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June 11, 2009

Don’t Let Shortcuts Create Bad Habits

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girl picking her nose
Photo by Pink Sherbet Photography
via Creative Commons

Google’s getting pats on the back for a new tool that lets webmasters tell the search engine when a site’s been moved to a new domain. According to Google’s Webmasters/Site owners Help documentation, if you use the change of address tool, the Google index will be updated to reflect your new domain for 180 days. Before those 180 days are up, Googlebot will have come by to crawl and index pages at the new domain and — voila! — your new site will be forever present in the only search engine that matters. [Yay! –Susan]

It’s great to hear that at least one task is being simplified for overloaded SEOs, but Google’s convenient shortcut may have some unintended consequences. First of all, Google’s not the only search engine. Submitting your new domain through Google’s handy new tool is not going to affect the index of engines like Yahoo, Bing and Ask. (Rocket scientist here, I know.)

And second, while Google may be the big guy on campus today, that may not be the case tomorrow. Taking shortcuts can have a nasty habit of coming back to bite you. Just because Google’s created an easy domain-change-submission process, that shouldn’t be an excuse to ignore your responsibilities in optimizing a site for all the engines. After all, we’re talking about search engine optimization and not Google optimization. Although, GO would be a pretty catchy title…

Anyway, if you catch my drift and you want to make sure your new site’s sitting pretty with more than just Big G, check out this simple instructional on what to do after you’ve moved your site.

What to Do After Moving a Site

We recommend that all Web sites include an XML Sitemap. XML Sitemaps are used by search engines to find all the pages on a site. More information on XML Sitemaps guidelines and what XML Sitemaps are used for can be found in the SEO Newsletter archives. XML Sitemaps can be generated at http://www.xml-sitemaps.com/.

With your new site chilling until the search engines stop by, you’ll want to submit the new domain’s XML Sitemap to each engine according to its specific procedures. Now that I’ve explained what to do, here’s the how.

Search Engine What to Do Submission Instructions
Ask Ask does not have an XML Sitemap submission protocol. Instead, add the sitemap auto-discovery directive to the old site’s robots.txt. Ask Help Central
AOL AOL uses Google’s index, so follow Google’s XML Sitemap submission protocol. Refer to the Search Engine Relationship Chart
Bing From Bing Webmaster Tools, select add new site, submit details of the site, including the address of the XML Sitemap, and verify the site with one of two available methods. Bing Webmaster Tools
Google In Google Webmaster Tools, add the new site by entering the URL and verifying ownership. Submit the new site’s XML Sitemap. You can also use Google’s new change address tool. Google Webmaster Tools
Yahoo Add your new site and authenticate your ownership. Upload the new XML Sitemap. Yahoo Site Explorer
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3 responses to “Don’t Let Shortcuts Create Bad Habits”

  1. Sunita Biddu writes:

    Wow.. latest news and with so perfect suggestions. I liked this table format :) Looks like, I’m going to get some value-stuff on subscription.

    I’ll HAVE TO keep coming here.. There is lot more to read here I see.

  2. SEO Submission writes:

    This is excellent information on submitting site map to different search engines. Can you put some light on how much time does it take for every search engine to actually crawling links mentioned in sitemap & update it in webmaster tool. Also if there are any variation that one needs to make in site map xml file according to search engine or one sitemap file suitable for all search engines.

  3. Sulumits Retsambew writes:

    Right now, I prefer not to use sitemap anymore especially for Google, it’s all because whenever Google bot can’t access it, my index will be drop drastically. I don’t know whether you are experiencing this kind of problem or not.



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