Website Migration and SEO

Grozina / Website Migration and SEO

Website Migration & SEO

What is the best way to migrate a website?

If you are changing your CMS, enabling HTTPS, undergoing a rebranding or a merger, or otherwise need to migrate your site, completing this process accurately and correctly remains critical and takes careful planning. 

With a site migration, you want to take every step possible to preserve your page rankings so that your site maintains its traffic and engagement rates. You also want to ensure that your customer experience remains consistent and positive. Here are the steps we recommend to use:

  • Get a backup of your website
  • Get baseline measurements
  • Create a thorough 301 redirecting map

Before you begin your migration, you want to backup your website and get baseline measurements that will allow you to see exactly how your site performs during and after migration. This will allow you to carefully watch for any potential dips in traffic throughout your migration, and if anything goes wrong in the process, you will be able to correct it as quickly as possible. 

Key items to assess are: page load speed, mobile performance, SEO rank, SEO traffic, pages per visit, time per visit, and conversion.

You will then want to create a thorough 301 redirecting map. If you change any URLs, you will need to carefully and completely map every page of your old site to its corresponding page on the new site with a 301 redirect. You should create a list that shows precisely where the 301 redirects users to from each URL. This process is critical, as customers can easily still click on the links that take them to the former pages of your URL, and you do not want to create a poor user experience if they receive an error message in return. The redirects also will make it easier for you to maintain as much link equity as possible.

Does website migration hurt my SEO?

Doing a site migration can have a positive or negative effect on SEO depending on the process. When done correctly, site migrations can actually boost your SEO as they can be used to clean up URLs, redirects, page titles and tags, as well as consolidate site structure and internal linking. It can also be used to ensure technical SEO requirements, such as site speed and page load time, are met.

On the other hand, if not done properly, it can hurt SEO performance. When redirects are not properly mapped, SEO signals can be lost, resulting in the loss of rankings and visibility in search. If metadata and titles are not optimized for search, that can further contribute to lost visibility. 

If planning to do a site migration, it’s best to create a Q&A map and ask your professional development team to evaluate, or reach out to us.

Related: Redirects: 301, 302 and meta refresh