If you’re migrating a site to a new domain or CMS, the final step of the migration should only take about a day — if you do it correctly.
Read more about this over on this post at Search Engine Roundtable.
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There are often times when you need to migrate your website. This could be a new domain name, a new content management system, or just a new site with the same domain and cms, but a ton of new/revised pages. Building the new site could take months, but when everything is ready to go the actual migration should take less than a day.
Google’s John Mueller recently discussed this in a Webmaster Central hangout. Someone asked “Does domain migration affect my SEO?”, and here is part of what he said:
“Usually yes. So at least in the past it was definitely the case that it was more visible. In that you would move to a new domain and it would take several months for everything to settle down.
Nowadays our systems are pretty good, in that if you move to a new domain and you follow all of the steps in our help center then sometimes within a day or two things will just switch over. And you’ll see pretty much no change with regards to search.”
There are more to his comments, which you can find in our show notes, but that was the bulk of it. There are two great things to take away from this:
1: As John said, Google is much faster about updating things on their end.
2: Even while you’re waiting, things shouldn’t hurt too bad.
Case in point, I recently moved the content for this podcast onto a separate site, which required a pretty major migration. As of this recording, about half of the pages are showing in Google on the new digitalcast.org domain, and half are still showing up as being on mickmel.com. So what? If a user clicks on one of the old links in Google, it just redirects to the new page on the new domain. It’s seamless.
If you handle a migration correctly, rankings may fluctuate a bit but the user experience should be seamless. Develop a solid process for migrating sites (ours is currently at 50 steps, and there are tons of resources to help you build yours) and migrations will become a much less scary things to tackle.