Have you ever wondered what impact there would be to your search engine rankings if you decided to migrate from WordPress.com to a self-hosted blog? I was, so I decided to do a little before and after analysis to see what impact (if any) there would be to my rankings for certain keywords that I was ranking for. Here’s my analysis on the SEO impacts migrating from WordPress.com.
This blog I was migrating was a personal blog hosted on WordPress.com. It just so happened that I was ranking very well for a number of keywords that I was blogging about. The funny thing is, I really wasn’t trying to rank for these keywords. I ended up writing a few posts that I happened to be very passionate about, and gave no thought to any on-site optimization techniques when I was writing these posts. It just goes to show you that quality content is truly king.
I leveraged the WordPress.com Site Redirect Upgrade to aid in the migration. If you’re not familiar with this option, this is a paid upgrade that will implement a 301 redirect on your WordPress.com site. If you’re interested, I covered this in more detail in my post on migrating from WordPress.com.
SEO Impacts Migrating From WordPress.com
Before & After Analysis
I created a simple table that compares my ranking for a number of keywords. I did some quick analysis the morning before I did the upgrade to identify the current rank for these keywords. After 13 days, to ensure Google had indexed all of the pages on my new site, I checked these rankings again. The results can be seen in the following table:
The results are pretty much what I expected, no real change to the ranking factors for these keywords. In fact, 60% of the keywords I was monitoring had no change in their rank, 20% of the keywords had a better rank, and the other 20% saw a decline in their rankings. There was one keyword that saw a huge jump in it’s ranking, all they way to position 11 from position 39 in the SERP’s. something I really can’t explain.
The unknown for me was what impact a new WordPress theme would have on my rankings. Since you are somewhat limited on the themes you can use on a WordPress.com blog, limited is relative since there are 100’s of free themes to choose from, I thought perhaps I would see a slight bump by using a highly tuned SEO theme. Granted the theme I was using was a free theme, but it is tuned for SEO and has been documented as such by the developer. In any case, the theme change may have had something to do with the 4 keywords that saw a slight rise & decline in the rankings..
So are there SEO impacts migrating from WordPress.com? The short answer is no. If you are hesitant about migrating from a WordPress.com blog in fear of losing your current rankings, don’t be. My migration had no significant impact to my rankings in the SERP’s.
I’ll be doing another test in the coming weeks to see if there is any change related to implementing a new Permalink structure, which will require adding another level of redirects. After that, we’ll take a look at the impacts of upgrading to a premium WordPress theme.
If anyone has had different results related to their migration to a self-hosted blog, please leave me a comment below. I would love to compare stories.