Posted to Ben Finklea's blog on August 5th, 2009

SEO Ranking Fall-Off From Site Migration

In many situations, the digital world and the real world can be very similar. When you pack up your home and/or family and move to another neighborhood or city, there consists a certain amount of starting over. You re-associate with your new neighbors, neighborhood, city, new friends and co-workers. It takes some time to build back up to the livelihood and comfort that you may have just left. Migrating a website from one server to the other can take on similar aspects, and most websites will experience a fall-off in their rankings, until both the site and the search engines can get back to the same relationship.

The search engines don’t take kindly to servers that host gambling, pharmaceuticals and adult sites, so if your website lands on a new server that has some shady neighbors, Google and other engines will begin to question your site and possibly associate it with those other sites. It could also be a question of your server’s bandwidth. Search engine spiders crawl tons of content a day and if your hosting server is overloaded and maxing out its bandwidth, there is a good chance only a percentage of your site will be indexed.

Servers also vary from what features they support. Some servers may block certain files, folders, or URL rewrites, causing some content or features to become more complex to read than they should. This will only increase the opportunity for something to go wrong. It can be very difficult to pin point exactly what may cause a drop in rankings after a site migration. The situations discussed in this post are but a few starting points for finding the root of the problem. If there are any others that readers know of that I left out, please comment below with your feedback.

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