April 27, 2019

Ultimate Guide to Website Migration

Website migration means substantial changes in particular areas of a website. These areas may affect the visibility of your site. Website migration refers to changes in the platform location, structure, UX, design, and content.

SEO professionals rarely plan migration projects. Before migrating a website, it is important to manage expectations. If you own a website then you might often plan website migration for a positive impact on your business or mitigate downtime.

Each website has its challenges, so it is essential to work with a strategic approach. Before you plan the migration, you have to focus on risks and essentials of migration.

Understand the Risks Involved in Site Migration

From the SEO perspective, migration of a site can be risky because you can lose your revenue and traffic (in the case of mismanagement). Here are some common risks involved in site migration.

  • Domain Transfer is an actual risk because it sees the potential of ranking and gradually transfer ranking transversely to a new website. The procedure starts after detecting redirects. This procedure may take 4 to 12 weeks for completion, based on the size of the site.
  • The hierarchy of a site dictates horizontal and vertical linking. Protecting the flow of authority during migration is vital. If you failed in this process, your website can lose its ranking and have poor communications with search engine bots.
  • Changes in current content and omission of target keywords can decline the ranking of your site. To maintain traffic, it is essential to similar exposure and quality to your content on a new website.
  • Another problem is restricting the URL of a similar domain. It may lead to a permanent or temporary loss of rankings. Temporary drops are easy to address by recrawling and reindexing of your site by search engines.
  • Downtime can be decreased to 1 to 4 weeks based on the size of your website. Permanent drops may occur because of a non-SEO friendly URL structure. It may include the addition of files, removal of anchor words and increase the length of URL.

Tips to Migrate a Website

Here are some tips that can decrease complications of website migration procedure:

Start Small

Migration of a site needs patients and excellent coordination among different teams. You can’t rush with website migration because this procedure is lengthy. Try to run a test on sub-domain or sub-directory to ensure that all teams are on a similar page.

If your chain of commands has breakdowns or you have troubles in communications, it can damage a portion of your site. These problems can plummet your traffic.

Adjust Tracking Tools Before Migration

Before touching anything on your old website, make sure to have metrics and tools to track the progress of migration during, before, and afterward. You will need a migration dashboard to see the real-time impact of changes on your website. Make sure to list the destination domain and build an excellent panel to compare indexed pages, rankings, backlinks, and organic traffic against the old domain.

Comprehensive 301 Redirect Map

It is an essential step for the migration of your site. You have to inform search engines that you have moved your website to one new home. They need visible changes of address commands; otherwise, you will lose the ranking of profitable keywords. Transfer each URL of the old site and map it to corresponding URLs on a new website. URL mapping is the only way to avoid chances of 404 errors.  

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