Moving to a new web host, changing URLs, replacing a current web design, switching content management systems, and/or a company merger is seamless on the surface.  Visitors won’t notice much difference.  Underneath the surface, businesses struggle to maintain visibility in search engines.  This large overhaul will have an effect.  The question is ‘how much?’

The answer: It depends.

Certain reasons won’t change anything.

  • Theoretically, changing a domain name/URL to something different is the most seamless.  What companies need to install is a 301 redirect to connect users from the old domain to the new one smoothly.  Also, change the back links from top directory, blogs, and third-party websites to the new address.
  • Likewise, another change, moving to a new web host, won’t affect search engines either…as long as the site is small.  Sites under 1,000 pages are ‘small’ and will redirect to the new site uninterrupted.  Anything over that requires an effort for a smooth transition.  Similar to the URL change, make sure the back links from third-party websites are up to date.  For both reasons, never close down the old web page until Google, Yahoo, and Bing spiders find your new site and index the change on their result page.
  • Finally, company mergers are never easy.  The key to a successful merger is to inform customers and search engine spiders about the new location.  Make changes to third-party directory, blog, and industry-related back links.

Other reasons will have an effect.

Shockingly, web design does affect search engines.  Web design companies and clients are too busy focusing on website development, efficiency, and functionality.  The problem with that is URL syntax (i.e., .htm, .html, .aspx, .php) will differ from the previous one.  This confuses search engines.  As long as the URL syntax stays the same, the transition will go smoothly.  Just add 301 redirects and switch back links from top websites to reflect the change.  Add 404 pages to sites that cannot switch to the new system.  The content management system provides a similar effect because a different company is handling contact information.

Search engines aren’t mind readers.  Spiders index pages based on its current location.  Make the changes based on the reasons in this article, and search engine spiders will understand and respond accordingly.  We are happy to assist with any questions, concerns, or web projects of interest.