Many people come to us and asking to help recover the traffic drop occurred after a site migration. But if you take care of several things while migrating the site you can surely prevent traffic loss. There are many chances of mistakes while migrating the site so here is the complete guide that will help you through the process.
What is Migration?
Moving a website to new domain or implementing a major design change is called a migration. Migrating to a new domain or platform is the most challenging task in terms of SEO. There are nearly an endless number of factors to consider when migrating a site. The key problem is the amount of time it takes to earn your page rank. Once you decide to migrate your site, it’s not designed to automatically be crawled by search bots. What can be just as frustrating is that these bots will reassign all those page rankings you had earned on your former site.
This can be extremely problematic for eCommerce site, since many of these sites are comprised of thousands of pages.
Teamwork – Get Your SEO Involved From the Start
While migrating your website, one of the most important steps you can take is to bring in an SEO professional at the start of the project. This SEO should stay onboard throughout the duration of your project, from redesign to development and prelaunch. During this process, your SEO will be integral in providing the right types of recommendations and changes to ensure that your migration is as smooth as possible without negatively impacting your search ranking.
Migrating onto the Same Domain
We all know that URL changes can really cause disasters for your overall SEO strategy and most website migrations occur on the same domain, typically when a site requires a new eCommerce platform, like Magento. Or perhaps the site is undergoing a major redesign to improve brand value.
It’s important to remember that search engines know your site by name. If you change it without any indication or warning, these engines won’t understand how the new URLs are related to the old URLs. Their natural tendency is to index these URLs all over again, thus robbing you of the link juice you created for your exiting URLs. With fresh URLs, you have to rebuild links and increase their popularity, all of which takes a considerable amount of time, reflecting in immediate downturns in sales.
Generally speaking, during a major redesign or migration, URL changes are required when there’s a one-to-one match between pages. In these instances, make every effort possible to use URL rewrites in order to convert the new URL to the existing URL that the search engine is familiar with. It is also a better idea to not to change the pages that you think attract visitors and sales.
If you do have to change these pages, then 301 redirects are the best option to protect the link popularity and transfer it to the new URLs. You can also use the cross domain canonical tag.
The developer is the key person behind flipping the switch to make the migration occur. Your developer must keep a close eye on the process to ensure nothing breaks down along the way. Your developer will connect with other team members and apply new ideas by checking competitor sites and make sure that all the necessary changes are performed properly.
Many of us overlook the importance of a content audit. The requirement of this content audit is to quickly identify the gaps in content on the new site by comparing it to the content that was covered by the existing site. There are a couple of things you must do:
In Google Analytics, in the site content section behavior, export the “all pages report” and analyze the content to make the required improvements.
Conduct keyword research and planning. Consider topics that you have never covered that might likely be used by your audience.
Make sure the important content is migrated across the page. Compare your on-page content with you competitors’ sites and make the required changes. Try to improve the overall look and feel of the page.
Always remember that this is a fresh start for your content. So some housecleaning will be required. Making these intricate changes will bring in more visitors. Keep in mind that traffic is dependent on the people visiting your page. If you are not updating and migrating your site effectively, you will lose your valuable business and traffic.
Proper Pre Launch Plan
For a proper pre launch, you’ll need a step-by-step plan that you execute to perfection. If the work thus far is perfect, then you will succeed. You’ll find many blogs online that offer tips for migrating. Analyze these resources and compile a checklist from these resources. Don’t use any existing checklist without adapting it to fit your specific situation. Have the whole team involved in building the checklist. Do not move forward until everything is crossed off the list.
Many of us don’t consider analyzing after the pre launch. Yet this is the time when the chance of crashes and disasters is high. You must have a game plan for post launch. You must consider diagnostics, site analysis, ongoing problem solving, and follow-up tasks you can assign to the members of your team.
After all of this is said and done, you’re likely thinking that you’ve completed the task, and the job is complete. But the hard work yet just begun. Below is the list of the components that you need to make sure have been completed, before you can consider your migration a success.
Soft 404 Errors
URL Re-write (301)
Migrations on the same Domain
Communicate the Migration Process
Check Overall Site Performance
Monitor the Webmaster Errors
Set up Funnel Visualization
Now you know all of the major elements to consider while performing a migration. As you’ve likely discovered, this is an extremely complex and intricate project that should be performed by professionals with extensive experience. If you want to know more about website migration, then contact www.commercepundit.com. We’ll help you audit your plan and make your migration a smooth success.