Domain Migration

A 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. Within our Hangout Notes we cover these factors, as well as commonly asked questions and best practice advice from Google.

Domain Redirects Should Remain in Place Permanently

March 6, 2020 Source

Google recommends that domain redirects should remain in place for a significant amount of time, at least a year, but it’s better to keep it in place as long as possible whilst you’re still seeing users or bots accessing the old domain.


Use GSC to Identify If There Are Any Errors With a Site’s URL Structure After a Migration

January 31, 2020 Source

After completing a site migration, John recommends using GSC to compare the queries and positions the site was ranking for before and after the change. This will identify if there are any errors with Google’s understanding of the new URL structure and identify if the migration has impacted traffic to the site and where this has occurred.


Keep Old Domain & 301 Redirects for as Long as Possible After Domain Migration

January 7, 2020 Source

John recommends maintaining 301 redirects from an old domain to the new one for at least a year after migrating. However, users may still access the old domain years after the migration, so consider keeping the redirects for as long as possible. Also try to keep ownership of the old domain so spammers don’t misuse it.


It is Normal For Old URLs To Still be Visible in Search Results After Performing a Domain Migration

November 1, 2019 Source

When performing a domain migration, it’s perfectly normal for pages from the old domain to still appear in the search results. However, it is likely the cached page is already seen as the new domain URL, as Google will identify that the old URL is an alternate version of the new one. John does not recommend using the URL removal tool for this as it won’t provide a long-term fix, it will just hide the URLs in search results.


Blocking Googlebot’s IP is The Best Way to Prevent Google From Crawling Your Site While Allowing Other Tools to Access It

October 1, 2019 Source

If you want to block Googlebot from crawling a staging site, but want to allow other crawling tools access, John recommends whitelisting the IPs of the users and tools you need to view the site but disallowing Googlebot. This is because Google may crawl pages they find on a site, even if they have a noindex tag, or index pages without crawling them, even if they are blocked in robots.txt.


Adding New Language Versions Alongside Migration Can Delay Processing

July 23, 2019 Source

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.


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

June 28, 2019 Source

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.


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

June 11, 2019 Source

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.


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

April 16, 2019 Source

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.


Related Topics

HTTPS Migration Website Redevelopment