December 23


The difference between a redirect and a migration

By Jason Khoo

December 23, 2020


Hi guys, and welcome to another edition of Zupo's SEO Talk & Tea. 

Today's conversation, the difference between a redirect and a migration. Although, it might sound obvious conceptually, or by saying it out loud, it sounds obvious, but it actually can be a little bit more confusing or forgotten in the day-to-day experience of a different website. I want to film a video to kind of clarify help teams slow down and understanding the difference.

But before we begin, I want to introduce the tea we have today. Today we have a Green Tea that was gifted to my dad in China. It's a Green Tea that I tend to have every so often. I'm not the biggest Green Tea drinker anymore, but whenever you want something a little bit lighter and more soothing, this is something that I'll pull out and drink. And again, always a clarification, this is actually not from Teavana, it's actually I just use the Teavana casing.

But let's go ahead and get started. So the difference between a redirect and a migration. Let's just get started with the obvious one, what a redirect is. This is the one that a lot of companies will use right off the bat. You may own five or six different URLs and so what you want to do is if anyone navigates to any of those URLs, they will automatically be redirected to your website. So a redirect is pretty much simplistic way of saying, "If someone lands on this URL, please automatically forward them to a different URL." Let me give you an example. Let's say I own, but my website is on If I type in pepperoni pizza, and I add a redirect on that URL, the person who navigates there will automatically be moved to Plain and simple, right? Redirect is pretty simple.

A migration on the other hand is different. So this is where we have to be very careful. Let's say you used to own Your site used to be there. Now you're saying, "Hey, you know, I kind of want to change my URL, I would love for my URL to be" It doesn't matter the reason, you just know you want to do that, or your team or your company knows that they want to do that.

So in that case, you want to say if anyone goes to I want them to be redirected to, but I also want the site to be on So my sites currently on, but when someone navigates to, or sorry, let me slow down. If someone navigates now to I would like them to be moved to, but I also want my site to show up. That's what we call a migration, not a redirect. Because the difference is, if someone types in and that's where your site used to live, and you want to go to, your site used to exist on pepperoni pizza, and the problem is, your site now needs to be moved to So the migration ... Sorry, I just got to make sure it's all poured out. Yeah, a migration is when not only a redirecting a URL, a migration also means you're moving sites.

So let me just say it one more time to make sure that everyone's clear on it. A migration is if you have a website on one URL, and you want that website moved to a different URL. So a migration is almost essentially like a redirect, but it's moving everything over. The difference is that because if you're doing a redirect, it's pretty simple. Like if someone goes to this URL, automatically forward them here. A migration means hey we got to move this entire site to a different URL. And the reason why this is important is because if you have a URL, let's just say I have again, my site lives here, and then I want to go to now. If you redirect, and you don't do the migration, let's just say you're moving too quickly and you say I want to redirect pepperoni pizza so that all users who go to pepperoni pizza actually go to, but they see my website. If you just do a redirect, they'll see nothing, because a redirect is simply a forwarding. You must do a migration. A migration tells the rule not only do I want the new URL to be here, but every asset, every page, every line of code I've ever had on I want to be moved on over to And that way, not only is your URL updated, but your whole website gets to move with you.

This is really important, especially when it comes to SEO, but also for anything else. You just don't want to lose a site, because if you were to do that wrong, and you didn't do the migration, but you did the redirect from pepperoni pizza, let's just redirect, your website would disappear and you would land on a, which has nothing on there, it would just show an empty page, or this page has no website on it. But the good thing is you can easily reverse that. If you made that mistake, you can reverse it, break the redirect, get the site back up and then start the migration process.

We don't have enough time in this video to talk about how to do a migration, and honestly migration is more of a developers kind of conversation, but what I want to make sure is for those small businesses, or marketing departments who are trying to quickly move sites because you want to switch URLs, anytime you move websites or move URLs it is worth slowing down. Where redirects are very casual, you don't have to worry too much is if ... Okay, let me clarify this, you own a website already. The site lives on that website, and URL, but you own eight other URLs that have nothing on them, then yeah, those eight URLs can redirect to your current site, because there's nothing on those, you mine as well redirect them there. It's the other way, where you have a website living on a URL already and you want to move that somewhere else, that's when you really need to slow down.

So this is really important, because it has wide implications, not only for your SEO, but for your marketing. I've had conversations with companies who thought about changing URLs or changing names and stuff, and this stuff gets really important for your ultimate success, especially if you've had SEO success before, moving sites can derail that.

All right, so hopefully that was helpful, guys. If you guys found the video valuable, please like and subscribe. I'm going to go ahead and pour out my tea, and I hope to see everybody again soon. Thanks everybody.

Jason Khoo

About the author

Jason is founder and CEO of Zupo, which is an Orange County based SEO consulting agency helping construct powerful long term SEO strategies for our clients. Jason also enjoys multiple cups of tea a day, hiding away on weekends catching up on reading and rewatching The Simpsons for the 20th time.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Never miss a good story!

 Subscribe to our newsletter to keep up with the latest trends!