I have a high ranking site that generates good traffic numbers. While I have had no problems with the hosting company, I feel they are too expensive for the services being offerred. The competition has overtaken them.
It is now possible to get equally good services elsewhere for a substantial cost savings so I feel obliged to check this out.
As I understand it, if a site is relocated to a new host it gets a new IP address. Does that have any effect on existing search engine rankings?
Is it a case of having to resubmit and start the rankings climb again or do the search engines only concern themselves with a URL address and don't care that the IP address may change?
Any other considerations that should be taken into account?
The DNS sould resolve the ip address to the URL and you should suffer no loss in rankings. I've moved some around and have never had a problem. I'm sure there are many members here who also have changed servers and ip addresses with no problems.
Make sure you have the site completely uploaded to the new server before you change however as you'd hate to have googlebot coming by and getting a 404.
I've changed a couple of times, and put a "dummy" page up at the new site and had people in different locations check to see if they saw the dummy page so I would know where it was showing at the new host.
Once everyone from northern Canada to Florida to Michigan to Oregon saw the new page, but I couldn't, in California, for several days - the server was in Maryland. I just let it sit on both servers for about a week, to make sure it's changed all along the way.
Last time I moved a site there *were* no rankings, so it was irrelevant. That was before I started lurking and reading at these forums instead of sleeping. ;)
You should run into any problem austtr. I've moved more sites than I care to remember over the last year and problems with it started to disappear late last fall. Earlier in the year, Alta was only reading IP addresses - they've changed that and so has everyone else.
You shouldn't see a thing different with rankings after a move now. Although, I do think it triggers Google bot into a full recrawl of the site at the new ip.
The biggest problem with switching IP's is that it can take up to a week for all the different servers to update their DNS information with Internic. That's why if you switch IP's on saturday, it can be the following Saturday before everyone can see. My last IP change they kept my site up the entire time, but before that they killed the site and let the 404 errors run rampant. So make sure you can keep up your old page for at least a week after you've switched. You may see your new page, but not everyone else can.
The good news is the big services like AOL update at a predictable time. Every Sunday morning they do a DNS update, and generally perform more throughout the week. Most servers will try to do an update Saturday or Sunday morning when traffic is low, so try to have everything set to transfer your domain late Friday evening after your normal traffic flow slows down. (I get 85% of my traffic from Monday morning to Friday night, so I switched at 1AM Saturday morning and had no problems)