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6 Steps for a Highly Effective SEO-Optimised Website Migration

12 Oct 2023
Website Migration

1. Introduction

Websites are like living organisms you know, constantly adapting to new environments. The best example? The animal kingdom keeps migrating to the perfect environment year-round. Today, we delve into one of the most crucial phases of a website’s life – migration.

Website migration might sound like a complex undertaking, but in this blog, we’ll break down the process, offering you a comprehensive and detailed understanding of what website migration is, why it matters, and how to execute it flawlessly!

2. Step 1 - You need to know what website migration is.

Before diving into the technical details, let’s grasp the concept of website migration. Think of it as relocating your business to a new office space. Just as you’d plan a move meticulously, website migration is the structured process of moving your website from one location to another – be it a new domain, a different server, or a complete redesign.

Why it matters: SEO and user experience lie at the core of website migration. Done right, it can improve your search engine rankings, enhance user engagement, and ultimately, drive more traffic to your site.

3. Step 2 - Understand the types of website migrations

3.1 Domain change

Moving your website to a new domain, such as from “oldwebsite.com” to “newwebsite.com.”

3.2 HTTP to HTTPS

Transitioning from an unsecured HTTP site to a secure HTTPS site.

3.3 Platform or CMS change

Switching your content management system (e.g., WordPress to Drupal).

3.4 Redesign or Restructuring

Giving your website a makeover, which often includes changes in URL structure and content organisation.

3.5 Subdomain to Subdirectory

Shifting content from a subdomain (e.g., blog.example.com) to a subdirectory (e.g., example.com/blog).

Why it matters: Recognising the type of migration you’re undertaking is crucial, as each comes with its unique set of challenges and considerations.

4. Step 3 - You need this SEO checklist handy before migrating!

Now, let’s delve into the heart of SEO website migration:

4.1 Thorough Planning

Start by creating a detailed migration plan, outlining every step from start to finish.

4.2 Backup your data

Never proceed without a backup of your website’s data and content.

4.3 301 Redirects

Implement 301 redirects for old URLs to the corresponding new ones. This is vital for preserving SEO equity.

4.4 Update Internal Links

Ensure all internal links point to the new URLs

4.5 XML Sitemap and Robots.txt

Update these files to reflect the changes and submit them to search engines.

4.6 Check Page Speed

Optimise images and code to maintain or improve page loading times.

4.7 Check Page Speed

Optimise images and code to maintain or improve page loading times.

4.8 Mobile-Friendly Design

Make sure your new site is responsive and mobile-friendly.

4.9 SSL Certificate

If migrating to HTTPS, ensure your SSL certificate is correctly installed.

4.10 Monitor Crawl Errors

Keep an eye on Google Search Console for any crawl errors.

Why it Matters: Failing to check off any of these items can have a detrimental impact on your SEO rankings and user experience.

4.11 Content Audit & Migration

Establish a content migration plan to maintain consistency in page titles and meta descriptions, preventing the risk of losing your search rankings when making changes.

Contact our team to explore our SEO Agency services, designed to enhance your website’s search engine rankings.

5. Step 4 - Understand how it affects the User experience

5.1 User Testing

Before and after migration, conduct thorough user testing to identify and fix any usability issues.

5.2 Communicate Changes

Inform your audience about the migration and any temporary disruptions in services. Transparency builds trust.

5.3 Monitor Bounce Rate

A significant increase in bounces may indicate problems. So keep an eye on the bounce rate after migration

Why it matters: A positive user experience is essential for retaining your audience and converting visitors into customers.

6. Step 5 - It's not over yet! Post-migration analysis -

Continuously analysing and optimising your site will keep you ahead in the digital game.

6.1 SEO Auditing

Regularly audit your website to identify and rectify any SEO issues that may arise post-migration.

6.2 Monitor Rankings and Traffic

 Keep an eye on your search engine rankings and website traffic to ensure they’re on track.

6.3 301 Redirect Cleanup

As old URLs get deindexed, consider cleaning up unnecessary 301 redirects on the new website

6.4 CRO

Enhance your new website’s conversions and user experience by implementing CRO strategies. Reach out to our team to learn more about our CRO Agency services, which can assist you in boosting website conversions.

7. Step 6: Handling Technical Challenges

Website migration can sometimes throw unexpected technical challenges your way and these technical aspects can significantly impact your website’s performance and user experience.

7.1 Server Performance

If you’re changing servers, ensure your new hosting provider can handle your website’s traffic. Monitor server performance closely after migration to catch any issues.

7.2 URL Changes

When altering URL structures, be prepared for potential 404 errors. Implement a custom 404 page and monitor for broken links.

7.3 Database Errors

 If your website relies on a database, ensure a smooth transition. Test database connections thoroughly to avoid data loss.

7.4 Content Duplication

Prevent content duplication issues by setting canonical tags and handling duplicate content effectively.

7.5 Monitoring Tools

Use SEO monitoring tools to keep track of your website’s health post-migration. Tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console are your best friends.

7.6 Get support from right experts

Reach out to the Digitxl team to get the right support for your migration. We have certified developers, analytics and consultants who know what they are doing and have helped 100s of other businesses with similar migrations. Alternatively you can explore more experts on sites like DesignRush.

Remember that website migration is not a one-size-fits-all process! You may identify additional steps to enhance the migration process beyond the list above, these steps provide a solid foundation to begin with.