Website migration is a practical thing to do if you want to redesign and update your website to suit your business’ changing needs. However, it can cause significant changes, especially to your ranking and other key metrics. That’s why it’s crucial to take into account several factors before, during, and after website migration. Keep reading to find out what they are so you can migrate your site without a hitch.
What Is Website Migration?
Any event that affects a website’s search engine visibility is considered a form of website migration. Website migrations can be small or massive.
Some of the common examples are changing URLs, merging content, redesigning your website, changing website architecture, and shifting from HTTP to HTTPS. Also, website migration occurs when you need to switch hosting providers, shift to a new content management system (CMS), change domain names, and merge websites.
Matters To Consider Regarding Website Migration
Here are the most important things to consider when migrating your website:
Before migrating, verify the goals and desired outcomes for doing so with all of the stakeholders, including the timeline and resources for proper planning and coordination with all concerned teams. Utilize data sources to identify the URLs you’re considering for the migration. Those sources may include Google Analytics, Ahrefs, SEMrush, your crawls, log files, and web pages with external links and rankings. In doing so, you’ll avoid missing anything.
You also need to work out the cost of a new website when migrating, which can vary depending on the type of website you require. Do you need an e-commerce website, customized solutions, or a revamped corporate website? A typical e-commerce store requires added functionalities that can cost anywhere from USD$5,000 to USD$50,000.
There are also hidden fees associated with building and migrating to a new website. Examples of elements you have to pay for are web hosting and domain names, site and code ownership, security, integration, management, and training.
Technical SEO For Web Migration:-
Website migration can be tricky because it can drastically affect your current search engine ranking. It’s crucial to prepare your technical SEO when migrating your website. You can hire an SEO specialist who’ll outline and prepare technical SEO specifications that your development team can use to launch your website.
Here are some technical SEO tips you can follow when migrating your website:
Update Internal Links:- You want to ensure that your internal links direct visitors to pages on your new website and not the old one. Internal linking is a strong indicator that tells search engines what the important web pages on your site are. Failure to change internal links when migrating your site will cause search engine spiders to follow the incorrect URLs.
Resolve Duplicate Content Issues:- Make sure that all your links are consistent by avoiding redirects from internal links. Check folders with the same content, particularly the default ones. If your website has a search function, make sure that the search result pages are non-indexed.
Reach Out To Other Website Owners:- Let the owners of authoritative websites you’ve worked with know about your migration so they can update their links to go to your new website. This will accelerate the process of search engines recognizing the site migration.
Timing:- As much as possible, you want to migrate your website when most of your visitors are not using it. In this way, your business transactions won’t be disrupted, especially if you’re running an e-commerce website.
Launching the new site must be timed accordingly, and the best time would be on one of your least busy days. Don’t launch during peak times, weekends, and holidays, when customers actively engage with your website. Either Tuesday or Wednesday would be good since Mondays are often reserved for meetings. On Thursday and Friday, you can work toward resolving any issues related to the launch.
Process: If you’re ready for website migration, here are the essential things to do in every phase of the process:
Planning:- Create a migration checklist and make your entire staff aware of the risks of the migration project. It’s crucial to establish a website migration team, which would include a system administrator, a developer, a designer, a project manager, copywriters, and a search engine optimization (SEO) specialist. Planning also entails identifying the best web hosting and website management tools for your new site.
Pre-Migration Preparation:- At this stage, you need to define SEO requirements, taking into account your site’s URL structure, meta information, headings, content, sitemaps, structured data, and load time. This involves auditing your top-performing content and setting up web page redirects and domain redirects correctly. Also, you have to update your URL in other places such as your ads on Google, social media accounts, transactional emails, newsletter templates, and offline brochures.
Pre-Migration Testing:- This phase is important before launching, and it involves testing redirects, doing SEO checks, and spotting any issues that have to be addressed. Post-migration testing has to do with ensuring that you have fully functional analytics software and sitemaps.
Launching:- The most anticipated stage is the migration stage or launching. Remove any limitations such as HTTP authentication and robots.txt disallows. Also, update your domain name system (DNS) records to direct them to the new environment.
Post-Migration Review:- Test top-performing web pages, robots.txt directives, and SEO.
Monitoring:- In-depth monitoring is a must because migration entails transferring sensitive data and all of your built efforts from the old to the new website.
Try the following tips when monitoring the migration:
Establish Priority Pages: Monitor and validate web pages with higher traffic, conversion rates, and sales impact.
Solve Potential Issues: Set a test environment to solve any potential issues before launching publicly.
Fix Issues Fast: Use a monitoring system when indexing and tracking crawling, traffic, conversions, and rankings. Update new web pages once they’re released to sort and resolve important issues.
Monitor Your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Doing this ensures that your new website performs properly and aligns with your business metrics. Check the number of web pages indexed for your old website and your new website using Google Search Console. Use XML sitemaps to easily track the indexing process on various sections of your website.
When migrating your website, you should consider your business needs, the costs involved, and the elements you have to monitor. Make sure you don’t leave anything that’s valuable to your traffic, conversion, and sales. Continuous monitoring is also highly recommended since website migration evolves over time with the advancement of technology such as SEO tools, cloud technology, and advanced analytics.