +FollowSymLinks
RewriteEngine on
RewriteRule (.*) http://www.dogforum.co.uk/$1 [R=301,L]

What's frustrating is that, three months after following the Google guidelines on moving a site (including submitting a request in Webmaster Tools) they're showing a URL that doesn't exist.

Must be a tech issue? A bad rewrite? IP being the same?
Re: Changed domain 3 months ago, new site indexed but Google shows old URL Becky Sharpe 11/22/12 5:42 AM
The url does exist - a 301 redirects so protecting your link and PR equity. Anyone clicking on the old site is 301'd to the new.

It takes time for 301's to work their way through entirely. Bear in mind that the old site will have a stack of links with "dog forum" as an an anchor text so they are retaining their strength in the index. 

All those tens/hundreds of thousands of pages will take time to be recrawled as I imagine many of them don't update on a frequent basis and are basically archived discussions? 

Do you think it is damaging your business at all that users don't arrive immediately at your new site?
Re: Changed domain 3 months ago, new site indexed but Google shows old URL DogForum 11/22/12 5:52 AM
Hi Becky,

Thanks for the reply. I know that the 301 take time, but I think something else is going on here.

Check out these two screenshots - Google has indexed the same content twice, despite it only actually existing once.

Also, in terms of hurting our brand, yes - as you can see in the opening post attachment, where it shows "DogForum.co.uk" in the search engine title but k9community.co.uk in the URL search result doesn't reflect well on us or Google (and that page is updated every few minutes, so should be up to date from Google's point of view).
Re: Changed domain 3 months ago, new site indexed but Google shows old URL Becky Sharpe 11/22/12 6:12 AM
These two pages exist in two different places, a 301 doesn't stop a page existing.
Re: Changed domain 3 months ago, new site indexed but Google shows old URL Pelagic 11/22/12 6:16 AM

Hi, following on from Becky, you have many different urls for that one thread, as you will see with following site query, there are many that have yet to recrawled since you implemented the 301 redirect.

vs

Re: Changed domain 3 months ago, new site indexed but Google shows old URL Becky Sharpe 11/22/12 6:24 AM
Using your search terms but without the site operator I'm getting the new site - http://goo.gl/ZzG9z

I really don't think there's anything strange going on. Users are ending up where you want them. Moving a large site isn't painless, it does take time.
Re: Changed domain 3 months ago, new site indexed but Google shows old URL xlguy 11/22/12 6:31 AM
Thanks for the follow ups.

Regarding: "These two pages exist in two different places, a 301 doesn't stop a page existing." Would it be worth removing the database and files from the k9community.co.uk web directory, i.e. so I have just the .htaccess 301 file and nothing else? Also how can we encourage Google to re-crawl all these old pages, I thought that's the point of submitting a domain move request? Does it matter that k9community.co.uk is no longer verified (due to the 301 redirect) in our webmaster tools account?

Also, in regards to this result (see attachment) - our home page updates every few minutes, so really it should not think it's still at k9community.co.uk? It's also picking up the new title tag, keywords, etc. - just mixing up the URL.


Re: Changed domain 3 months ago, new site indexed but Google shows old URL DogForum 11/22/12 6:40 AM
The above was me, changed account doing something else and didn't realise! 
Re: Changed domain 3 months ago, new site indexed but Google shows old URL Pelagic 11/22/12 7:24 AM
Does it matter that k9community.co.uk is no longer verified (due to the 301 redirect)

You need to prevent that file from redirecting, easily done, try adding this condition to your .htaccess file>

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !/google???????.html

ps replace google???????.html with the actual filename ;)


Re: Changed domain 3 months ago, new site indexed but Google shows old URL DogForum 11/22/12 7:33 AM
Thanks for that - do you think it would help speed up the move and resolve the issue with our /index.php page showing the wrong URL as mentioned in earlier post?
Re: Changed domain 3 months ago, new site indexed but Google shows old URL Pelagic 11/22/12 7:39 AM
Yes it should speed up the move, check the change of address request and also check for crawl errors on the old domain.

Personally I would also prevent the robots.txt file from redirecting, and create a new one that allows all the old urls to be crawled.

ps Typically Google will follow the 301 and use the robots.txt from the new domain for the old one.
Re: Changed domain 3 months ago, new site indexed but Google shows old URL DogForum 11/22/12 7:43 AM
I'm not sure I understand the robots.txt comment. Are you saying make sure I delete the robots.txt in the old k9community.co.uk site public_html folder and put it on dogforum.co.uk?

Also would removing the actual database and files from k9community.co.uk help speed things up? I mean you can't access them because of the 301, but just wondering?
Re: Changed domain 3 months ago, new site indexed but Google shows old URL Pelagic 11/22/12 7:46 AM
I assume that you didn't implement the 301 immediately when the new domain went live and hence G saw it as an exact duplicate of the original domain and auto-canonicalized a number of new domain's pages to that. Given some time that issue will resolve itself.

Re: Changed domain 3 months ago, new site indexed but Google shows old URL Pelagic 11/22/12 7:49 AM
No, as you have already realized., deleting files on the old domain will have no effect due to the blanket 301 redirect.

What I am suggesting with the robots.txt, is to prevent it from redirecting and replace the original file with one that allows everything to be crawled on the old domain. (  User-agent: *     Disallow:  )

e.g. you have pages like this indexed on the old domain, but which are now blocked from crawling, hence the perm redirects will not be seen ;(
Re: Changed domain 3 months ago, new site indexed but Google shows old URL DogForum 11/22/12 7:49 AM
Thanks, can you clarify on robots query too?

Also, regarding auto-canonicalized - is there something I can put in source of home page (on new DogForum site) to try and reverse this?
Re: Changed domain 3 months ago, new site indexed but Google shows old URL Pelagic 11/22/12 8:05 AM
No, it will eventually sort itself out given time. The trouble is you had/have a lot of canonical issues on the site, typical of forum sites ;(  

In addition you also now have a lot of new 301s to more friendly type urls, so inevitably its going to a while for bots to catch up to all those changes.