Redesigning a Website - Moving to a new server. Current Google Ranking Affected?


Sep 17, 2013
Hello all..

I am a long time lurker, first post - but figured this would be a great place to get some insight on a situation that I have.

I am working with a client who currently has a template based website on one of the big sites that you pay a monthly fee to use one of their templates. The company is an established business, and currently sits atop the Google results for most of the keywords that would be associated with their business for their local metropolitan market. I am in the process of doing a ground up website build for this company, and will be hosting the new site on my servers. I am developing on a temporary domain that I have setup, so as to leave their current site up, and upon completion was planning to then update the nameservers, move the site files and then go live with their website.

Now my question is this. How will this affect their current Google rankings, and what is the best way to go about minimizing any loss in current rankings. I will perform all of the basic on site optimizations for the new site, but I am simply curious as to what I should expect after this process is complete (if anything). Thanks in advance for any insight that you guys might be able to provide!

As long as you keep the URL structure the same or redirect pages to new URLs, you shouldn't see any change in rankings. The only scenarios where rankings tend to get affected are when there are drastic changes in content or structure. Even then its hard to say why they have lost rankings. Some say its Google re-evaluating the page structure and speed, etc.

I moved a site last year to a new domain and redirected all pages to like pages. There was no drop in traffic or rankings. The basic structure of the site remained the same however much of the content changed.

Not sure if you've seen this video but its kind of helpful,


Thanks for the re:, I will check out the video, and keep the URL structures in mind. The client pays close attention to their rankings against their competition, which made me a little concerned about not losing their current positions, or in the worst case scenario setting their expectations and providing a plan to regain their current rankings after the site launched should their be any changes.
TheContentAuthority is right on the money.
The less the navigation structure and URLs change, the smaller the impact (if any).

As far as the new hosting and website goes - if the servers will be faster and the new website better optimized for loading you should see improvements in rankings.
Google is putting more and more importance on page speed ever since mobile took off.
Thats great news. While I am not sure how quick their current servers are, I am assuming that due to the fact they are using one of the "rent-a-theme" outfits, my servers should be quicker as they are private servers leased through liquid web (whom I have had zero issues with in over 3 years). Thanks for the input!
I've heard mixed reviews about Liquid web but hey - if it works, don't fix it :)

As for the website speed you could analyze it with:
- YSlow plugin for Firefox and/or
- Page Speed Insights plugin for Google Chrome

Both plugins give you a pretty good idea if your website is properly optimized for speed.

I've had a website stuck at #5 for a pretty competitive keyword and with a YSlow score of 69 (no joke:)).
I optimized the hell out of it and got a YSlow score of 91... a few days later it jumped to #3 and it's still there a year later.

Just my .2 cents.
Lots of good tips in the previous posts, just something about location of the new servers; it looks like the business targets local web users, in which case it could be beneficial to be hosted as close as possible to that specific area.

However, it's just one of hundreds of factors, if not more, so I would definitely focus on making the migration as smooth as possible with the least downtime because at Google they don't like websites that are down, that timeout or are simply slow...

Good luck!
I did the same thing and the rankings and traffic have increased because I did mainly two things....

Url redirects to the new URL...
Better design and content from the old site, meaning I made the site for the user experience and not for the search engines.

Another plus is having a better server than the old.
If you make significant content pages, I would expect to see a change. If the url structure and content stay the same, I agree with everyone else.

Be careful in your on page seo not to change the focus of the page if you rewriite the title and headings.

Also, leave the old site in place when you switch the name servers until you are satisfied with everything. If something goes wonky, you can switch back to the existing site which should recover its rankings since the content will still be there.

Having that roll back ability can save your ass if something goes south on you.
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