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New server, new URLs, same domain - how to keep ranking?



10:53 am on Mar 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Hi Guys,

I got a challenging Case Study for you!

Issue: How to switch to a new website in a new server (same domain name) without loosing ranking?

Site A is old and with horrendous URLs and is hosted on a slow old windows server.

Site B currently online, but should move to the older domain name which has a much higher ranking)is the brand new website that should replace the old one. We have bought a new faster Linux-server to host it.

So we have to switch server, switch website, keep domain name.

Now what would be the best practice to replace one site with the other without (or minimizing) ranking loss?

Any help is deeply apreciated.

[edited by: tedster at 2:57 pm (utc) on Mar 17, 2010]
[edit reason] removed specifics [/edit]


5:34 pm on Mar 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

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

Hello Carlo, and welcome to the forums.

What you've got going for you is that you are using established domain names, rather than something new.

I assume you know that a page by page 301 redirect for at least the critical pages on Site B to Site A is important. After that, the key question for me is whether the two websites are at least approximately about the same thing - on somewhat the same theme. If not, then the old backlinks for Site A may be negated.

And along those lines, be aware of internal backlinks to existing internal URLs on Site A, too. If the new Site A has all new URLs and those internal backlinks become 404, then you may lose a big asset.


9:00 am on Apr 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Hi Tedster,
Thanks for your reply.

Basically the situation is as follow:

is on a window server and reasonably ranked
NEW WEBSITE is on a new Linux server and with no ranking and should move from it's temporary domain to the better ranked one.

<Our business is seasonal> and the contacts from organic search accounts to a 30% of our total contants hence, right now <during our busy season> can't afford to loose them. On the other hand I have an improved version of the old website (same content roughly, better urls, etc) waiting.

a)I switch to the new site (with very similar content) but different URLs and and filenames, different server and I use 301 redirect for the old URL, as I understand accepting some ranking loss.

b)Can I keep the the OLD website up completely and add the NEW website to it from a different server. ie: domainwellranked.com will show the OLD one (keeping ranking and maybe with a box saying "here is our new website", and having the NEW one under domainwellranked.com/widgets and so forth.

Will option b work? at least until <our busy season> ends?

Many thanks in advance

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 5:33 pm (utc) on Apr 7, 2010]
[edit reason] removed specifics [/edit]


4:57 pm on Apr 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I would be concerned about duplicate content issues with your current configuration. I'm not sure I understand your option b, but it might have duplicate content issues as well.

My thought would be either:

a) Go ahead and implement the redirects, however as you pointed out that risks losing some of your ranking temporarily (you should get get at least most of the ranking back after the redirects sort out, though there is some juice lost in a 301).

b) Keep the current configuration with a link from the old site to the new one, but disallow the entire new site using robots.txt for the time being to avoid dup issues. Then implement 301 redirects after the busy season ends.

If the new site converts significantly better than the old one, you might go with a. Otherwise I'd just hold off for now and do the transition during the down season.


4:58 pm on Apr 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

OH, here's another thought: could you move the old site to the new server and host it there using the old URLs for the time being? That way you get the performance boost for the old site, keep your rankings, and you can switch later.

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