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Smooth Site Migration without Sacrificing Your Google Ranking!

Posted by Avasoft Team | Posted in Site Traffic | Posted on 19-07-2011

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Moving your website seems like it’s as easy as taking down the old site and setting the new one up at your new address, but it’s not that simple.  One of the main concerns you have is making sure that you keep your search engine rankings and transferring them to your new domain.  In order to make this happen, there are several things you can do to prevent a “File not Found” error from opening when users click on a link that should lead to your site.

  1. One of the most common reasons for a site migration is changing the name of your product or brand.  This should be done in two steps.  Start by moving your current site to the new address.  Save the redesign of the site until after you see that it has made a smooth move to the new address.
  2. Another way to ensure that you take your current search engine rankings with you is to use a 301 Redirect.  This is a coding form that tells your old website to automatically redirect traffic onto your new site.  A 301 Redirect shows search engines that your site has moved to a new address, which means that your rankings will go with the move.  Just remember that you will need a 301 Redirect for each page on your site.  You must have a one to one redirect for each page on your old site.  The content on the new site can be different than what’s on the old site, but for each page on your old site, you should have a separate page to transfer users to.  Essentially, you should have the exact same pages on the old site and the new site, and the pages from the old site should transfer directly to pages with similar content on the new site.
  3. Google also offers a tool to help website owners make sure that they are able to keep their rankings intact when they migrate their site.  In your Google Webmaster Tools account, just use the Change of Address tool to inform the search engine that your site’s address is changing.  Only a verified owner of both the old and new sites can do this.  You must add the new site to your Google Webmaster tools account and verify that you own it before you can use the Change of Address tool to inform Google of your site migration.
  4. Updating all your links is also very important for helping keep your Google ranking intact through the migration.  Set up your old page so that all incoming links from pages owned by other people automatically receive a redirect to your new site.  Don’t forget to update the internal links in your old site so that they send users directly to your new site as well.  A link checker will do wonders to help you make sure that all your links from your old site are in good working order.  Xenu and similar link checkers will search for broken links on your site and let you know if anything isn’t working.
  5. Uploading a sitemap of your new site including all the URLs will also help Google find all of the pages on your site.  After you upload the sitemap to Google, checking the Sitemap Details page will show you how many of your new URLs Google has located and been able to index.

Of course moving your site successfully does take time, so it’s always a good idea to keep your old site for at least six months after you move it.  This ensures that all the search engines and links have enough time to update your site migration in their systems.  Your Google Webmaster Tools account will help you make sure that everything is updating and working properly.  You can also look at the web crawl errors to make sure that there aren’t any File not Found errors appearing on your new site.

Avasoft Solutions is the best web hosting company to help with your site migration. Our services include complete web design, e-commerce solutions, search engine optimization, and many others.

Comments (2)

If you have FTP access do you need control of the DNS to do a 301 redirect?

Hi Chuck,
It’s depend on the hosting server feature.

If your hosting server support .htaccess, FTP access is enough to the 301 redirect.

But if your hosting server doesn’t support .htaccess, then you will need DNS control to do it. As other alternative, you can also do 301 redirect from the web program (PHP, ASP, etc).

Kind Regards,
Avasoft SEO Team

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