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We just moved a client's website (i.e. example.com) to our servers from a competitor's.

During the design and review phase, we registered a new domain .net version (i.e. example.net) so we could have the client review and test - and as not to interfere with the old site until the new one was approved. After we received approval, we initiated the .com name, so the old site went down, and our new site went live as example.com.

But in doing this, the client has informed me that the domain name went from page one of a Google search result to page three when you simply type in its name? How is this possible in just a matter of 2 or 3 days. The optimization SEO is similar. Any insight would be helpful.

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    Did you change anything else besides the server? Where is the client located? Where is the old server located? Where is the new server located? – John Conde Feb 13 '15 at 14:49
  • How was the DNS handled? What was the time to live (TTL) an the DNS records? Was there a period of overlap when the site was up hosted in both locations? – Stephen Ostermiller Feb 13 '15 at 14:49
  • It was moved from clients go daddy account to web developers GoDaddy account. There was a period of about one week when the old site was still live. As ion as the new site was approved, we made the ".com" the new "main domain" (in cPanel). DNS - We added the new IP to the A RECORD of the .com name, then it took several hours to connect and work. – NetTemple Feb 13 '15 at 15:01
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    Did you change any of the code? – John Conde Feb 13 '15 at 15:34
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Some points to consider:

  • Going to /index.html on your domain generates a 404 Error. It may be that this page was what existed previously (and the wayback machine seems to think so).

  • The top level of your domain uses Javascript to redirect to your index_pc.php or index_mobile.php page. Google won't follow this. Use <meta refresh> (which Google will follow, but doesn't suggest) or more preferably, a 301 redirect or just setting that page as your default in Apache. Or (even better) utilise Viewports to provide a site that works for both mobile and PC on the same page.

  • You are making very little use of meta tags (description, keywords, etc.) on the site. These are of questionable importance, and Google doesn't actually use the keywords tag but after all, them being there can't hurt, can it?)

  • No or very few back-links exist to your site. Again, not the most important factor but it does impact things.

  • You're not using Google Analytics (so can't see if what your customer says actually makes sense)

If the content is actually the same (though we can see it is not), then there should be no reason for anything to have changed. However, you say similar -- which suggests that things have changed. This, not your change of hosting account/DNS/server will almost certainly be the cause of your lower performance in search rankings.

  • I would like to echo making sure the site works for Google by doing a Fetch as Google in Google Webmaster Tools and that your on-page SEO is as good as it can be. I always advise using a descriptions meta-tag with as many keywords as you can that people actually use for search. This works!! As well, if you move the ball, especially several times, Google has to take some time to recalculate the metrics and may drop a sites SERP performance for a while. If things are working right, then it should not take too long to get back to normal though it can take a while. – closetnoc Feb 13 '15 at 17:30

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