The goals of this tool are straightforward. It will:
- ensure that visitors to your FTP blog are redirected to your blog's new home
- avoid having pages from both sites end up indexed in search engines
- preserve PageRank from your existing site to your new URL
- update your Blogger settings so that future posts publish automatically
- identify any necessary changes you need to helps you through each one
- Backup your blog. Blogger supports full blog backup/export today, and before we kick things off we want you to have a full copy of your blog.
- Next, the migration tool asks you where you want to publish the blog once it's hosted by Blogger. This could be at a subdomain of your current domain (if you currently publish to www.yourdomain.com/blog/, you might want the blog to reside at blog.yourdomain.com), or if you don't own the domain you're publishing to, it might just be a Blogspot URL. If you pick a subdomain, we'll instruct you how to update your DNS settings so that the CNAME properly points to Google's servers.
- Once your blog is available at the new URL, we will write a final post to the FTP blog instructing users to the new URL, and we will then update your existing FTP pages by adding two pieces of information to each page on the blog: one is called a rel="canonical" link, which tells Google that the "canonical" location of the page is no longer the FTP URL but the new Blogger-hosted URL. The other piece of info is a refresh line, which tells the browser to redirect the visitor from the page they're on to the canonical URL after a short pause. Now that rel="canonical" supports moving content across domains, this is the path that Matt Cutts recommended we use to ensure that we could simply redirect all traffic from the FTP URL to the new URL. (More on rel="canonical" here, and more on refresh here.)
- Finally, we validate that the FTP URLs resolve to the new URLs — we just pull a couple of randomly selected blog posts and verify that they properly resolve to the new URL.
Some users will want to exercise more control over the process — we're also building a checklist to help identify all of the things you'll want to make sure you cover in manually moving your site off of FTP. More on that in a later post.