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Migration Strategy When Moving URLs

When moving URLs, you need a migration strategy in place in order not to lose all your rankings and traffic.

The search engines should know that this a permanent move and pass across any value and quality signals they can.

Typical Reasons For Changing:

  • Changes to hardware or software infrastructure
  • Improvement in web usability
  • Improvement in search engine rankings – more memorable URLs/ less duplicate URLs

A Good Migration Strategy Will:

  1. Preserve your search engine rankings
  2. Preserve traffic from search engines, bookmarks, and referrers
  3. support the creation, optimization of new URLs and site architecture


  • Get a full list of valid URLs from your current site.
  • Get a full list of backlinks so you can ask the most valuable links to link to your new URL
  • By Using data from analytics, rank and backlink reports formulate priorities and KPI’s of the migration.
  • Based on these findings, start the planning process.
  • Map out where 301 redirects will go (if just changing the TLD of your site i.e., .net to – then not much of a problem). Keep familiarity by ensuring important URLs have the same or similar parents (URLs that link to them), children (URLs they link to), and siblings (URLs that their parents link to, and URLs that link to their children.

For Example:

/[PRODUCTID]/[COLOUR]/?id=[X] should redirect to /[COLOUR]-[ID]-[PRODUCT]/

  • Implement the migration strategy

Static or Dynamic URL Mapping?

  • Static – this can be done manually or by using some scripting and database. Each URL is mapped to its new counterpart by patterns invisible to the application that runs the new website.
  • Dynamic – patterns in URL sets are detected and then used to map the old to the new. These patterns are programmed into a filter within the website application instead of the mind of a human being. This means the website can map all URLs that match the programmed patterns.

Choosing the dynamic approach when programming resources are scarce can cause the shutting down of the idea and leave you with orphaned URLs. Selecting the manual static method in the face of a large set of URLs can increase the error margin be costly in time to return and fix errors.

  • Test results based on original benchmarks. Check Search Console tools if find out if there any problems with Googlebot’s crawl of your site
  • Remember to update the link in your emails, social media profiles, and links in your media center. Make sure your old content hasn’t been orphaned but conducting indexation checks
  • Webmaster Tools, ensure you have filled out the change of address and submitted relevant sitemaps

So, If you want not to lose all your rankings and traffic, you should follow these migration strategy when moving URLs.


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