A new tool in Bing Webmaster Tools will help webmasters performing site moves. Whether you’re moving URL structure around internally or changing your whole site address, the Site Move tool in Bing Webmaster Tools wants to help your site survive the move.
Similar to a 301 redirect, the new Site Move tool is used to tell Bing that you have permanently changed URLs from one location to another. You can find it under the Diagnostic & Tools area of Bing Webmaster Tools.
When using the tool, you must first select whether you’re changing your site architecture by moving URLs from one folder or file name within your current site or whether you’re changing your entire site address.
If you’re changing the entire site, you should first set up that new site in Bing Webmaster Tools. Then you can choose to move from one verified site to another quite easily. Bing provides step-by-step documentation for how the tool works.
The Site Move tool doesn’t replace the need for 301 redirects on your server or for canonical tags in your documents. Visitors coming to your old URLs from any source will still need redirects in place to get them to the new location.
This tool simply redirects BingBot and helps Bing’s Webmaster tools keep your site URLs straight. Over time, Bing will know the new location of the URLs and return them in the results.
The jury is out on what happens to link juice or other page authority signals Bing keeps track of.
According to a comment from Duane Forrester on the Bing blog, you’re also still responsible for managing your own canonical URLs.
“We do not automatically track canonicals and remap,” he said. “But if your canonical remains the same, and you redirect the main page, the canonical should still remain valid.”
There are restrictions to the tool. Before using the Site Move tool, you must set up proper redirects on your URLs. Bing will check the validity of the redirects to make sure they can be resolved at the new location. Additionally, once you use the tool to move a site, you will not be able to move the new URL locations for at least six months.
Have you had an issue redesigning a site where you fell off the search engines results? Would this tool help you in the future? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.