As your online business is experiencing significant growth, you may encounter limitations with your current Content Management System (CMS) or realize that your URL structure is not optimized for search engines. This is where an SEO migration often becomes necessary. However, there can be pitfalls in executing a website migration. To prevent any unnecessary loss of traffic and conversions, our specialists are here to assist you in creating a clear migration plan. This way, you can ensure a smooth transition without disruptions.
What is a site migration?
A SEO migration is the process of moving a website to a new platform, domain, or making significant changes to its structure, design, or content. When these changes are not implemented correctly, they can have a negative impact on organic search results and traffic to the site.
There are various types of website migrations:
1. Domain migration: Moving the site to a new domain.
2. Platform migration: Shifting the site to a new platform, such as WordPress.
3. URL structure migration: Altering the site’s URL structure, such as adding or removing categories.
4. Protocol migration: Changing from HTTP to HTTPS.
It’s crucial to plan and execute an SEO migration properly to avoid technical errors. Additionally, you want to ensure that the user experience remains uninterrupted through the preparation. A well-prepared and executed migration will also result in a faster and more efficient process, contributing to search engine optimization and higher conversion rates.
Why Perform a Website Migration?
If you choose to carry out an SEO migration, it’s crucial that this is done accurately. After all, you don’t want all your visitors suddenly ending up on 404 pages (a ‘broken page’). At that point, they can’t find what they’re looking for and may leave the entire website. Additionally, search engines aim to ensure that no visitor lands on a 404 page. They do this by removing your 404 pages from the index, which can have a negative impact on your current positions for essential keywords.
Naturally, you want to avoid these negative consequences through a successful SEO migration. For this reason, it’s beneficial to enlist the help of an agency that can assist with the entire migration process.
The Importance of a Successful Site Migration
A successful website migration is crucial for the online performance of your business. A new site provides an opportunity to enhance your online presence and adapt to the changing needs of your audience. However, if the migration is not executed correctly, it can result in a drop in search engine rankings. Therefore, it is essential to carefully plan and execute the migration.
An SEO migration is time-consuming and a complex process, which is why it is helpful to enlist the assistance of an expert. A successful migration ensures that your business continues to grow and stays in sync with the evolving market and technologies.
SEO Migration Checklist
Before we commence with a website migration, we go through several important steps:
1. Baseline Measurement and Goal Setting
- We start with a baseline measurement, which involves crawling the original website and creating a backup of the current site. Important elements such as page titles, meta tags, and alt-tags are backed up.
- Together, we determine the goals of the SEO migration, such as changing the URL structure for improved user experience and increasing organic search traffic.
- Preparation is crucial for a successful SEO migration to avoid unnecessary errors. In this phase, we perform several essential migration tasks:
- Conduct URL mapping: We create a list of current URLs on the site and determine which old URLs should redirect to which new URLs.
- Set up redirects: We configure redirects for old URLs to ensure that visitors and search engines are directed to the correct new pages.
- Gather referral data: Additionally, we collect referral data, such as backlinks, to transfer them to the new website.
3. Website Testing
- To address as many technical issues as possible before the website goes live, we thoroughly test various components. This allows us to resolve potential pitfalls before the website is live.
4. Launch of the New Website
- In this phase, we carry out all activities to make the website live. The website may temporarily receive a 503 error code (service unavailable). This informs search engines that you are making changes to the site, and they will return later to crawl the new website.
5. Site Monitoring
- During the initial weeks after the website migration, we continuously monitor the website. This helps ensure that crawl audit issues are minimized, and we closely track website traffic by page.
- Lastly, we conduct regular analyses to determine if the goals have been achieved and identify any new areas for improvement.
- By diligently following the above steps, we ensure that your website migration proceeds smoothly and that you do not lose search engine rankings or visitors in the process.
The Consequences of a Poor Website Migration
Poor or faulty site migration can have far-reaching consequences for your online visibility and performance. Below are some common consequences of a bad migration:
- Loss of Traffic and Conversions: Without well-planned redirects, a poor migration can result in the loss of traffic and conversions because visitors can’t find what they’re looking for.
- Poor User Experience: If the new site is slow or doesn’t function properly, it can lead to a bad user experience. For example, visitors may bounce if a page has a long load time.
- Search Engine Penalties: In some cases, a bad migration can result in penalties from search engines, causing your site to rank lower in search results or even be completely removed from search results.
Therefore, it’s crucial to thoroughly plan and execute your website migration. The specialists at Seeders can assist you in ensuring that your website continues to perform well, and you retain your conversions.
Outsourcing Your SEO Migration to Seeders
Our specialists have years of experience in SEO migrations and have successfully migrated multiple domains. We understand the importance of returning to at least the same level as before the website migration. Seeders is here to assist you in carrying out a website migration. Invest in a successful website migration and take the first step towards online growth!
Niels Krikke is the Corporate Marketing Manager for Seeders Group, managing all marketing and communication efforts for all Seeders offices across the globe. Niels’s specializations include branding, copywriting & SEO.