Don’t Combine Site Moves With Other Big Changes says Google

Moving a website to a new top-level domain can be a complex and risky process. In a recent episode of the Search Off The Record podcast, Google’s Search Relations team discussed the potential issues that can arise from site moves and how to avoid them.

According to Google Search Advocate John Mueller, combining a domain change with other website modifications can result in lower rankings and lost traffic. Therefore, it is advisable to separate site moves from other modifications as much as possible.

Breaking site moves into smaller pieces can be safer, especially for complex changes.

For instance, if a website is moving from “” and “” to “,” it is recommended to move “” first and wait before moving “”

Gary Illyes, a Google Analyst, advises website managers to take their time when making changes to their site, spreading out site moves over months instead of making too many changes at once.

This will help avoid lower rankings and lost traffic. He also cautions that misconfigurations, such as incorrect redirects, are common mistakes that can cause traffic loss during a domain change.

However, if everything is done correctly, traffic shouldn’t be lost during a domain change. If a business’s website is experiencing traffic loss, waiting for an extended period, such as a year, may not be an option. Instead, website managers should debug the changes and identify any errors.

It’s worth noting that if you do lose rankings and traffic during a site move, there’s no specific timeframe for a full recovery.

While Google is getting better at handling site moves, mistakes can still happen. Therefore, website managers should be cautious and take appropriate measures to minimize the risks.


Site moves can be a complicated process, and website managers need to take the necessary precautions to avoid traffic loss and lower rankings.

Separating site moves from other modifications and breaking them into smaller pieces can help minimize risks.

Website managers should also be aware of common mistakes, such as misconfigurations, that can cause traffic loss during a domain change.

By taking these precautions, website managers can ensure a smooth and successful site move.

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