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Changing Host and SERPs

Does changing a website's host mess with search engine results?

     
10:53 pm on Mar 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Hi All ~ My website is very well positioned for several key keyword phrases in google. How might changing my host affect search engine results in the short and long term?
5:30 pm on Mar 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

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As long as everything else stays the same (URLs especially), changing your web host shouldn't affect your SERPS at all.
8:28 pm on Mar 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I'm glad this topic came up because I wanted to discuss one aspect of it. While its true that in the overall scheme of things, changing a host doesn't matter, but we all know that search engines are sensitive to the geopraphic location of a host when it comes to regional and country-specific searches.

A client of mine has a local business that focuses on a region of California, and has had a web site for quite some time. For a variety of reasons, including the fact that the hosting service was incredibly bad, I suggested he move from this UK-based host to a California-based host. I really haven't done any SEO on his site beyond using proper HTML during the redesign process so I'd have a useful baseline to guage the results of my impending efforts, but I was hoping for at least a glimmer of an uptick in his rankings once the host change was absorbed by Google. That was over a month ago and nothing's happened yet. Anybody got any experience on how long it takes for any such benefits to become apparent?

12:09 am on Mar 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Changing hosts doesn't improve overall ranking.

In this case, if the domain was an U.K TLD, moving it to an U.S host{ providing they are using an U.S IP range} may improve results in the U.S Google index slightly but thats it.

I.P locality is far from the 'be all and end all' of SEO, it's simply a best practice that can yield powerful results if used with a combination of other tactics.

12:42 am on Mar 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Even changing urls, you won't have any problems as long as you use 301's properly.

We've converted two PR6 sites in the last six months from linux to windows (actually went with a url structure that doesn't reveal tech used).

No problems whatsoever. We're getting ready to convert another PR6 in less than a month and will be doing the same.

Addited: I'm now a junior member -- whoo hoo!

[edited by: lovethecoast at 1:20 am (utc) on Mar. 23, 2005]

12:45 am on Mar 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

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We just moved a large site with no problems (within the US). We kept the URLs but some sections where down for 12 hours or more. It's as if google never noticed.
10:29 am on Mar 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Even changing urls, you won't have any problems as long as you use 301's properly.

Even with 301s, most people in a competetive sector will experience a drop in the SERPS for a period of about a month.

2:26 am on Apr 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

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We changed domain names but kept all pages and directory structures intact and stayed with the same host. We used a 301 in the .htaccess file. Google dropped the old domain from the SERPs within 48 hours but new domain didn't replace it in the SERPs. With old domain we were on the first page of results for over 100 terms, with new domain name, we're around the 150th result for the same terms. PR ranking (6) transfered however, and is reflected by about 60% of the Google datacenters I'm aware of, Not sure what's up with the other servers. That number had been 75% a month ago, so servers with the old PR ranking are dropping it. It's been over 2 months. I wouldn't say Google is handling 301s well and your site may drop from the SERPs.
3:27 am on Apr 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I suspect your SERPs have changed because of the Google update, not because of the 301s.
3:32 am on Apr 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Odd co-incidence since we were dropped within 48 hours of the 301. I wasn't aware that there was an update on Jan. 21st (date we were axed).
8:02 am on Apr 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Odd co-incidence since we were dropped within 48 hours of the 301. I wasn't aware that there was an update on Jan. 21st (date we were axed).

I repeat...

Even with 301s, most people in a competetive sector will experience a drop in the SERPS for a period of about a month.
12:31 am on Apr 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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A month, yes. But is over 2 months now the rule of thumb? It's been over 2 months for us. . .
2:48 am on Apr 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Please read this through two or three times before you respond.

2 months ago, you used 301 redirects, yes? For arguments sake we'll say you did it on 5th of February.

Now the 301's can cause a drop in rankings for approximately a month. That means under normal circumstances your site would have returned to its usual ranking on the 5th March.

However there was an update in the middle of February. I'm suggesting that this update could have affected your site's rankings.

So, even if your site hadn't used 301's your site would have dropped in the middle of February anyway.

Google will have picked up your 301's accordingly by 5th March. However your ranking is still lower than it was before because of the update.

comprendé?

4:29 am on Apr 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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As I said, it was Jan 21, if you read the thread, not Feb. 5. At any rate, guess we'll never know for sure what caused the disappearing act. Help@google attributes it to the 301 and said that's par for the course (yikes!)and the site *might* be restored in a few more weeks. Unfortunately they didn't elaborate further. . . and said they won't provide more info.

Please let's keep it friendly-- I'm just trying to help and learn. If 301's are risky in the current Google climate, others who depend on their online business for income might want to know. . . there is a chance this isn't related to changing algo's, esp. given Google help's response. A friend of mine who runs a what was a PR7 site did a 301 last June and was dropped for 7 months (their 301 and resulting disappearence from SERPs was clearly long before Alegra and more recent updates). Silly me, I thought he just had bad luck and it wouldn't happen to me.

On another topic, what do you think the chances of being restored to the SERPs by reverting back to the old domain name would be? It currently still fully indexed but moved to the supplemental index.

[edited by: lisag at 4:49 am (utc) on April 5, 2005]

4:36 am on Apr 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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it was Jan 21, if you read the thread, not Feb. 5

Do you know what "For argument's sake" means?

Do you want to know the funny thing? When I was writing that, I had a feeling you were going to point out that wasn't the correct date.

I was half tempted to be patronising and explain it, but then I thought I'd give you the benefit of the doubt, after all, nobody can be that stupid.