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I've moved servers and lost rank

seems that Google does not update themed link power quickly



7:35 am on Feb 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Ok here is the situation:

I've moved from a dedicated US server to a new dedicated UK server.
the site was uploaded to the new IP before the name servers where switched so there was no down time.
Google has found and spidered the domain on the new server.
I placed unique text on the page so I'd know when Google was using the new server and I can find this unique text in the SERP snippet
The Google cache is still of the old server page.
Other than the one bit of new text to identify the new server everything else is identical.
Prior to the move I ranked top #5 for about 50 different target phrases.
I now rank #50-100 for these same phrases.
All the site's pages are still indexed.
PR is still showing and all pages can be found if you look for them in Google.
I've checked these results in both Google.com & Google.co.uk so I'm not looking at Geo results here.
Google still has the same back links registered against the domain.
I was ranking in the same places in ‘Big Daddy’ and have dropped there too.

I've noted that I'm now ranking among websites that simply mention my target key phrases. This leads me to believe that while all the above information was carried over with the server move Google has not yet given any credit for my themed deep links which is why I rank but low down the results.

Has this happened to anyone else?
Are there solutions or should I just wait?


5:11 pm on Feb 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

for what it is worth the allintitle: and allinanchor: results also dropped from top 2 down to 50+.
I think this also supports the theory that Google does not credit themed links and anchor text immediately after a server move.

Yahoo and MSN have both updated the results to reflect the new server and have not had this problem.


5:24 pm on Feb 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jimbeetle is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Sounds like you've done everything right on the server move. I do think you're digging a bit too deeply for the reason when this stands out:

Other than the one bit of new text to identify the new server everything else is identical.

It's sometimes surprising how simple changes to text can move a well-written page out of the sweet spot for a key phrase, but it does happen. If this is the only difference I'd change it back and wait to see what happens before investigating other, more intangible areas.


5:27 pm on Feb 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Hate to say it but we moved from a shared server to a dedicated UK server with fixed IP address recently and had no ranking changes on our highly ranked site whatsoever....

Ours was UK to UK though?


5:51 pm on Feb 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

I'm not sure it's right that Google "decides" who your target market is for you based on where you choose to host.

If i want to host in the UK and target the US, then why the hell would I want better UK serps than US ones? If I wanted that I'd buy a .co.uk domain.

I don't get that move at all.


6:06 pm on Feb 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

thanks for the reply jimbeetle.
Because I moved two sites which both had the exact same effect I'm going to remove the "uk" from one website and will see what happens

Thanks Ellio, I appreciate your honesty.
It does make sense though that Google may have to recalculate all my links as I've now effectively entered a new Google index for UK websites.
I guess I'll have an opinion on this in a few days/weeks.


8:35 pm on Feb 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

A few questions.

Did you use a 301 redirect? Did you change the WhoIs information for your domain?

If you did either, both could be the cause of what you are seeing.


9:05 pm on Feb 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I've had no ranking changes after a whois change from UK to SA.

I've also moved servers, just after jagger, no difference.

Jagger hit me before the server move and way after the whois change.

I've since done a whois change and that too made no difference. From SA to CA.

Whois and servers, if changed correctly, have very little impact. I think Google is looking for frequent moves if anything.


10:36 pm on Feb 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hi arbitrary,
no 301 redirect and the whois info stayed the same.
I do have some 301 redirects in my htaccess file but they have been there for 3 months now and where exactly the same before and after the move.

Pico_Train, is SA South Africa?
if so did you do this with a co.za domain or .com?


12:32 pm on Feb 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Google Cache updated today 8th of Feb with the UK server pages.
The rankings did not improve :(


5:08 pm on Feb 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


SA is indeed South Africa

It was a dot com. Not really interested in country level domains to tell you the truth.


7:31 pm on Feb 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

so Pico_Train, your whois was changine from SA to US but did your server change involve a US to SA IP change too?


7:36 pm on Feb 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I have heard other fellow SEO's talk about changes in ranking going from U.S. based to U.K. or Canadian based servers. However, if this geo targeting of servers exists, I would have not thought to the level that you have seen.

Keep in mind that all pages in a site reinforce each other. google looks at site size, linking pages as well. It could be that many pages of your website (inner pages) that are still important are not indexed.

Can you see new cache dates for the pages that are within two clicks in?


8:59 pm on Feb 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


Servers were always US based. Not a chance would I host it here.

To give another example on this. I know of a .com, whois in SA and hosted in SA.

Google.com search results - decent
Google.co.uk search results - decent
Google.co.za search results - excellent, no1 for several keywords.

Now if that isn't a good example of server location and whois being applied, then what is?

I'm not trying to contradict what I said earlier, I think Whois info has a minor effect. It's the server location that seems to seriously count in terms of local Googles.

Later, time for bed!


11:21 pm on Feb 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hi CainIV,
I'm almost certain that server IP geo targeting happens on Google and it does in Yahoo and MSN too.

Thanks for the tip about internal pages - that has a lot of logic to it.
Unfortunately for him the bulk of my first click pages have been indexed and about 40% of the rest have been indexed on the new IP too.


11:58 pm on Feb 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member caveman is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

GetBot I may have missed this, but I assume all the G ranking data you're referring to is from G.com. Is that right?

What about G.co.uk?


1:37 am on Feb 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hi caveman,
I had ranked #1 in Google.com and about #3-5 in Google.co.uk.
I idea behind the move was to reverse this and rank higher in Google.co.uk and maybe drop a few spots on Google.com.

sadly I dropped in both Google domains although i dropped way more in .com than I did in .co.uk.

just for interest I threw up a new page on another domain with the same PR and similar domain age and within 24 hours it was ranking one place behind my main domain.


3:00 am on Feb 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member caveman is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Hmmm, I really can't prove this and have no direct experience...more just an interest...but given that G's algo seems to touchy on a short term basis to site changes that may be fundamental, like ownership changes or 'intent of site' changes, etc, perhaps it's a short term algo reaction to the country change. A country change might be kind of a biggie from their POV I'd guess. But I'm really just guessing, and piecing together some stray bits of info.

Curious what others may have experienced. I know this issue comes up from time to time.


4:50 pm on Feb 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Check the new IP that you are using now. Sometimes if that particular IP was on a blacklist because of the previous owner's misdeeds then you will see ranking drops like you are describing.


5:05 pm on Feb 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hi Kufu,
How do you check if an IP is on a search engine black list?

For what it is worth their are no references to the IP in Google and the sites is actually indexed so I assume that "black listed" IP would not be indexed at all.


5:48 pm on Feb 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


You can check it here:


It's the first box in the middle column.

Hope this helps.

[edited by: lawman at 11:18 am (utc) on Feb. 11, 2006]
[edit reason] Sorry No Links To Tools Allowed [/edit]


8:52 am on Feb 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hi Kufu,
I was about to write that I didn't see how an email IP list would have anything to do with SEO, but then I really don't know and I'm willing to try anything.

Interestingly I received this reply from dnsstuff:

PTR [n/a: misc]MISSING! has no reverse DNS entry; some mail servers may not accept your mail

PTR tests to see if you have a reverse DNS entry -- you SHOULD have one.

now this may have nothing to do with SEO or maybe it does either way it sounds like something I should fix and you never know - we may have found a new ranking variable :)


1:54 pm on Feb 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hiya ...

Moving servers. ( A deathly cold shiver runs up Stinkies spine)

I too moved servers from the USA to the UK about 9 months ago. Serps were great for a short period and then BOOM! All sites on the new, much faster for the majority of my customers, higher relative spec as it was dedicated to my sites only, UK server were blown away. (to many commas i know but you get the idea)

This was 11 high ranking sites.

Personally I have changed server for 1 site since this, to test whether it is the configuration that has caused the problem. After about 1 month no change to serps or spidering which dropped to an all time low, with the site that I am using as a test. Thus server config isnt the problem I believe.

The thing I noted from here when moving server is to make sure once a bot hits are confirmed in the logs on the new, remove the old server information asap. You may experience downtime as the nameservers migrate you URl's IP, but this usually wont be long enough to cause serious penalty. If you leave the old information up to long it can trigger dup content issues as there IS 2 copies of the site.

Don't worry about caching. 2 year old caches have been being reported on google for some time now. They are lazy at updating it for some sites.


7:03 am on Feb 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

about 8 months back I moved a website from a Linux server to a Windows server. In 3 months I lost all my traffic and the site still has not recovered. This site is 1.5 years old and has nearly 300 pages. Even my 3 month old sites get far more traffic, cant figure out the problem. Any suggestions?


10:07 am on Feb 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

After much investigation and a few tips here I've found 3 items that could be causing my site problems:

1) My IP has no reverse DNS entry (thanks Kufu) so I'm working with the managed host to solve this

2) For some reason I am unable to send mail from domains still hosted on the old US server to the new UK hosted domain. This suggests that in some way the old server still thinks it controls the transfered domain. Now I don't fully understand this but I feel there may still be some reference to the domain that I need to remove. I removed the domain using cpanel/WHM so any advice would be great here

3) Although I removed all the files from the old US server I did not delete the .htacces file because it was one of those hidden files. This file had some 301 redirects in it, like redirecting non www to www etc. When I went to the old IP it redirected to the new hosted domain becuase of this file. I can't think how Google would have treated this but I feel it is another potential problem causer.

I've fixed point 3 and I'm working on 1 & 2.


5:12 pm on Feb 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


Just followed this thread with some interest as I am in the process of moving from hosted space to a dedicated managed server and I hope not to encounter similar difficulties. I have a few questions if anyone could help with answering them, I'd be grateful.

Firstly having read the content here some background, I am moving UK to UK, the site is top 10 for single keyword and multiple keywords which I obviously don't want to ruin. I am also moving within the same ISP account ie, from their hosted server space to a managed server with them, therefore my provider remains the same. Hopefully I should have no problems?

I have a question regarding other sites I will host on the same server relating to linking. Some of these sites link to each other out of relevance or as a single general link in the links page. The ones that do I can allocate specific IP addresses to, although they will be on the same server will google penalise me for these links?ie will it know they are on the same server even with seperate IP addresses? Currently the websites are on seperate servers although at the same ISP. Whats the best advice and/or is there a post with tips on moving hosts I can refer to?

Thanks in advance.


6:03 pm on Feb 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hi blaggard,
Given my problems I'm probably not the one to be advising anyone but.....

Sounds like you have two questions.
Most of the items I've assumed are causing my problems should not effect you if you are using your webhost's nameservers and staying in the same regional SERPs. You should just be able to follow the normal server migration practice outlined by Matt Cutts on his blog. Just make sure when the website has switched servers you don't leave a htaccess files on you old server's IP as I think this may have been my downfall.

Your other question is about increasing your rank through various IPs/ISPs.
This is a whole new world to get into but basically interlinking your websites will not 'hurt' you if they are on the same server, but they will not give you the link 'vote' normally associated with an independent link vote. After this you get into questions about C class IPs, different whois info and ISPs. You'll want to ask this question in a different thread and also read through this form as it is a large area of discussion and you'll get many different theories.


10:11 pm on Feb 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks GerBot and good luck with restoring your ranking.


5:30 pm on Feb 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Good news for me.
rankings are up from a lows of 100+ to around 30th generally speaking, but only on the big daddy IPs.

I'm hoping this continues, I'm not sure which of the 3 changes has caused this yet but I'm thinking it was the .htaccess file on the old IP 301ing to the new domain name.


6:37 pm on Feb 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

looks like most of the big Daddy rankings are now live on Google!
It is great to be back even if it is much low than before.
Now I just have to see if Google has a little more weight it is yet to credit my sites with. I'd love to see my sites move back to their previous positions.
I'm not even worried about increasing my geo-targeted rank with this new IP anymore - at least Yahoo & MSN have realised the change.

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