Google Explains SEO Site Migrations Are Difficult Because URL Signals Need To Be Transferred

John Mueller came out with another #AskGooglebot Google SEO video, this one is about site migrations and URL changes. This is a short two minute video on one of the most intimidating SEO changes one can make to their site – changing all the URLs on their site.

Here is the video:

John explained that URL changes are not easy for search engines to manage because Google stores in its index a set of URLs, i.e. one URL or one page per page. John said “at first glance it may look like a small change within a website”. He said, however, that “it’s not that easy for search engines.” Why? John explained that “search engines like Google store their index per page”. “So if you change a page’s address or URL, that page’s data has to be transmitted somehow or it will be lost,” he explained.

First, John recommends that you thoroughly study the Google Site Move Documentation, it was significantly improved in 2014 and updated over time since then. John then summarized what you need to do, but it’s important to see all of these details in the help docs:

Here is the slide with what you need to do:

And he said these changes could take Google several months to process, with more important URLs happening faster and less important URLs happening slower. Google said most of the time these moves take a few months, but again John reminded us to keep the redirects in place for at least a year.

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