Whether your site needs to be moved to another server or your company is rebranding and renaming itself, your onsite content needs to be precisely redirected to its new home. If your redirects are not properly completed, your new site will be riddled with 404 File Not Found errors, which can diminish user experience, leading to an increased bounce rate and therefore a decreased page ranking.
In the event that your site does need a thorough series of redirects conducted, your SEO agency should have no trouble doing the technical work for you. This means that you will avoid the majority of issues that a site may face when moving from one domain or server to another.
Whether you are changing your brand name, or relocating from a .co.uk to a .com address, you will need to transfer the contents of your site from one domain to another.
If you are changing the URL and branding
- Create a sitemap of the page URLs on your old domain.
- Co the same for the page URLs on your new domain.
- 301-redirect each URL on your old domain to the most relevant URL on the new domain. If there are pages that do not have an immediate or obvious counterpart between the two domains, redirect the defunct page on the old website to the most similar page on the new website. If there is nothing remotely associated on the new site, 301-redirect it to the new homepage.
- Use the rel=canonical tag on any pages on the old website that are identical, or near identical, to pages on the new website. This will tell search engines which version of the page should be considered the important version to be displayed in SERPs.
- Make sure to keep hosting your previous version of the website. This way the 301-redirects will continue to pass link juice from the old version to the new. If you completely close down your old site, it will stop passing link juice from any inbound links that it may have received to the new website.
- Make sure that both versions of the site are hosted on a single server, and is not split between multiple servers.
- Perform all relevant SEO and inbound marketing optimisation on the new version of the website.
If you are redesigning your website
Keeping SEO best practice in mind, your redesign should be conducted with the Panda update in mind, based in spiderable content, and avoiding dynamic or un-Crawlable technologies wherever possible. You should then create and execute an SEO strategy and inbound marketing strategy for the new version of the site. Then follow the above list from step 3 onwards.