Website migration, also called “SEO migration,” is a set of strategies you need to follow not to lose traffic when deciding to make changes regarding your website’s SEO. There can be many reasons for choosing to change a website. You might want to change your URL, redesign your website content, merge websites, change your hosting, etc. However, when you change these things, search engines’ behavior towards your website will change too.
They don’t know about these new changes, and they don’t know which metrics to apply. With website migration, you prevent losing your traffic and search ranking in the scenario where you decide to move your website.
Steps to Follow for Site Migration
A successful migration is not easy, and it requires a lot of effort. To ensure that this process does not fail, you need to plan, execute and control very efficiently. SEO is an excellent tool, but it is also a complicated one. For a successful site migration, there are some essential steps you need to follow.
Scan Your Site (Crawl Analysis)
You should crawl your site to get the URL’s on your domain. This is the starting point for your URL mapping, and you can learn about the content and link you should give importance to represent the new URL structure.
Data analytics can be deleted when moving your site. Since your past benchmarks will be valuable, you should keep them. Many data will be lost when you decide to move your site. Your previous benchmarks are valuable assets in this case. Take a look at your analytics and your most valuable content so that you can have ideas for the design and creation of your new site.
Map Your URL
Changing a URL means redirecting Google and your website users to the new URL from your old one. An intelligent way to do this would be to direct users to the replacement page. Let’s be honest no one likes a 404 page. By doing that, you can both tell search engines and your users that some new things are replacing your old carrier.
You are losing all the authority and history that your old site created is not desirable. Building a strategy that involves mapping your URLs would be beneficial for this. You should have a list of URLs but also map them to the current site.
Meta Descriptions Should Be Moved
The meta content and page titles are an essential part of SEO, and you need to make sure that your content of meta of migrating pages is transferred to the new site. New pages can also be created while this transaction is taking place. Making sure they include the optimized titles and meta tags and they are updated vital.
Implement Google Search Console and Google Analytics
With the help of Google Search Console, you can have an idea about indexes, ranks, and crawls Google provides for your website. That is why it’s an important step in moving a website. Moreover, Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager should be installed correctly, and you should make sure they collect data. Real-Time Analysis report in Google Analytics will be a fast way to do this as it gives real-time information about what’s currently on your website.
Search engines will use XML sitemaps to identify the new pages after migrating your site. No errors should take place in your XML sitemap. After then, you submit your sitemap to Google Search Console and let it be used by Google.
To make sure your referrals are running, you can have a post-migration plan to control and inspect your traffic. Using user engagement and retention, traffic, and keyword ranking metrics, you can have an idea about if the migration is going smoothly.
You should have an idea about the pages that collect backlinks. In order to see which ones do that, you can visit Search Console or Moz Link Explorer. After that, you can reach websites that are linking to your site and update the backlinks. Do not forget to keep track of the new backlinks, annotate Google Analytics and control the outreach.
Update Google My Business
Also, do not forget to update your website link in the new domain in Google My Business while updating your domain. Because Google uses this data while verifying you and ranking you, it is essential to optimize Google My Business listing for your SEO strategy.
Focus on Mobile Compatibility
Google checks your site’s mobile engagement and experience before indexing your website. A mobile-friendly website will help your website to be ranked the right way.
Google has a service that assesses and gives recommendations about your site’s mobile-friendliness. Using that service, you can create a responsive design.
The Reasons Why Website Migrations Fail
There many reasons why an SEO migration might fail. You should have clear knowledge about why do they fail and what needs to be done in a failure case. Websites require a lot of effort, and a failed migration system might cause a big loss of effort, advantages, rankings, and so on.
The Most Important Reasons
Time needed: 1 hour.
Make sure that you are careful about the following subjects as they are the most common reasons for failure when it comes to website migration.
- Planning Mistakes
All the well-planned SEO migrations become successful in the end. You should plan as soon as you decide on migrating your website, need a lot of time to have a scope, a plan, and a team and you should also have a budget and checklists and know clearly what your goals are and move accordingly. You need to be quick and early. If you don’t plan well, it is very likely that you will fail. If that is the case, you should have a meeting with your team about deciding on moving on or postponing the move.
You should be extremely aware that moving a website has a lot of risks. Even though SEO is a powerful tool, it does not give you any guarantee. There is a high chance of things going wrong with a migration. You may not gain your previous rates. Make sure that your team knows these risks and then move forward. Clearly, show your team the advantages, disadvantages, and all the possible outcomes.
- Not Knowing Enough
Making sure that your team has an understanding of the risks is helpful. However, you should make sure they are knowledgeable enough about the topic. This is the same for people working alone as well. Website migration requires intensive knowledge about SEO. They require knowledge about redirects, content change, URL environments, etc. You should know about the failures that happened before you and analyze them carefully. Also, you need to know the risks, what to expect, and what is need.
- Bad Checklists
“What more can go wrong after I know the risks, have the knowledge, and have the proper team?” we hear you say. Well, you could have a bad checklist. You need to have vital and sufficient checks. Your list should involve pre-launch and post-launch controls.
What Does it Mean?
You should plan a detailed checklist in any migration process. You should especially have regular checks on plan redirections, content, and technical problems. Your content should be what you anticipated, and it should fit in well with your site. You should make sure that you have good titles and meta. You should check your mapping of URL and if your redirects are going on according to your plan. On the technical side, you need to make sure the technical aspects of the migration are set correctly.
FAQ About Website Migration
Yes and no. Although it requires a lot of effort, once you know the steps, the rest will easily happen.
Planning is a crucial part of this process. You need to have a proper plan first and research a lot. Our guide will be helpful.
Although the price can vary according to your preferences, the standard rate is around $300.
Low visibility loss is the number one indicator of successful site migration.
It can vary from 30 minutes to hours according to how much data you move.
Conclusion on Website Migration
SEO is not an easy thing, and so is moving a website with SEO. You need to plan and measure everything as well as do a tremendous amount of research. Even the smallest mistake can cause traffic loss. In this article, we talked about what website migration is and the steps to follow regarding a possible website transaction. We are aware that this process might be overwhelming, but now you know where you need to start! Want more info on similar subjects? Here’s how to check website traffic.