Moving Sites and SEO

Are you planning to move your website? You might disappear from the search engines.

If some of your existing webpages are already ranking high in Google and other search engines, please make sure that the entire URL or complete address of your webpage is replicated in the new webhost that you're planning to transfer to.

It is not enough for the name of the webpage to be the same. It has to be the entire URL.

That way, when people click on your search engine listing, they will still land on that same page (even if your site is already hosted somewhere else).

Also, please keep your old webhost account alive, concurrent with your new webhost account, for at least 4 days. It sometimes takes about 3 days for the changes to your domain name to propagate throughout the entire internet, so don't be surprised if some of your visitors end up visiting your site at the previous webhost.

If you simply move your pages (while preserving your site structure) to the new host, and then immediately disable your account at the old host, some of your visitors might get 404s or missing page errors, because their ISP still thinks your site is in the old web hosting provider.

If your visitors get the "missing page" error after clicking on a link in the search engine results pages, then the search engine will think your old page is missing. What do you think will happen to your page's high ranking position in Google?

So if you wish to preserve your SEO efforts, be prudent when transfering your site to a new host.

Here's a summary of the steps to take:

1. Replicate structure and upload web pages to your new web host.
2. Test your new web host.
3. Update your domain name so that the nameservers point to your new account.
4. Visit your domain name.
5. Wait 4 days.
6. Disable your old web host account.

Please note that this assumes you will use the same domain name, and will simply transfer to another web host provider. This is easy if your site consists mainly of static html pages and images. If you're planning to move a WordPress blog, testing the site at the new location may present a challenge especially if you haven't pointed your domain name to the new server.

[ First posted on 07/19/2007 by Manuel Viloria ]



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