Official: SEO site migration myths debunked

Google’s Martin Splitt and his guest Glenn Gabe talked about website move, URL migrations and domain name changes. This article has the most important facts for you.

SEO website migration myths

1. Image redirects

You should redirect image URLs during a website migration. Redirect all image URLs to the new URLs of the images. Then check the server logs of your old domain. If there is no crawler activity, you can discard the old domain.

2. Traffic drops

If you are just moving from one domain to the other and the new domain contains the same content and the same URL structure as the old domain then you will not necessarily see a drop of traffic.

In that case, you will see that traffic drops off over time on one domain and picks up on the other. But overall, you’re not losing traffic. It is a fluid transition.

Traffic drops are usually caused by some sort of technical problem. For example, you might have missed half of your re-directions. There can be misconfigurations on the new server, etc.

3. Used domain names

If you move to new domain name that was used by a different company before, there might be some issues. In that case, Google might need a little longer to recrawl the website. However, getting a domain that you know is not dealing with issues from the past. Even if it’s a domain with a bad history, Google is aware that content on domains do change. Google might not consider it a site move but they might re-crawl and reprocess everything.

4. It takes some time to get rid of spam

Whenever your website has spam problems that Google detects and points them out to you, then you have to fix them. Then it takes a while for Google to understand that it has changed and that everything is better now.

If you buy a domain name that was used for spamming in the past, it can be better to remove the content from the website and wait until Google can see that the spam content has gone.

5. Merging two websites

One plus one will not always equal one when you merge two websites. Combining two sites into one is not the same as a site move to a new domain.

Google has to recrawl all pages when you combine two websites. Depending on how you merge your websites, you might get very different results.

6. Site moves take time

It can take between a day and several weeks until Google has fully recognized the new website. The number of links from other websites also plays a role.

7. There’s no special reassessment of site quality

When you move your website to a new domain, there’s no special reassessment of your website quality. Google constantly evaluates the quality of your web pages.

If you change the URL structure of your website, Google might take a closer look at the pages. The current state of your web pages is used for the evaluation.

8. Ranking signals

Martin Splitt also listed some ranking signals that Google uses: “How fast is the site? Is this HTTPS or not? Is the content good? What’s this page about? […] There’s, like, hundreds of these factors that we look at. And we collect them per page.”

You can view the full video here:

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Johannes Selbach

Johannes Selbach is the CEO of SEOprofiler. He blogs about search engine optimization and website marketing topics at "http://blog.seoprofiler.com".