Martin Splitt from Google and Glenn Gabe from G-Squared Interactive discuss the most common questions SEOs ask about website migrations.
Here is a brief summary of the individual talking points and the corresponding timestamp in the video.
Redirecting Images During a Website Redesign or Migration (0:00)
It is important to set up 301 redirects for images during a site migration. This is often overlooked by site owners.
Will there always be a drop in traffic if you change your domain name or do a site migration? (1:53)
A change of location does not always lead to a loss of traffic.
"If you are literally just switching from one domain to another and copying all of the URL structure and content, you won't necessarily see a drop in traffic."
Buying a New Domain Name with History and Traffic Anomalies (2:40)
There are certain situations where domain history can be a factor, especially if it was previously used for spam purposes.
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Traffic anomalies can occur during a relocation if the new location is not an exact 1: 1 copy of the old location.
According to Splitt, making changes as part of a website move is risky as Google has to re-crawl and process everything.
Site Merger vs Site Move (6:24)
A site move refers to moving from one domain to another. The end result should be an exact copy of the old site.
A site merger refers to combining two sites, which is by no means the same as a site move. The end result is treated as a whole new site.
What happens on the Google page when a domain name change is triggered? (8:12)
When a website moves from one domain to another and all the redirects are in place, the first thing Google will do is check to see if there are any similarities between the old and new websites.
Again, in Google's eyes, a real website move means that an exact copy of an old website is created in a new domain.
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When Google detects that a real website has been moved, it will redirect all signals from the old domain to the new one.
The speed at which this process completes varies from location to location.
Why should I use the change address tool? (10:16)
The address change tool allows website owners to send additional signals to Google that a website move has taken place.
This is a more explicit signal telling Google that a website has been moved permanently, and it's not just a temporary change.
If a website is moved, is there a Google content quality re-evaluation? (11:15)
Google constantly checks the quality of content, regardless of whether a website has been moved.
Even if your content is now rated as high quality, that doesn't mean it will always be.
The opposite is also true. Low quality or spam content could theoretically be considered high quality if improvements are made.
As already mentioned, the signals follow if high-quality content is copied from one domain to another during a site move.
Should you go back if a site migration results in a significant decrease in traffic? (14:54)
First, make sure that there are no technical issues in the way before you hit the "Backward" button on a site move.
Technical problems could be that Google does not recognize the redirects or the old website is not crawled often enough for Google to recognize the redirects.
If you've done everything right and after a month your traffic hasn't improved, seek outside help.
A site move should only be reset when you run out of options.
Should you unblock URLs that robots.txt would normally block during a site migration? (17:31)
No, blocked URLs should not be unblocked during a site move.
Most common problems after moving a site and doing it step by step (18:16)
As mentioned earlier, the most common problem that website owners encounter is making too many changes during a site move.
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A site move should not be used as an opportunity to make changes to the site in any way. At least not until Google has crawled and reprocessed the new website.
The full video on Google SEO Mythbusting can be found below: