Migrating website is one of the most challenging tasks for SEOs or site owners. Whether you have purchased a new domain with high authority or you want to overcome your competitor, merging or migrating the website is always a daunting task.
One of the major fear of migrating website is losing organic traffic that ultimately leads to revenue loss. So, we need to know what are factors to keep in while migrating website to reduce the problems. Every website has its own properties and challenges, so we have to consider them and carry the process accordingly.
In this article, I am going to explain three checklists (pre-migration, during migration and post migration). But before, here are some most common risks associated with the process of website migration.
- Loss of content generated by the user.
- Loss of traffic and rank.
- Excessive 404 errors degraded user experience.
- Crawl the website
Use screaming frog or any similar tool to crawl the website before you make any changes. The tool will help you in knowing all the current URLs that exist and important information related with each. One can use this data to compare with the new site after migration.
- Identify pages that are no longer needed
Make sure to eliminate pages that you don’t want. If your site has a URL that you don’t want to keep but is pointing to some important page, make sure to redirect 301, to keep the link value.
- Make a custom 404 page
The 404 page should have a link to an existing page (not the home page) to keep visitors on the website.
Benchmark your current rankings and creating new sitemaps are some other checklist that you need to follow before migrating your website.
During migration checklist
- Test URL redirects
It is a very important task to do during migrating website. You need to check each URL whether they are redirecting to new proper URL or not.
- Update internal links
Now the next job is to update all the links that are pointing to a page that is redirected. You need to point all the internal links to their location with proper anchor text.
- Update XML sitemap
The XML sitemap is something that guides search engines about your site. Update a new XML sitemap to Google search engine console. Don’t forget to forget to add a link in robot.txt files. The process helps search engines to know about new URL’s and about URL’s that are not include any more.
- Inspect errors if any
Check out the error reports in Google search console frequently to know about the issues. Don’t ignore 404 and 500 internal error, issues with sitemaps, crawling issues, etc. keep them on high priority and take proper actions to remove them.
- Perform on-page audit
Do an on-page audit of your site to know whether your site is SEO optimized or not. Check out the content and loading speed of your website after migration.
- Perform architecture audit
The architecture audit includes:
- Title tags, meta tags, meta descriptions (appropriate use of H1, H2, H3 and more) should be proper.
- org is implemented properly on all applicable elements.
- Site loading speed (on both desktop and mobile) is good.
It is true, migrating website is really a challenging job. But if you have all the mentioned precautions in all the mentioned stages you can do it with a minimal risk of losing traffic. With right strategies and preparation, definitely, you will see good ranks and organic traffic what they were earlier. Good luck guys!