We recently wrote a post for Linkedin about how you shouldn’t lose traffic or rankings if you plan correctly.
To follow up, we’ve put together an outline below, as it’s really important to get site migrations right. We still see three or four migrations yearly that have gone wrong, and we get asked to provide support.
Planning is everything, and as an SEO, this is one of the most important tasks you’ll undertake if you’re involved in migration, and you should consider the following:
- The goals of the migration: What do you hope to achieve by migrating the website? Do you want to improve the site’s performance and provide better UX, security or SEO functionality? It could be that you’re moving for better commercials, access to better PSPs, markets or games providers. Whatever the reason, you need to understand why you’re moving.
- The scope of the migration: What pages or content will be migrated? Will you be changing the domain name or URL structure? If you change your domain name or URL structure, you must set up 301 redirects for all your old URLs. This will help ensure that your visitors and search engines can find your new pages. This is often where things go badly wrong.
- Content: What content and metadata will be transferred to the new site? If pages are optimised and perform well, you’ll kill your rankings if you forget about this. Make sure that the content on your new website is high-quality. If the current content can be improved, plan for this and launch with new optimised content.
- Internal linking: This needs to be addressed, but as with content, this needs to be considered and ensure this is transferred over from the existing site to the new site.
- Sitemaps: Submitting your sitemap to search engines will help them to index your new pages faster.
- Technical SEO: Make sure your website is technically sound and optimised.
- The timeline for the migration: When will the migration take place? How much time will you need to complete each step? What do you think can be done in advance?
- The resources required for the migration: Who will be involved? What tools and software will you need?
- The risks associated with the migration: What potential problems could occur during the migration? How do you think you could take care of these risks?
- The testing plan: How will you test the new website to ensure it works properly?
- The communication plan: How will you communicate with your users about the migration? Do you need to at all? If logins need to change, you must share this with users, as this is sometimes the case.
By creating a website migration plan, you can help to ensure that the migration is successful and that your website is not affected negatively.
I also say it’s important to: