SEO AUDITING

SEO Website Migration Services – Don’t Loose Your Organic Traffic & Rankings

One of the most risky SEO implementation happens when there is a site migration. If you are making significant changes to your website, you want to make sure that your organic rankings and traffic are not impacted by this. If you are switching platforms or doing substantial changes to your website or your URL structure. This can include changes to the website code, URL changes, switching platforms, changing over from HTTP to HTTPS etc. Any of the changes can have substantial effects on your SEO and impact your organic traffic and rankings.

SEO Website migration Services

I have worked on a number of successful migration projects, from large scale complex structural and taxonomy changes to domain changes. Migration spans multiple teams and management levels with bottlenecks and dependencies. As a SEO consultant, my job is to identify, troubleshoot and bring together all aspects of the migration to successful completion. I have expertise in the following types of migration-

  • Substantial site redesign affecting content and URLs
  • Moving to a new content management system(CMS)
  • Changing ecommerce platforms
  • HTTP to HTTPS Migration
  • URL/Menu changes
  • Domain name changes
  • Subdomain/domain merge
  • UX/Code changes
  • Content migrations including content rewrites, content pruning, taxanomy changes etc.
  • Migrating to Shopify, Joomla, Drupal, Magento, WordPress, Bigcommerce

Why Site migration is so risky?

Any changes to site structure or URLs carry potential SEO risks. In migrations, the risks are compounded due to large scale structural and code changes. There are too many moving parts in a migration, with the UX, Dev, CX and SEO teams involved. A poorly executed Website Migration will definitely result in major organic traffic and search visibility loss. As such, a proper migration plan needs to be scoped out before any migration.

Does website migration always result in traffic loss?

If a planned SEO migration strategy has been executed properly, migration should not result in any traffic loss. I have seen traffic being maintained or even growing (especially after an https migration) after successfully deploying a site migration.

SEO website Migration Checklist

Planning

The migration needs to have clear defined goals and objectives. In the migration planning phase, all critical components of the migration are assessed; including SEO risks and UX considerations. All stakeholders, including coders, UX, SEO, content etc should identify the biggest risks and issues and create a roadmap which best address the issues. You need to take into consideration your resources and timeframe as well.

Fixing Old SEO issues

Site Migration presents a great opportunity to address legacy SEO issues and the SEO consultant should look at various improvements and fixes which can help in better rankings and search visibility. Typically these would include category and URL changes for better structure, fixing 404 pages etc.

Scoping the new site’s SEO requirements

A new Information architecture along with URL changes should be scoped out, with proper mapping of all old URL’s onto the new ones. The scope should cover these vital SEO elements

  • URL structure
  • Canonicals
  • Meta tags
  • Headings
  • Structured markup (schema.org
  • Navigation
  • Pagination Pages
  • Hreflang Tags for Internationalization
  • Sitemap
  • Redirects
  • JavaScript
  • Page speed
  • Pre Migrations

1. Benchmarking – This would include downloading vital website stats from Google analytics, webmasters and other tracking apps. You should also download your top linked and trafficked pages from Moz/Ahrefs to compare before and after migration performances. Without benchmarking, you will be flying blind.

2. Crawl – The old site needs to be crawled using screaming frog or something similar. The site crawl should capture all the URLs. Use this crawl report to identify existing SEO issue which needs to be fixed while migrating.

3. Analysis of new websites structure and SEO implementations

4. Staging Environment – all Changes needs to be done in a staging environment, Analyze the Staging environment for proper SEO implementations, make sure all redirects are working properly and all-important SEO elements like meta tags etc are properly implemented. Once the website is ready on the staging environment, run a crawl again to find potential issue like missing URLs 404 pages incorrect 301 etc. Ask the developers to fix them on the staging site. Crawl, rinse and repeat till all issues are fixed and the website on the staging environment fully complies with all SEO elements.

5. Password protect your staging environment. This is very important, otherwise Google can possible crawl the staging site, leading to duplicate content issues.
Going live

1. Make sure all SEO elements have been maintained on the live site.
2. All tracking code should be deployed onto the new site. If the new site was blocked by passwords or Robots.txt, these need to be removed.

Post launch

1. Full Website Audit for SEO elements- Immediately after launch, perform full website audit to make sure that none of the SEO elements have broken and everything has been properly carried over from the staging website. The new website should be crawled with screaming frog or similar tool and any potential errors needs to be rectified. All redirects and URL mapping should be properly implemented.

2. All old remapped URLs needs to be checked to make sure none of them have been missed. There shouldn’t be any 404 for these URLs.

3. Analytics/web console integration- Make sure the analytics and other apps are tracking properly. This is important for post migration performance measurement.

4. If you have migrated from http to HTTPS , create another property in the Google search console.

5. Monitor your Google search console- If there are errors on the website, Google will start picking them up soon. Keep a close eye on the search console. Make sure the index count represents the new websites URL count. In case there is a big jump in the index count, you can be sure that something has gone wrong and needs to be fixed.

6. If you are changing your domain name, you should reach out to blogs, news site and other linking websites which link to you, requesting them to change the backlink to the new domain.

7. Monitor traffic and rankings. Keep a close eye on the traffic, at least for 2-3 weeks. If you see a drop in organic traffic, go granular to page levels and compare pre migration analytics to the current ones to identify which pages have lost traffic and rankings. Track your keywords and most linked pages as they are vital for your websites organic visibility.

If all the steps in the SEO website Migration Checklist are followed properly, you should have a successful migration with possibly minimal or no impact to your traffic.

Website Migration is a highly technical process which needs expert SEO implementation from experienced consultants. Contact me for SEO Website Migration Services quote.

SEO AUDITING