Moving a site

Sometimes you need to move a site to a new domain, from a domain with the "www" prefix to a domain without it, or change from HTTP to HTTPS protocol. The Yandex robot treats all these cases as different sites. Therefore, moving a site essentially means grouping the old and the new site URLs as mirrors.

For the new address to be included in the search results, the robot must define it as the main mirror of the old domain. This will also allow you to transfer some accumulated metrics from the old site to the new one, for example:

  • External links of the old site are treated as external links of the new one. The External links in Yandex.Webmaster page shows URLs specified on a third-party site.
  • Original texts of the old site are handled as texts on the new site.
Attention. When you change the main mirror, Yandex doesn't guarantee that the number of site pages in search results, the page ranking, or traffic will remain the same.

To specify the main mirror for the robot, follow these steps:

Step 1. Add your old and new sites to Yandex.Webmaster

Step 2. Check if the sites' content matches and they are available to the robot

Step 3. Set a redirect or specify canonical URLs

Step 4. Use the "Relocate site" tool

Step 1. Add your old and new sites to Yandex.Webmaster

Add your old and new sites to Yandex.Webmaster and verify your rights to manage them. For more information, see Quick start.

Step 2. Check if the sites' content matches and they are available to the robot

Make sure that:

  • The sites' main content matches (text and graphics, contact information and so on).
  • The new URL is not grouped with someone else's site mirrors. If it is, separate the sites. You don't need to separate sites if:
    • The grouped mirrors differ only in protocol (HTTP/HTTPS).
    • The site URLs differ only in the "www" prefix.
    • The new URL is recognized as a secondary mirror of the site you are moving from.
  • The old and new URLs are available to the robot:
    • The server response takes less than 10 seconds and contains the HTTP code 200 OK for the new URL, and 200 OK or 301 Moved permanently for the old URL.

      Check the server response

    • The robots.txt files on the old and new domains are allowed for indexing by the Yandex robot. The robots.txt files must have the same content so the robot can use the same URLs for checking mirrors. You can also configure a redirect from the old site's robots.txt to the robots.txt of the new one.

      Check the robots.txt files

Step 3. Set a redirect or specify canonical URLs

Set a redirect with HTTP code 301 from the old site's pages to the corresponding pages of the new one that should be included in the search.

If the site's domain name and directory names have changed, you need to install a double redirect. For example, the page URL http://сайт.рф/стр/ changed to http://example.ru/page/. The redirect should work like this:

http://сайт.рф/стр/ -> http://example.ru/стр/ -> http://example.ru/page/

If possible, don't set a redirect from all pages of the old site to the main page of the new one. Such redirects are inconvenient for users and, consequently, slow down the new site indexing by the Yandex robot.

Note. If there are more than two sites in the mirror group, make sure they all have a redirect to the site that should become the main mirror.

Step 4. Use the “Relocate site” tool

The robot learns about the main mirror the next time it crawls the site. To speed up detection of changes, use the “Relocate site” tool:

  1. Go to Yandex.Webmaster and choose the site you want to move from.
  2. On the Indexing → Relocate site page, send a request using one of these methods, depending on the type of relocation:
    • To a new domain or another domain zone — enter a new URL in the field or select one from the list.
    • From HTTP to HTTPS — turn on the Add HTTPS option.
    • To a domain with the "www" prefix — turn on the Add WWW option.
    • To a domain without a prefix — turn off the Add WWW option.
  3. Click Save.

The main mirror is changed within a few weeks. To get messages about changing the main mirror, subscribe to notifications.

After the main mirror is changed, the new site URL is included in the search.

Questions and answers

I followed the instructions and indicated the main mirror in Yandex.Webmaster, but there is still a secondary mirror in the search. Why?

It will be in the search until the corresponding pages of the primary mirror are indexed, even if you set a redirect. The pages will be excluded from search results after several updates of the search databases.

Secondary mirror pages may still be stored in the robot's database and displayed in Yandex.Webmaster, but not in search.

To keep track of search database updates, subscribe to notifications.

After changing the domain, the number of pages or their ranking decreased

If a new domain is already recognized as the main mirror, there might be slight changes in the number of site pages in the search results, site ranking, or traffic. These changes might be noticeable over several search database updates.

What should I do if the site's directory structure changed and the domain name didn't?

See the recommendations in Site structure.

Why wasn't the relocation request accepted?
  • The site is unavailable or responds with a long delay.
  • The sites' content doesn't match. Check if the internal page URLs and headers match.
  • The site is moving to another domain zone without a redirect.
  • Site indexing is prohibited in the robots.txt file.
  • The request was sent from the site to move to.
  • Internal service error. Try sending the request later.
Request was sent by mistake

Select what the mistake in the request was:

If you selected the wrong site from the list on the Indexing → Relocate site page in Yandex.Webmaster and sent the request, it will eventually be rejected, and the site won't be moved.

In this case, the request can be processed and the sites will be grouped as mirrors. You can't cancel the request. Wait for the changes to be applied in the search results and then move to the domain you need.
Why does the request take so long to process?

The site relocation request is fulfilled when the new site URL becomes the main mirror and is included in the search results. This can take from a few weeks to months, depending on the relocation type, the speed at which the robot crawls the sites and the mirror updates in the search results.

Check whether the following conditions are met:
  • Both sites are available to the robot.
  • The old site URL redirects with the HTTP code 301 to the new one, which will be considered the main mirror.
  • The site relocation request in Yandex.Webmaster is processed.

If all conditions are met, the data will be updated automatically over time.