In a recent chat with Google Search Advocate John Mueller, he gave some helpful advice for small business owners about changing from an old website to a new one without causing problems for SEO. Here’s a simpler version:
Making the Move
Mueller said it’s important to update or remove your old website when you’re putting up a new one. If your old site has wrong info, like changed business hours or addresses, it can confuse people and hurt how well your site shows up in searches. So, either keep the old site private or update it with the right details.
Best Ways for a Smooth Move
Mueller thinks it’s smart to use redirects from your old site to the new website. Redirects help users find the right site and also move signals to the new site, making it rank better on search engines. If you’re not sure how to do this, get help from a web expert. Mueller suggests keeping redirects for at least a year to make sure the move is easy for users and search engines.
What Redirects Do
Redirects are like guides when you’re changing from one website to another. They take users to the new site and move the value of links from the old site to the new one. This helps the new website keep its good spot on search engines.
Setting Up Redirects
Mueller recommends using a 301 permanent redirect when moving your website. It’s a bit technical, but it helps move the goodness from old pages to new ones. You need to figure out which old URLs go to which new ones and make some changes in the web server settings. If you use systems like WordPress, they might have tools to help with this.
When Redirects Won't Work
If you can’t use redirects to a new domain, Mueller suggests telling visitors about the move on the old site or taking it down. The new site won’t get in trouble with search engines for old info, but both the old and new sites might show up in searches for a bit.
After the Change
Once you’ve switched, keep an eye on things:
- Use tools to make sure redirects and traffic are working right.
- Watch your search engine rankings to catch any problems.
- Tell your users about the change through emails, social media, and on your website.
So, moving to a new website is a big deal, and you need to be careful to keep your good spot on search engines and make it easy for your users. Mueller‘s guidance, along with additional insights provided in this article, aims to facilitate a smooth transition from an old site to a new one.