Sometimes, it can be necessary to change the URLs of your existing pages. For example, URLs might change from HTTP to HTTPS. It can also be that your domain name changes from old.com to new.com, or that your new content management system (CMS) uses a new URL structure (example.com/keyword instead of example.com/page.php?id=123).
How to migrate your website
Google has some recommendations if you want to migrate your old website to a new URL structure:
- You can move your website in sections. You do not have to move everything together.
- Redirecting your old URLs with a 301 or 302 redirect does not cause a loss in PageRank (you should use a 301 redirect if you redirect the URLs permanently).
- Prepare a URL mapping from the current URLs to their corresponding new format.
- Prepare the new site and test it thoroughly.
- HTTPS sites receive a small ranking boost, but don’t expect a visible change. Google uses HTTPS as a positive ranking signal. This signal is one among many others, and currently carries less weight than high-quality site content.
How long does it take to migrate your website?
Google’s John Mueller said that site migrations take a few days if you do everything correctly.
“In the past it was definitely the case that [a site migration] was more visible in that you would move to a new domain and it would take several months for everything to settle down.
Nowadays our systems are pretty good in that if you move to a new domain, you follow all of the steps in our Help Center then sometimes within a day or two things will just switch over and you’ll see pretty much no change with regards to search.”
John Mueller also says that you should be careful:
“Any domain migration, a bigger change of URLs within a website, are always a scary situation for me still. I would really be careful about what you do there and make sure that you really follow step by step the Help Center guides. […]
If you do everything right, a domain migration is just a matter of a day or so and everything will look really effortlessly. But there are lots of ways that you can do things wrong and there are lots of other types of migrations that you can do which do end up taking a much longer time.”
You can view John Muellers statement here.
Optimize your web pages now
Many factors have an impact on the position of your web pages on Google. Even if you do not migrate your website, you should make sure that your web pages offer everything that Google needs.