Search Engine Optimization: Google and a Site Move
Moving is rarely easy. It can be stressful, exhausting and filled with all sorts of unexpected and annoying headaches. This is true whether you are loading up the belongings of your home and relocating your household, or moving the website of your business. Some would argue that moving an entire family cross-country is less painful than moving a website, and we can certainly understand that sentiment.
Even if you aren’t moving your brand’s main website, just making a switch with a microsite or a section of your site can still be challenging and time-consuming because there are generally a lot of little pieces and moving parts involved.
One of the most important things you need to consider when moving a site is how it will affect your search rankings. SEO is, after all, closely tied to your url, inbound links and other elements based on your site location. So it’s critical that you consider search engine optimization, especially with regards to Google, in your plans when preparing for a site move.
Just as you have to notify the post office of your new address when you relocate, you will want to keep Google in the loop when you are moving your site or when you make any changes to its url, infrastructure or other elements that could impact it from a search standpoint.
Fortunately, Google has tried to make the process as painless as possible. Their webmaster site has resources and instructions (which they have just updated) telling you what you need to do when relocating your site so as to minimize the disruptions and potential negative SEO impact.
Before you start to take any action, though, remember that a site redesign is different from a move. If you are just updating the look of your site, without any changes to the url or host, that isn’t considered a move. Site moves fall into two categories: those that involve url changes and those that don’t. Each has its own particular issues and challenges, but (as you can probably guess) a move that involves url changes is generally much more complicated and has a greater chance of problems.
We would definitely agree with Google’s recommendation that you try to break up a move into small, gradual steps to make the process easier to manage. This also makes it more convenient for you to test each step along the way, so you can identify and address any problems as they occur. It also goes without saying that you would want to try and time the move carefully so it doesn’t happen during any peak demand periods when you would be likely to get high volumes of traffic.
If you are contemplating a site move, redesign or any other processes that will impact your search engine optimization, enlisting the help of experienced professionals like KEO Marketing can ensure things go smoothly.