I need help switching from an old-site to a new-one!
 by Kristi Hagen

I need help switching from an old-site to a new-one!

  • I'm doing a site for a doctor client whose current site is very old and not ranking well. The current site URL has keywords for the conditions they treat – keywordkeyword.com — and they purchased a new URL with the doctor's name in it – namekeyword.com

    Because the doctor's name is becoming well known, they want to rebrand with the new URL but they also want to keep the old URL. Since the new site structure is simpler and with fewer pages, it does not include all the same pages as the old one.

    So I have three questions...

    1. Which URL should I point to as the main site and which one should I redirect?
    2. If I use the new URL for the main site and 301 redirect the old-site pages to the new-site locations, what should I do with old-site pages that don't match any pages on the new-site?
    3. How should I move blog posts over, are they also 301’s if the new URL is used?

Answer:

For starters, you need to be aware that these changes will likely cause a disruption in rankings, at least in the short term but possibly for as long as a year.

That said, it sounds like the Doctor wants the new domain to be his primary domain for the long term. Assuming this is the case, you should redirect the old-site to the new one. And, you should also get all of the links to the old-site updated to the new one wherever possible.

As you said, you'll need to redirect old-site pages to the appropriate new-site URLs. If there is no appropriate page, you should just let that URL go a 404.

In most cases, that will work fine. But let's say one of those pages was very popular, had lots of links pointed to it, good traffic etc. In that case you really should try to rescue that traffic. We recommend adding a new page on the new-site that would be an appropriate landing page for that redirected traffic. After all, there's never a good reason to discard quality traffic and links.

Blog posts are the same as pages so you'll need to 301 redirect those over to the n...

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