Site migration SEO Checklist to prevent organic traffic losses
The website migration is a process by which we migrate a website from one location to another or we add an HTTPS to the site. If the site migration is not properly done the SEO benefits may lose. The search engine optimization process and the results of it require much more time. In this post, we will discuss the main factors that we need to note while migrating a website. Site Migration SEO Checklist is thus a must to follow.
Identify the need for site migration
We need to identify whether there is a need for migration. We need to analyze the all scenario to understand if we need a migration. The site migration always results in temporary traffic lose. It is because Google needs to index our pages properly. If we did site migration in a wrong way the results will be pathetic. This is a must to do for Site Migration SEO Check List. There will be no SEO benefits and the search engine penalties will be there as it is.
If you have the 3 reasons listed below then please forward to read more.
- Needs a strong re branding
- The migration may result in more clicks and links.
- If you need to add HTTPS. (This is the only site migration chance where you will get SEO benefits)
Test Thoroughly For Errors
The site migration must be done in test servers. Otherwise, we can’t identify the errors and clear them. We need to check the redirects and broken links before going public. Try to do every testing on the test server. The errors occurred while a visit happens to your site may increase the bounce rate and it may lower the ranking. When doing Site migration SEO checklist it is an important step to follow.
Plan the migration in offseason
If you are working according to a seasonal base like some businesses like Tours and Travels avoid site migration during peak season time. This will help you to ensure the possible clicks. If you do a site migration in the slow business time then the traffic lose will not affect you badly.
Crawl the old website before migration
You need to crawl the website using any tool like Screaming Frog and get updates about the broken links and all the links. You should have the details of all the links in your old website and you need to replace them on the new website. You need to identify the crawl errors and need to remove them. The 404 redirections are the other thing we need to take care. Updating the links can also be done in this phase. All the URL’s must be placed and verified correctly to result in a good migration.
Copy Google Analytics Data
Copy the Google analytics data and save it for a later use. After completing the migration you can check the old analytics data and compare it with new data. This will help you to understand the traffic lose. You can also identify to which URL this problem is severely affected. Do the necessary changes to get back the traffic.
Mapping the changed URL’s
You need to have a list of every old URL and the new URL when we do site migration SEO checklist. The migration will have all the old pages in the new place. But if you need to drop a page here is the best time. Remember that after removing a page you will lose all the search engine benefit. If you drop more than one page then the Google will think that it is a new website. And if you need to change the URL structure of a particular page then do it but understand that the Google will think it is a new website. So the overall ranking will be affected.
Update All Internal Links
The internal links need to point to the new website. If we neglect this point surely the rankings will go down. The internal links need to change to get the best results in SERP. You need to search and replace the internal links to improve the ranking.
Self-canonicalize the new pages
The new web pages must be canonicalized to them, not to the old URL. This will help you to index your new pages properly. Sitewide URL canonicalization is recommended because the URL parameters create duplicate content that should always canonicalize the parameter-free URL.
Remove duplicate contents
Even though there is self-canonicalization we need to check if there are duplicate contents. If there you should redirect them and only one copy can be accessed to the public. Also, the site should possess only one URL structure, that means either HTTPS or HTTP. Need to redirect the website to either www version or non-www version.
Identify the removed pages
We need to identify the removed pages and should remove those URL’s from internal links. The removed pages must have a 404 custom page where the visitor can navigate to the website easily. You should not redirect the old pages to the new website. And don’t redirect the removed pages to the home page. The better idea is if there is a page that is suitable for the old page then redirect the old page to there. You need to do this carefully because if the redirected page doesn’t have any contents related to the old page then the indexing will be difficult.site migration SEO checklist.
Custom 404 page
Ensure that there is a custom 404 page on the new website. This page will allow the user to some useful content when the actual page is no longer available.
Add the new sitemap to the Google search console will help to boost the crawl and indexing process. If there is an old sitemap available ask Google to crawl that sitemap so that the redirects will be properly checked.
Google Analytics installation
Add the Google analytics to the new website before going to the public. This will help you to understand the traffic changes due to migration. Also, can compare the details with the old report and identify which pages need a recrawl or boost.
You should have the access to the old domain
For site migration SEO checklist to be be successful, Please have a control over the old domain. If you have the access then only you can identify the problems in the redirection phase and any other issues need to be tracked with the help of old domain.
Update Google Search Console
Check that the Google search console is properly added. Identify the keywords as well as crawl errors. Try to understand the backlinks that you earned and give them a boost.
Manage Pay Per Click Campaigns
Point the PPC campaigns to the new website. This will help to earn more customers. If there are some old links in the PPC campaign, due to the redirection that we gave to the old website may make problems.
Update all other platforms
Try to identify all the other social media profiles linked to the website. Update those profiles and other blogs to get the good links from them.
Monitor the indexed page count
Even though you publish a website Google might not index all the web pages. You need to check the indexed pages count to identify the unindexed pages and work for them.
If you are doing a site migration without looking to these facts you may lose the traffic you gain. Most important thing is that without Search engine optimization a website can’t rank high. To get the better results even after the migration follow the above steps of site migration SEO checklist.