What You Should Know About Website Migration? Considering SEO
About site migration?
The term “site migration” is broad term employed by SEO experts to describe any situation in which a site undergoes major changes in its surroundings which can have a significant impact on the visibility of a website on search engines usually, the changes are to the location of the website or platform, structure and content, as well as design or UX.
Google’s documentation for site migrations does not go into great depth and doesn’t acknowledge that they can cause substantial revenue and traffic loss, that can last from a few days to many months, based on how much search rank signals for engines were affected and how long it takes the business affected to implement the most effective recovery strategy.
What are the reasons to migrate your website?
Here are some scenarios where you might require an upgrade of your site in lieu of a simple redesign
- You must transfer the site’s location on one host to the next.
- You have changed the CMS Platform that your website runs on.
- You’re changing your domain’s name, or URLs.
- You must make substantial changes to the site’s structure.
- Poor Customer Service
- Down Time
- Loading Time
- Poor Security
- Lack of Feature
Migrations to websites can be accomplished by yourself or by a professional.
Stages In Website Migration:
1. Explore the site.
A crawler on your website retrieves URLs and the markups on your website, “seeing” this information similar to what Google does.
Crawling provides you with the basis for the URL mapping and also an index to reference should something get unclear in your translation.
2. Record your benchmarks.
In some instances, the analytics data may be deleted during a site change as well as this data from the past are valuable, which is why it is recommended to keep it.
Also, be sure to check your website’s analytics and are aware of how users currently browse through the site and what pages are the most beneficial for you. This data can aid in your design and layout decision-making.
3. Create a map of your URLs.
If you’re making substantial modifications to your URLs that are on your website, you’ll require redirection in place to lead Google as well as your site’s visitors away from your old URLs and to the new URLs.
- From a usability perspective when a page has been removed and you want users to receive an error code 404. Instead, they are directed to the new page that has been created to replace the old one.
- Unsuspecting redirects could be an enormous hit to the SEO of your site. They tell search engines and users of your website that the page has been changed, regardless of whether it’s gone or has been removed. They also inform search engines which new pages have been added to replace the old ones.
- In an SEO viewpoint, you do not wish to lose any of the backlinks, history, and (in the essence) “authority” which the original page gained. A redirect tells Google the location to attribute these signals instead.
In order to make redirects work You must first think about through mapping the URLs. This requires you to create an excel spreadsheet that contains two columns one column for the original URL, and another for the URL that is the same as the one you want to use.
Don’t worry if you don’t have “perfect” alternatives for every item of content. Try as most effective you are able to guide your viewers according to the original intention.
If you’re a huge user of websites, manually mapping isn’t for you. So, to make your life easier, look to your pages for patterns that could be routed into sections or groups.
Existing redirects need to be transferred too. Make sure to save as many redirects in place as you can to reduce the burden, and ensure your URLs are properly mapped before you attempt to test redirects, in order to ensure that you have backups in case you are unable to retrieve them.
4. Keep track of the meta descriptions, titles, as well as HTML markup.
Remember that migrations to websites help in the management of your website. This means that pages need to be consistent and have the same information they did prior to. For example, if HubSpot Marketing Blog HubSpot Marketing Blog was subject to change of site that included descriptions and content for every blog post would be the same, only appear different.
It is always possible to modify or alter meta descriptions, titles, and HTML markup, however it is important to make sure that every page has all the necessary details.
5. Test the latest version on an experiment server.
Tests and mockups in an environment that is local does not provide an exact view of the new website’s features and its implementation. For an easy change, go on the internet for a trial run prior to the official migration.
6. Select the appropriate date for the transfer.
Unexpected interruptions are inevitable regardless of the circumstances however, you can reduce the likelihood of them by avoiding peak times.
At The Time of Migration
7. Make sure to update your website’s DNS settings.
In the event that you’re moving your website to a different server, one of the steps will involve “pointing” at the new server. In conjunction with your IT/web team as well as your hosting providers (new as well as old) in order to achieve this.
Create your forwarding redirects, de-publish and set up.
If DNS changes were made the site could be temporarily down.
If you’re not changing platforms or servers the migration process will be almost instantaneous.
9. Explore the brand-new website.
When the new website is up and running, you can perform the crawl to check whether it’s been moved as you anticipated it would. One thing you should ensure is that the site is properly indexable crawlability. And crawlability.
10. Find and fix missing or duplicate content.
By using this report to crawl, you can see the presence of any unusuality such as duplicate content, broken or 404 errors. Also, browse the new site and search for any issues.
11. Look for redirect chains.
After your website is now migrated to a new host, you’ll have plenty of new redirects available to you. If redirects were already in place and chains were made.
Here’s what I am referring to:
If you already redirected B A to B the migration could have also added a redirection to C B to C.
This results in an ensuing chain of redirects A A to C to through A to B and finally C.
Redirect chains could slow your website down and affect performance. It is possible to avoid this through breaking up the chain and switching the A A to C and B to C.
12. Make sure Google Analytics as well as Google Search Console are in use.
To ensure that there are no reports or data gaps to avoid any gaps in data and reporting, they should be up and operational the same day.
13. Note the date in Analytics.
Google Analytics allows you to create “Annotations” of significant dates or important events. This helps you to contextualize the data and gauge the performance before and after migration (unless you’ve chosen to go with an upgrade to your Analytics configuration).
14. Submit sitemaps.
When everything is up running, make sure your XML site map is free of mistakes. After that, you can upload the sitemap to Google’s search console to allow Google to crawl your new version.
15. Check the performance.
Although temporary drops in traffic are normal following the migration however, you must be watching your data to make sure no major issues were missed which could have impacted the performance.
16. Run site audits.
Sometimes third-party tools will uncover issues that you weren’t aware about. SEMrush site auditor is an excellent tool for situations like this.
17. Make sure you update your platforms.
If you are running ads or on other platforms that could have old URLs, make sure you include new links.
18. Update backlinks for publishers.
If your redirects were executed correctly, you’ll still receive traffic and authority by utilizing your backlink. But, it’s always a good to make use of the most recent URLs that you can. To do this make contact with the owners of your top worth links to inform them of the exchange.
Migration of websites can be a time-consuming procedure, but it’s not difficult. With a little planning, you can achieve a smooth and successful migration and compatible with your current SEO efforts.