Most webmasters dread moving a site from one domain to a new domain and would do whatever they can to avoid it. However, sometimes you cannot avoid making the move. In these cases, what are the various strategies you can use to reduce the SEO concerns with making this move?
Aaron Wall posted a case study on a recent site move. He documented the traffic to the site, before, during and after the big move. He also documented how long Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft picked up the site on the new domain.
Overall, Aaron explains that in this case, Google and Yahoo were both fairly quick in picking up the new content. Although he noticed traffic is a bit down for Google, he attributes much of that to the seasonal nature of the site. On the other hand, Microsoft has yet to pick up the new site and Aaron is concerned with Microsoft’s 301 redirect handling.
Aaron also offers several tips on how to make such a move. He recommends timing the site move at the off-season, if the site has an off-season. Use paid search to ensure your most important keywords continue to send you traffic. Look at your statistics and see which pages are your most lucrative and make sure your navigation promotes those pages more than the others. Go slow by testing redirected a few of the pages and testing the timing. Promote the new site with press releases, submit to quality directories and other social media methods.
In addition to Aaron’s tips, I have posted several tips at the Search Engine Roundtable on the same topic:
Also, check out yesterday’s Search Illustrated: The Power Of 301 Redirects to better understand the power of 301 redirects.