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Move a site with URL changes

3. Start the site move

Once the URL mapping is accurate and the redirects work, you're ready to move

Move your site

  1. Decide how you will move your site — all at once, or in sections:
    • Small or medium sites: We recommend moving all URLs on your site simultaneously instead of moving one section at a time. This helps users interact with the site better in its new form, and helps our algorithms detect the site move and update our index faster.
    • Large sites: You can choose to move larger sites one section at a time. This can make it easier to monitor, detect, and fix problems faster.
  2. Update your robots.txt files:
    • On the source site, remove all robots.txt directives. This allows Googlebot to discover all redirects to the new site and update our index.
    • On the destination site, make sure the robots.txt file allows all crawling. This includes crawling of images, CSS, JavaScript, and other page assets, apart from the URLs you are certain you do not want crawled.
  3. [Non-HTTP->HTTPS moves only] Submit a Change of Address in Search Console for the old site. Do not submit a change of address if you are only moving your site from HTTP to HTTPS.
  4. Configure the old website to redirect users and Googlebot to the new site based on the URL mapping.
  5. On the destination site, submit the two sitemaps you prepared previously containing the old and new URLs. This helps our crawlers discover the redirects from the old URLs to the new URLs, and facilitates the site move. 
  6. Keep the redirects for as long as possible, and consider keeping them indefinitely.

The time it takes Googlebot and our systems to discover and process all URLs in the site move depends on how fast your servers are and how many URLs are involved. As a general rule, a medium-sized website can take a few weeks for most pages to move, and larger sites take longer. The speed at which Googlebot and our systems discover and process moved URLs depends the number of URLs and the server speed.

Note that the visibility of your content in web search may fluctuate temporarily during the move. This is normal and a site’s rankings will settle down over time.

Immediately after the site move is started, try to update as many incoming links as possible. These include:

  • External links: Try to contact the sites in the saved list of sites linking to your current content, asking them to update their links to your new site.
  • Profile links such as from Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
  • Ad campaigns to point to the new landing pages.
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