A website migration may be necessary to solve a problem, but it also carries some risks. You may encounter difficulties ranging from your website’s partial loss to a drop in search engine rankings. You’re bold, tech smart, and ready for the challenge despite the probable technological difficulties.
This article helps you on how to do site migration and mitigate the risks and makes you perform a successful SEO-friendly site migration by the most important factors.
What is Site Migration?
A site migration is a process used to completely redesign a website in areas that affect its search engine visibility. Design, user experience, platform, site placement, and structure are the most important ones here.
Migrating a website from one domain to another is the most popular type of website migration. Yet updating your URL structure and moving from HTTP to HTTPS are also examples of migration.
A site migration could result in a better user interface, a new or improved user experience, simpler editing, and more. The decision to transfer your website should not be made hastily, though. If carried out incorrectly, you can get status code issues, poor SEO performance, and even annoyed website visitors.
Reasons to Migrate a Site
Migration suggests significant changes. It’s a difficult process, so you need a truly compelling reason to embark on it. The following are some of the most frequent causes of website migration:
- Changing Site structure, Navigation, or Design.
- Moving to a new Framework or CMS.
- Addition of Mobile version.
- Changing from HTTP to HTTPS.
- Moving to New Server
- Changing the Domain name.
Does Site Migration Affect SEO?
Website migration affects SEO, similar to any significant change. But still, migrating for the appropriate circumstances can improve and protect site visitors’ experiences. Google prefers sites that are quick and easy to use. Hence, migrating to a faster web host might improve your SEO over time.
As Google must re-index your site once you move it, you should expect a temporary decline in organic traffic. Finally, maintaining your present SERP positions and even starting to go in the right direction can be facilitated by having a sound website migration strategy.
How to do a Site Migration?
Determine the objectives of the website migration
Initiate your procedures by describing why you are moving your site and what it will look like. Will it only affect a piece of your current website, or will you need to move the whole thing to a new domain name?
A website migration may occur for a variety of reasons, including:
- Switching from HTTP to HTTPS
- Enhancing search traffic
- Expanding your site’s audience
- Getting a better domain
- Upgrading the look of your site
You can develop a set of reasonable targets and objectives by outlining your justifications for site migration.
Make Site Migration Budgets, Timeline, and Teams
Now that you are attentive to your goals and motivations, it is necessary to develop a plan for moving your website that includes the following:
- A cautious budget
- A Timeline
- A Responsible Team
It is essential to have a well-defined approach. For the process to be successful, the many team members must communicate well because there are many moving parts.
The most successful team will be a cross-departmental one. System administrators, programmers, SEO specialists, designers, UX developers, copywriters, and others will all be necessary for a migration to be effective.
Promote the new Site before Migration
Getting everyone to understand that your site has migrated is one of the most challenging aspects of site migration. Old links won’t be completely useless thanks to a 301 redirect, but if they are left up for an extended period of time, they lose their impact and mislead users.
As everyone needs to be on board with the change before it happens, successful migrations involve a pre-migration promotional effort that teases the new URL to customers.
There are various ways you can achieve this. While working on the migration in the background, start by generating a coming soon page on the new URL. Use social media and email to let customers and the media know about the new site.
Find URLs that require Redirect
You must compare your old URLs to the new ones if the URL structure of your new site changes to determine which sites need a 301 redirect. Your new pages won’t receive the same traffic and PageRank as the old pages without a correct redirect, which will negatively impact your rankings.
To determine whether all of the pages you want on a new site are available, use Site Audit.
Create a 301 Redirect Map
You must resolve the missing URLs once you have mapped the URLs of your old and new websites and identified the pages that are missing from your new site.
You must locate an appropriate destination on your new site for each of your missing pages in order to collect referral traffic from any existing hyperlinks referring to those pages.
Don’t make all of your pages redirect to one page. Although it’s extremely frequent, it’s not a good idea to redirect users to the main page.
The ideal option is to discover the most relevant page for a redirect or develop a new page with relevant content.
Make a Test of the New Site
Your website should be migrated in the same way. When the whole migration goes live, problems with the UX or traffic on your site could arise if faults or issues are not resolved. You can identify these issues by performing a thorough test in a small space.
For a number of reasons, you should test the migration in a secure setting
- First of all, any modifications you make won’t affect the actual site.
- Second, maintaining the previous site gives you a reference point for your changes and enables users to continue using it.
- Third, you can easily remove the isolated environment and try again if something fails utterly.
When you can begin testing will depend on the type of migration you are undertaking.
Track site migration
The Site performance will be tracked by the use of analytics tools like Google Analytics. After then, keep a close watch on the performance of your site’s traffic flow and most popular pages for at least a few weeks. You can use these benchmarks for performance and traffic to assess the migration’s effects in the future.
Execute the Site Migration
The objective is to progress as soon as you can. To move, you’ll need to shut down your website, thus it’s crucial to limit interruption. Your rankings are more likely to suffer the longer your website is offline.
Once the migration is complete, make sure your robots.txt file isn’t still preventing search engines from seeing your site, test a few redirects (particularly those that go to your most valuable pages), and send your updated XML sitemap to Google Search Console.
Track Site Migration and make improvements as needed
Over the succeeding weeks and months, keep track of the metrics you specified at the beginning of the procedure and benchmark accordingly.
Following a migration, it’s common to witness changes in traffic and rankings (and sometimes even a decline), but a noticeable and sustained decline can indicate more serious problems, usually as a result of poor redirection techniques.
You should keep tabs on the historic site’s visitor figures and search engine results.
However, migrating a site could appear complicated, you shouldn’t be afraid to do it. Learn the best strategy to use when rebuilding your website, then follow my detailed instructions to move your website successfully. You should have everything you need from this to prevent any significant losses in traffic or rankings.