Webmasters who want to move a subdomain to a new domain now have an easier means to notify Google of the change. Although the official Google announcement only came on April 15, 2015, late last month, Google secretly unveiled the new added support for webmasters to move a subdomain to new domain through the use of the Change of Address tool in Google Webmaster Tools.
Earlier in March, John Mueller from Google mentioned that there would be a modification to the Change of Address tool, which didn’t support the capability to move a subdomain to a new domain as there wasn’t any way to notify Google in Webmaster Tools of a subdomain move.
Now, Google has added this feature to notify the search engine that a subdomain has moved to a new domain or existing domain. For example, you can now notify Google of a change from www.blog.yoursite.com to www.yoursite.com. However, the tool is limited, lacking the ability to change HTTP to HTTPS, subdomain name changes, or path-only changes.
Change of Address for Subdomain
Using the tool, you’ll manage the transition that’s needed for Google to index your new URLs at the new address. This will minimize the impact on current ranking in Google Search by notifying Google of the new URLs for existing content. This allows Google to update their index to reflect the new pages for 180 days, at which point Googlebots will have crawled and indexed the pages via the new address.
Changing Your Address
Currently, the tool only supports verified site owners and requires a completed process for content migration prior to using the tool. With the Change of Address tool, you’ll need to submit the change of address by opening the Webmaster Tools homepages to select the site you want to move. Select “change of address” and follow the instructions to complete the process. Once this is complete, you’ll need to verify your new site in Webmaster Tools with specified relevant preferences on the new domain. However, be aware, if your 301 redirects aren’t set in place first, your request to move addresses will be denied.
Tips to Remember
Through the new feature, the transition will be seamless, but there are certain errors that may occur that will cause Google to reject the change of address. For a faster merger of the URLs:
- Add your new site to Webmaster Tools and verify ownership.
- Establish 301 redirects connecting your old URLs to the new URLs.
- Exclude subdirectories in your new location.
- Verify the preferred version of the new domain.
- Don’t chain move sites.
For those who want drop a subdomain and only use a main domain, this new feature is the perfect option to change your subdomain without suffering a dramatic negative impact on ranking or traffic.
- “Google Change of Address Tool May Support Subdomains” Search Engine Roundtable
- “The Google Change of Address Tool Now Supports Subdomain Moves” Search Engine Roundtable
- “Use the Change of Address Tool” Webmaster Tools Help
- “Google Adds Subdomain Support to Change of Address Tool in Google Webmaster Tools” Search Engine Land