13 Jun ‘What gets measured gets improved’ SEO Migration Necessities
-13 June 2018-
An SEO Website Migration Guide
Today we are looking at the SEO website migration necessities. The top necessity? A plan. In the world of SEO, a website migration is the last thing you want to wing. Regardless of what a migration refers to, whether that be a change in site location or mass-content review, it can be an incredibly daunting task. Feelings of confusion and uncertainty would not be unheard of. But, if you have a plan in place, a migration becomes substantially more manageable.
Having previously looked at common migration errors, we thought we would now explore some of the steps you can take to make a SEO migration soar. Completing these steps can ensure you do not reduce the visibility of your website in searches.
Preparing is the best action you can make for a successful website migration. It helps you navigate what can be a massive challenge and minimise detrimental impacts. You want to build a solid foundation for your migration and ensure nothing slips through unnoticed. We suggest utilising a classic SEO technique; URL mapping. Catching every URL with your migration is crucial. Redirects can be the cause of a lot of mistakes, especially if you are not meticulous about the process. It is very easy for some URLS to be ignored. URL mapping helps you to remain vigilant from the start. You keep track of all your live URLS and assign them their new URL ready for the next stage.
Sorting out those 301s just became a lot simpler; start with your priority pages and work your way through the site.
Also, don’t forget any potential content purges. Migrations are the perfect opportunity to reconsider the content you want on your site. Keep track of pages you are saying goodbye to and of future pages that are waiting to be created on your new site.
Benchmark your site so you know what the current performance of your site is. You want to record KPIs such as your traffic and keyword rankings. Having this data will be particularly useful post-launch, when you will be able to compare the results and see the full impact your migration is having on your site.
In every stage of the migration, you will want Google Search Console. Pre-launch, you want to be informing Google Search Console of your plans by registering for a new site. Essentially, you want them to know in advance so they can locate your new site as soon as possible. If you leave them in the dark, you’ll simply lose your visibility to everyone. A consequence best avoided.
During the Launch
Whilst you are implementing the migration, you want to monitor your site’s data like your life depends on it. Not to exaggerate or anything… your data is your biggest indicator of how well your migration is being received by users. Right now, it’s your biggest ally. Constant monitoring in Google Search Console, and Google Analytics, will help you identify any occurring issues and resolve them before they cause any serious damage.
During this stage you also want to check all your redirects are correct and functioning. Ensuring all redirects point to the most relevant page on your new site, especially in the cases of a content overhaul, is the best way to guarantee an ideal user experience for the new site.
Lift off! You have now reached the point of no returns and I’ll bet you’re a little terrified. Don’t worry, it’s usual to be wary now you’ve launched the changes. This is a crucial point in the process. Right now, you want to continue monitoring your data – honestly, this is the constant in your migration. The difference, however, is that you will be monitoring your data via your new site, so if there was a change in your domain, protocol or server, you’ll want to notify Google Search Console of that change. And then, you watch. Regularly conduct manual checks on Google Search Console to see how the performance of your site is impacted by the changes.
Also, regarding your current backlinks, re-upload the disavow file. Thanks to all your successful redirects you’ll still have all your old site’s backlinks meaning the disavow list for your old site will still apply. So, you want to re-upload the file for your new site and regularly monitor incoming backlinks to ensure any ‘spammy’ backlinks cannot harm the trust of your site.
Want a hand?
The above is just a small selection of the steps you need to take to ensure your SEO migration is a success. If you want to get a fuller understanding of the different acts required in a migration, then find below the upriseUP SEO Website Migration checklist.