Domain Migrations: Surviving the "Perfect Storm" of Site Changes

by admin No Comments July 3, 2013

By Ruth_Burr

Casey helped me pull a list of every URL on the site from our database, and I found each URL a redirect target on I would recommend pulling your URL list from your own database or server logs if it’s at all possible; it will give you a much more complete list of URLs than simply running a crawl using a program like Xenu or Screaming Frog.

When I talk to people about the migration, they typically blanch at the big giant list of URLs. Is it really necessary to look at every URL on the site?

Well, no, not totally. In our case, there were large sections of the site (like the blog and Q&A) that were staying largely the same — we could just redirect everything at* to* without needing further detail. For sites that are simply changing from one domain to another without a major redesign/restructure (which, again, you should really do if you can), it becomes even easier: If your site’s staying exactly the same, you can just redirect everything to the same folder location on your new domain.

I’m so glad that I did go through every page on the site, though, since I was able to get rid of a lot of old orphan pages, and help make sure the new site taxonomy was more inclusive so we didn’t have new orphan pages going forward. A site migration is a great time to 301 old pages that have outlived their usefulness to newer, more useful resources.

Traffic and Ranking Loss

I can’t stress enough how important it is to manage expectations around traffic and ranking loss during a domain migration. In the Mozinar, I mentioned that some PageRank is lost through 301 redirects (thanks Ethan for sending along

Posted by Ruth_Burr

Last week, I held a Mozinar talking about the SEO steps involved in transitioning from to, and sharing some of the results we got. We got some great questions on the Mozinar, and I wanted a chance to answer some more of them as well as expand on some points that didn’t fit into the Mozinar.

Throwing Best Practices to the Wind

As we spent more than a year planning the transition from SEOmoz to Moz, one …read more


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