A few weeks ago Google announced the redesign of their webmaster tools and since the launch they have received an encouraging amount of useful feedback that they have chosen to take on board and do something about.
The main thing that they have decided to introduce and something definitely worth noting, as it could be very useful for some web site owners, is the ‘change of address’ feature.
This new feature could turn out to be very beneficial to companies and website owners that have recently or have plans to change the domain name of their website and could potentially make the transition to the new web address a lot easier and a lot less stressful.
Before the ‘change of address’ concept was introduced it could be very hard for website owners that wanted to change domain names, as Google was not typically good at coping with the change, which often meant the web sites would loose a lot of their rankings for particular keywords, once the change had taken place.
For example, Econsultancy recently changed their domain from www.e-consultancy.com to econsultancy.com and this resulted in them loosing a lot of their hard earned rankings for the top performing keywords and meant that they were being out ranked by sites that were republishing their content.
This is obviously not a great place to be in when you have gone to the trouble of redesigning and rebuilding a site to then loose all of the hard work that you have done getting great rankings for the previous domain.
Over the years Google must have received lots of feedback from site owners about this problem and asking for some sort of solution and this has lead them to create this new ‘change of address‘ feature that they hope should resolve the issue.
This new concept allows website owners to notify Google when a domain is going to be changed from one to another.
This will ultimately allow Google to update their index faster and hopefully make the transition to the new domain as simple and as smooth as possible.
Google have said that the change will last for 180 days, which will allow them enough time to crawl and index all the pages that will be located on the new URL.
For more detail see http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=83106.