By the term “site migration” what SEO professionals are trying to describe is any event where a website is put through significant changes in its structure and content management, coding and hosting protocols and much more. These changes affect the search engine visibility of the website quite substantially. If you need to perform a website migration, you have to choose a digital marketing agency that understands the various risks associated with it and also the types that make for a successful site in the long run.
Understanding The Various Risks
Important Part Of Your Website Migration Checklist SEO
- Domain transfer is risky as redirects are often taken in bad taste by the viewer. It might hurt the potential ranking of the website and the entire process may take anywhere from 4 to 12 weeks to complete depending on the size of the website.
- Structural changes would directly impact the conversion of your website. In order to perform site migration with flair one needs to assess the web pages on the existing site that result in the most traffic and conversions.
- Changes in content; Remember, your digital marketing agency would tell you how your site ranking may take a major hit if the current content on your site no longer exists or if you decide to radically change it to omit or include certain target keywords.
- Restructuring of the URL keeping the same domain; you will be risking both temporary and permanently lost rankings in case you decide to do a URL restructure.
1) Temporary slump in your website ranking is usually a result of Search Engines trying to recrawl and reindex your site.
2) Permanent drops in your website ranking could be the result of your new URL structure not being SEO friendly.
What Are The Various Site Migration Types?
- Existing Domain Migration: The root domain remains the same followed by a website redesign, CMS update, or restructuring of the URL/hierarchy.
- New Domain Migration: The domain changes if you have decided to move to a new TLD (.com to .org maybe) or if you wish to combine more than one site into a single asset.
- HTTP – HTTPS Migration: What many of us don’t know here is that HTTP is fundamentally the same except when we add an SSL certificate to it that makes it HTTPS. Google says that switching from HTTP to HTTPS will positively influences your website search rankings.
- Combining Domains: You choose to combine your domains if you wish to compound your assets to a single location on the internet.
When starting with site migration of your own you should consider the following SEO checklist. This will help you prepare a migration game plan that will prevent your website ranking from suffering.
=> Is Migration The Right Choice For You?
You need to understand that site migration will result in temporary loss of traffic and rankings almost always. Google and other leading search engines would need time to process the changes that you have made to your site and update their index accordingly. If you have carefully executed your site migration you can easily minimize traffic fluctuations but make sure to include SEO improvements such as streamlining your site structure, and fixing all the broken links, and consolidating superfluous pages, etc.
=> Use A Sandbox
Should you ever go about making changes in your website without proper testing? Never! You need to test everything on a test server to verify that all your redirects work properly before you decide to go public.
=> Migrate During Slow Period
It is always better to plan for a site migration when business is slow. Although a little dip in your website rankings shouldn’t really affect your business but a well-planned and properly monitored migration can effectively let you avoid traffic loss and by the time the season returns you will have probably gained your previous ranking.
=> Crawl Beforehand
You can also crawl your site and be sure to save the results for later reference. Make sure to have a complete list of all your previous URLs so that you don’t end up losing anything in the process of the transition. Work to identify any errors in crawling errors and remove or replace any broken or malfunctioning links that take the viewer to 404 pages during migration. This is not a list that is going to exhaust soon. There are plenty of things that you should be doing to ensure that the entire migration process is smooth and the whole transition goes through without any hiccups. Stay tuned for more!