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Safe Site Transfer


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#1 Bonesawisready

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 08:12 AM

Our company is very interested in transferring our high-ranking websites from Godaddy to an alternative hosting service (ie, Amazon Cloud) without affecting their Google search result positions.
 
However, our organization has already tried several transfers of this nature, with mixed results. Though we're following all the necessary common sense procedures for a "safe" transfer (no downtime, same domain, same content, same page URLs, etc.), sometimes our sites will suffer greatly diminished Google rankings for seemingly inadvertent reasons.
 
1.) SUCCESSFUL: Transfer a site from a Godaddy "shared hosting" plan to a Godaddy "managed server"
 
By this, I mean that we managed to successfully transfer a website (ranking on the 1st page for the keyword "games") from a Godaddy shared hosting plan to a managed server without any Google penalty. We changed the DNS, kept the registrar the same (Godaddy), and also (obviously) changed the file host / IP address.
 
2.) SUCCESSFUL: Transfer of several sites from one Godaddy "shared hosting plan" to another Godaddy "shared hosting plan" (we have several of them) under the SAME Godaddy account. The sites incurred no loss of Google search position.
 
3.) FAILURE: Transferring several sites from a Godaddy "shared hosting plan" on account A to an IDENTICAL Godaddy "shared hosting plan" on account B
 
Once (for organizational purposes), we transferred a group of our domains from one Godaddy account to another (seemingly identical) Godaddy account / hosting plan, and the results were catastrophic! All these sites (1st page results on Google for keywords like "guitar tuner" and "bass tuner") were completely removed from any Google search results for prominent keywords. After some time, they began to reappear for these keywords, but never fully recovered to their once prominent positions.
 
What is particularly puzzling is when you contrast this experience with #2. As far as we can tell, the only difference between these two transfers is one involved a different Godaddy account, and the other was under the same account.
 
 
4.) FAILURE: Transferring a site from a Godaddy "shared hosting plan" to the AWS cloud service
 
We recently tried transferring one of our high-ranking sites (one again, a first page result) to the AWS cloud, and the site suffered a moderate drop in Google search position. We gave it a few months, and after it didn't recover, we switched it back to Godaddy. Since then, it has yet to fully recover.
 
...
 
We're all professionals here, but as far as we can tell, no online resources have been able to explain this...so I would GREATLY appreciate any helpful information that some generous soul on the internet could provide!
 


#2 chrishirst

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 10:21 AM

It's really quite simple.


If you change URLs it is going to affect results.

If you do not change URLs it is not going to affect results.


If you change URLs but can use permanent redirects (HTTP response 301) from old to new it will STILL affect the results but they should recover in time.

#3 Bonesawisready

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 11:01 AM

 

 

However, our organization has already tried several transfers of this nature, with mixed results. Though we're following all the necessary common sense procedures for a "safe" transfer (no downtime, same domain, same content, same page URLs, etc.), sometimes our sites will suffer greatly diminished Google rankings for seemingly inadvertent reasons.

 

...we didn't change the URLS...that's the point...



#4 Michael Martinez

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 12:58 PM

I move Websites all the time and i don't see any significant impact on search referral traffic.  In a few cases I have moved sites to servers I did not know were overloaded and the hosting providers cap bandwidth for the servers; that results in downtime which reduces the frequency search engines can crawl the sites.  If you're publishing a lot of content on a site this is a bad situation and you need to get the site off that server ASAP.

 

I try to avoid those kinds of situations as much as possible but have even run into issues with cloud hosting.






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