How to move websites? A simpler way, as explained by Google.

There could be many reasons that you want to move your website.

If you are thinking of doing the same, you must be fully aware of the ways to get it done without any issues.

Website owners are scared of losing rankings by making this move.

In this blog post we will explain you the best and Google friendly way to handle your website move.

Basics of Site Move:

Broadly, there are two types of moves

1. Without URL Changes: means there is a change in hosting provider or the change in content while the URL structure remains the same as the earlier one.

 

2. With URL Changes: this is an important one as there may be following possible reasons:

  • http:// protocol changes to https://
  • Domain name is changed from currentdomainname.com to newdomainname.com
  •  Domain name is unchanged but the URL path is altered e.g. currentdomainname.com/previousurl.html  to currentdomainname.com/newurl/

Since point 2 is more complicated move, web site owners need to be more cautious while taking these steps.

If these steps are incorrectly done, a domain can loose all search engine rankings.

Therefore, it is important to take a note of the following guidelines, as suggested by Google:

1. Split your move into smaller chunks.

If you are doing both the URL as well the hosting provider changes, we recommend to do it separately.

2. Move has to planned during minimum possible traffic. You can check this with your Google Analytics.

3. Prepare the new site. This includes the following steps:

  • A new site with proper URLs set up
  • Adding a robots.txt file with proper blockage implemented for unwanted files/ folders
  • Setting up Google Webmaster Tools such as URL parameters, Geotargeting, Crawl Rate and Backlinks Disavaow. Checking that the recent domain is free from any penalty is also important.
  • Implementation of Google Analytics.

4. URL mapping. This is the most important part of the redirect.

  • prepare an excel sheet for your current domain URLs
  • prepare a n excel sheet for your new domain URLs
  • get the mapping done as per the content or services listed on the page

5. 301 redirects:

After the URL mapping, the next step is 301 redirects from old URLs to new URLs. To learn more about 301 redirects, please click here

6. After the 301 redirects, please submit a change of address in the GWT for the old site.

7. On the destination site, submit the two site maps containing old and new URLs. This helps our crawlers discover the redirects from the old URLs to the new URLs, and facilitates the site move.

8. Keep the redirects as long as possible and consider keeping them indefinitely.

As a general rule, a medium-sized website can take a few weeks for most pages to move, and larger sites take longer. The speed at which Googlebot and Google systems discover and process moved URLs depends the number of URLs and the server speed.

9. Try updating the incoming links to your site to the newer one. Incoming links may include the following:

  • External Links: links coming from external sites
  • Authorship “ Contributor to” links in your Google + profile
  • Profile links such as G+, FB, Twitter and LinkedIn
  • Ad Campaigns

10. Once this is done, please monitor traffic through GA to ensure that everything is working fine.

Please send in your queries, in case you need to know more about this.

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