Recently, Google announced on their Webmaster blog the release of a new in-depth guide to help users achieve search-friendly site moves. The introduction of this new guide is as a result of the confusion that Google has seen which has led webmasters to implement site moves incorrectly and miss out important steps in this now seamless process. Here we’ll look at some of the important factors behind site moves that ensure sites retain their rankings.
1) Submitting a Change of Address
After moving a site to a new domain, it’s imperative that webmasters tell Google about the move by utilizing the change of address tool. This tool will allow Google to update their search index to reflect the site’s new URL.
2) Removing Temporary Crawling Blocks
Oftentimes, site owners will use a robots.txt file to prevent all crawling by the Googlebot and other search crawling systems. These blocks will only prevent the site from becoming indexed after the move. Therefore, it’s important to remove all blocks during the site transition and begin from the new site location with strong search ranking capacity.
3) Traffic Monitoring
Webmasters should maintain a close eye on their traffic levels as they complete their site transition. They will likely notice a drop in traffic levels on their old servers and a rise in traffic on the new servers as their site DNS is created. It’s also important to monitor site crawl stats within the Google Webmaster tools. To optimize this process, webmasters can let the Googlebot decide their maximum crawl rate to ensure the optimal settings for their new domain.
The site move transition can be difficult enough without worrying about the effect it will have on the brand’s search rankings. Review the updated Google Webmaster site move guidelines and ensure that your business is positioned for great success from its new site location.