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Domain Migration

Check out our in-depth website migration checklist for a practical guide on managing a site migration project.

Domain migration is the process of moving a website from one domain to another and involves migrating all content and resources. There are several things that need to be considered to ensure the migration is successful and doesn’t affect a website’s performance in search. In our SEO Office Hours Notes below we cover these factors, commonly asked site migration questions, and best practice advice from Google.


Adding New Language Versions Alongside Migration Can Delay Processing

For Google to be able to process site migrations quickly, they need to be one-to-one moves. Adding new language versions alongside a migration means Google will need to process each of these versions separately which will take longer.

23 Jul 2019

Featured Snippets Can be Switched Quickly After Migration if Site Structure is Consistent

If Google is able to clearly see that a site has moved, all the associated signals and features such as featured snippets and knowledge panels will be moved across to the new domain as long as the site structure and internal linking remains consistent.

28 Jun 2019

Make Sure Hosting & Redirects Are Set Up Correctly After Migration so Google Doesn’t Think Site is Offline

If part of your website doesn’t work when Google is trying to access it, such as www. pages, Google could assume that the site has gone offline. Ensure that redirects and the hosting is set up correctly to avoid this from happening.

11 Jun 2019

Make Sure Old Site Isn’t Being Blocked from Crawling During Migration

During a site migration, if the old site is being blocked from being crawled by Google in robots.txt, this can cause issues with Google being able to process the migration and pass on signals to the new site.

16 Apr 2019

Use Redirects Rather Than Orphaning an Old Page Before a Site Migration

When implementing a site migration, redirect old pages as soon as possible rather than removing internal links to them (creating orphan pages) to try and encourage Google to drop them from the index.

5 Feb 2019

Block Staging Sites From Being Crawled by Google

You should block Google from indexing your staging site as it can cause problems. You can block access based on Googlebot’s user agent, or using robots.txt.

21 Dec 2018

Include Content That Matches Old Website Versions When Merging Sites

When merging multiple sites into one, John recommends including some content on the destination domain that matches the original domains that have been merged.

30 Oct 2018

HSTS Isn’t Used as a Ranking Signal

HSTS doesn’t play any part in rankings. The main consideration from Google’s perspective is that it shouldn’t be added to a site during a time of fluctuation, like a migration. Make sure you only add it once rankings have settled and a migration has been completed successfully.

24 Jul 2018

Use a Crawling Tool to Assess & Compare a Site Before & After a Migration

Before launching a site migration, John recommends using a crawling tool to get a full picture of your site’s status and signals (such as internal linking, canonicals, etc.) both before and after the migration to compare.

10 Jul 2018

A/B Testing During a Site Migration Can Delay Google Processing the Move

If you’re running large scale A/B testing during a site migration, this can confuse Google’s picture of your site and prevent it from running an algorithm to easily switch all of your URLs across to the new version.

10 Jul 2018

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