If you have stumbled upon this article, you might be wondering how to change the domain and still maintain the SEO (search engine optimization) of the Blogger-based website project. Who wants to be penalized for duplicate content for their own masterpiece moving? In this article, we are going to discuss two methods of changing the custom domain of a Blogger-based website without compromising the SEO. Remember, you can go through the same process (especially Method 2) when you choose a custom domain or another blogsot.com subdomain instead of the default custom domain or blogspot.com subdomain.
Please remember that in both of these 2 methods, your domains need to be already verified at Google Search Console. You may choose one method, but doing things with Google Search Console is an integral part of these methods.
In the domain change process, Search Console wants 1) verified ownership of both sites, and 2) a permanent 301 redirect from the homepage (and from posts/pages – optional) of the old domain (or subdomain on blogspot.com) to the new custom domain (or subdomain on blogspot.com).
Blogger dashboard has the provision of 301 redirects within the same domain or subdomain. However, it does not permit permanent 301 redirects to other domains.
Here, we want the redirect to another domain or subdomain. In my case, I tried various methods to do 301 redirects from existing blogger pages/posts to the new website, till the moment I was nearly losing all hope. While I was almost successful in method 2 (My experiment), I discovered method 1 (from Google Help). Please read both of these methods and decide your strategy by yourself.
My purpose of writing this blog is for letting people know about my efforts on SEO non-compromise while moving a Blogger site of my client from one domain to another. I must say, this has not harmed the SEO; also because my client further writes on new domain with quality content. I am not responsible for any kind and/or extent of loss or damage to one’s site contents and/or SEO while one works on this! As you know, change of domain name should be seen from wide range of angles, for example- branding.
Method 1 (Suggestion found in Google Help Forum)
In Google help forum, a member (perhaps a volunteer) suggested the straightforward method. This method has a limitation. The answer was focused more on moving the Blogger site from a custom domain to another custom domain. It also has another limitation which I will discuss later.
1. Change the custom domain (updating with a new custom domain) directly in the Blogger dashboard. Remember, you need to change CNAMEs and A records of the new domain through DNS edit before it can be added as a custom domain to your Blogger blog.
2. Host the old domain somewhere. There, register the 301 redirects of the URLs of the homepage, every post and page of the old site’s domain to the new URL structure formed as a result of domain change. I assume that this can be done in cPanel by tweaking the .htaccess file. Some domain registrars may have the facility of 301 redirects from the domain management level. As I have not tried this method, I can, at most, bring up ideas and discuss them.
3. Verify ownerships of old domain and new domain in Google Search Console.
4. In the Google Search Console of the old domain, use the domain move feature. From the left navigation bar click ‘⚙ Settings’, and then ‘Change of address’.
5. Select the new ‘target website’ (new domain), and click the ‘Validate and Update’ button. It may take some time to confirm before Google figures out that permanent 301 redirects have been made from the old homepage and individual pages and posts to the new homepage and individual pages and posts. Here, a 301 redirect from the homepage of the old domain is mandatory.
6. When Google confirms the 301 redirects of the homepage, it will take responsibility for the rest of the things. You may continue writing content in the new domain which is linked to the same Blogger site.
7. Do not give up, or sell the old domain to a new entity for 6 months. If you do so, they are then free to do anything with the acquired domain. It may hurt the process and eventually the SEO of your new domain.
Let me come to discuss the problem of Method 1. As it mandates hosting the old domain somewhere, there is a question of price. As I believe in freedom of writing and expressing, I have aggressively experimented and got successful in this (See method 2 below).
Method 2 (My Experiment)
1. In Blogger dashboard of the old Blogger-based site, go to Settings, look for ‘Manage Blog‘ section, click ‘Back up content’, and then click ‘DOWNLOAD’ to save XML file from old Blogger site’s dashboard.
2. Create a new Blogger website for the new domain, apply the same theme, and do not write any post or page in the new website.
3. Click ‘⚙ Settings’ of the new Blogger based site’s dashboard, look for ‘Manage Blog‘ section, click ‘Import content’, and then ‘IMPORT’.
4. Choose the file that was downloaded in step 1, and upload it to the new Blogger site.
5. Update the custom domain (with a new domain) directly in the dashboard of new Blogger based website. You should have changed the CNAMEs and A records of the new domain through DNS edit before it can be added as a custom domain to your Blogger blog.
Please make sure that A records are essential for www versions of your website. In the dashboard of new Blogger based website, please toggle-on the feature of https availability and https redirect.
6. Put this code (see below!) on every posts and pages of old blogger site. Replace olddomain.tld with your old domain, and newdomain.tld with your new domain.
<script>var url = location.href;var newurl = url.replace('olddomain.tld','newdomain.tld');location.href = newurl;</script>
7. In Google Search Console, get both sites (old and new domains) verified.
8. Edit the theme of the old Blogger-based site, and put this code (see below!) after
<head> tag. Replace newdomain.tld with your new custom domain. You may have used the non-www version of the website. In such case avoid ‘www.’.
<meta content='2;URL='https://www.newdomain.tld/'' http-equiv='refresh'/> <link href='https://www.newdomain.tld' rel='canonical'/>
9. In Search Console Dashboard of the old Blogger-based website, click ‘⚙Settings’, then click ‘Change of address’.
10. Select the new domain, and then click ‘VALIDATE & UPDATE’ button.
11. The new window will show status of domain verifications and 301-redirects. Remember, the verification of both domains and 301-redirect from the homepage of old site is essential for the migration process.
You may see an error (❌) status for 301-redirect from the homepage. In such a case, we need to wait for a couple of hours or more. People say that Google’s bots may need up to 72 hours to recrawl the site after the indexing request.
We can also make the crawlers visit the old site by requesting the crawling of the homepage in its own Search Console. In the old domain’s Search Console click Inspect URL (home page) > Test Live URL > Request Indexing
12. Try again, and again, until you succeed.
After a couple of hours, my client’s status of homepage-redirect showed verified status (✅)
13. Finally, with a nice welcoming window, you will the button ‘CONFIRM MOVE’. Click on the button.
WHAT’s NEXT: You must leave the migration process upto Google’s hands. You can continue writing on new website. Google suggests that you can discard the old domain and it’s contents after 6 months.
I hope that you learned how to change the custom domain of existing Blogger-based website and do not hurt the SEO at the same time. If you need any further question, you may comment below.