SEO “Decay” – Avoiding the Pitfalls of Transitional SEO


Written by Nick Yorchak. Posted in Blog

One of the saddest things I have ever seen in SEO is a failed website transition. I could share many stories but I won’t here. You’ll have to find me next time I’m at the brewery and I’ll regale you with plenty of apocryphal stories and fairy tales from the world of Transitional SEO – but right now we’re focusing on the facts.

You can’t afford to ignore the impact of Transitional SEO on your website. If left unaddressed, the implications can be disastrous, not only to your company’s search engine rankings but its entire online presence.

Big Footprint specializes in managing this process, and it’s taken a few years because integrating SEO into the web development process is the most often overlooked – and critical – element when a new website is launched and an old website is replaced.

Remember: search engines don’t rank websites, they rank pages. So from an SEO perspective, the goal of any digital transition should be to ensure that search engines realize new pages deserve the same “quality signals” as the pages on the legacy site(s).

And because Google so heavily values user experience, this transition must appear invisible and seamless to the user.

With that in mind, companies must identify areas where existing search rankings can be leveraged to boost overall search traffic (news, public relations, etc.) through search engine friendly redirects and content strategy.

Big Footprint specializes in managing this Transitional SEO process for clients and agency partners. We’ll either take care of everything, or if you’d prefer we’ll consult with your web developers to ensure SEO is integrated into their efforts.


You need Transitional SEO if you are:

1. Any company or agency launching a website which will replace an existing web presence


2. Any company or agency working through a merger or acquisition, rebranding initiative, and product launch that will lead to changes and updates in online presence.


Search engines judge (and rank) websites with complex algorithms that assign value to the quantity and quality of incoming links, as well as the depth of unique content indexed on the website.

When a digital transition occurs, numerous issues can arise which affect the website’s relationship with search engines, especially those issues affecting indexed content and associated link equity. It is essential that companies not overlook the importance of implementing SEO best-practices and procedures during this period of change, or the years of work it took to build trust and authority with search engines can be lost overnight. Learn more in Big Footprint’s Transitional SEO white paper here: SEO+Site_Transition-Whitepaper_Big-Footprint

In the dynamic world of SEO, a famous quote aptly describes the game-changing consequences an unorganized website transition can bring into play with search engines.

“It takes years to build up trust, and only seconds to destroy it.”


Big Footprint examines the following, in addition to our proprietary 148 point Transitional SEO checklist. When moving and transitioning a website, the following errors will not only confuse search engines, but harm the user experience, negatively impacting your site’s performance in Google search results:

Domain Name Changes
Addition/Deletion of Subdomains
URL Structure Changes
404 (Not Found) Errors
Duplicate Content
Canonical Tags
Search Engine Friendly Redirects
Platform/Content Management System Modifications
Web Analytics & Conversion Tracking Tools
Webmaster Tools
Broken Links
Lost Link Equity
HTML + XML Sitemaps
Web Feeds/Content Syndication
Going through a website transition?

Contact Big Footprint to ensure your website transition doesn’t fall victim to SEO Decay.