Site migrations don’t have to be stressful, and can benefit your search presence and improve on-site conversion with the right migration strategy.
SEO migration is the practice of transferring the search rankings, site authority and link structure due to a major change, such as a new platform.
A site migration is a change which may affect their search visibility or authority of a site, such as moving to a new platform or domain.
Depending on the amount of data and complexity of the website, a migration can take anything from 30 minutes to a few hours.
From an SEO perspective, if a URL change affects all pages on a website, this is deemed a migration.
It isn’t too hard to find examples of site migrations that have resulted in a loss of traffic, so it’s understandable that many sites may approach the process with some concern. After all, a fall in search rankings can have immediate impacts on site revenue, and can take time to recover from.
One common reason for issues with site migration is a failure to consider SEO during the migration process.
When this happens, pages which previously ranked highly for valuable terms can disappear from the rankings, and missing links and redirects can dismantle a lot of the good work that search teams have carried out over time.
However, with the right migration strategy, there’s no need to fear change. Indeed, it can deliver improvements to search visibility through improved site structure for example, and a new platform or website can be more effective in terms of converting site visitors.
Considering SEO at every stage of the strategy is key, so that decisions on site architecture, internal linking, taxonomy and so on involve input from someone with SEO expertise. It can help to have a project manager overseeing the migration, and taking input from search teams.
Redirects need to be put in place so you can preserve and even improve on your existing site structure, enabling Google to index your site efficiently post-migration.
Throughout, it’s important to use data to analyse site performance before, during and after migration. This allows you to set a benchmark and to be able to spot any negative effects and respond quickly, It can also help you to identify new opportunities, and to measure the success, in terms of SEO, that results from a migration.
SEO should be the cornerstone of any website migration
SEO is not the icing on the cake – it’s a key ingredient. You can’t just “SEO” your migration retrospectively – the damage will already have been done to your visibility!
Don’t always believe the ‘Old migratory myth’ and don’t accept that you will incur a loss in traffic before you’ve already begun!
See your website migration as an opportunity, optimise throughout and utilise data before, during and after, to achieve the best results.