Google search indexes links based on validated websites. When a new site goes live, its main domain stays constant. However, the path URL varies from website provider to website provider. This update has to be reindexed through Google, which can take a while depending on how fast Google validates and reindexes.
How to Fix
If you change site providers, to fix the path URL, you must:
- Upload a verified HTML document to the source of the website
- Push for Google to reindex
- Note: Once they complete the reindex, the links should update. Again, the timeframe of reindexing depends on Google.
In the meantime, other options include:
- Setting up your old site to be a “splash” page redirecting a user to the new site (this is done through your old website provider) and/or create redirects to catch your top pages to redirect to the new site.
- Note: If you use an asterisk (*) you can do a mass cover and it is recommended to send the user to the homepage.
How to Prevent
This is hard to anticipate as there are many factors that play a role. One of the primary factors that play into how long this process takes is how the old website provider sets up the site and the type of pages and type of script the website provider uses. The older script base takes longer than the newer script base. If we are able to know what script base an old site is using - which is very rare to actually know since that information is not usually shared - we do the above steps before the site is live (minus the Google validation file as the site has to be live to complete this).