How To Redirect To New Domain Without 301When a website has a new domain address the usual way to tell search engines is with a 301 redirect. However some sites such as those hosted on free servers don't have that option.
But there still is a way to tell Google and other search engines to replace your site's old url with the new url in search results and thereby not lose any traffic your site is getting. It is by placing a canonical rel tag in the webpages of the old website.
This tag is intended to let webmasters tell Google which webpage they prefer listed in search results if they have more than one webpage with similar or identical content, and we are going to use it to get Google to replace the old site with the new site in search results.
The canonical rel tag is placed between the head tags of every webpage of the old website and contains the url of the corresponding new webpage. When Google crawls the old webpages and sees the new url, it will know that's the webpage it should list in place of the old one.
A canonical tag looks like this:
The canonical tag is placed between the <head></head> of every webpage in the old website and contains the url to the new webpage. The example above would be placed in the index page, replace "www.newdomain.com" with your site's new web address.
Any other webpages of the old site would contain the url of the corresponding new page, for example:
For this to work new site must be identical to the corresponding webpages of the old site. If the content is not the same, search engines may decide that the pages on the new domain are not a good match for the keywords under which the old webpages are listed and will ignore the canonical tag altogether.
After you see your new site's pages replacing your old site in search results, which could take a few weeks, you can delete your old website. Note: You will still need to update any links going to your old website such as from blogs, social media and other websites.
To learn more about the canonical tag check out Google's support page