Web Development: An SEO Migration Checklist
An SEO Migration Checklist to Help You Avoid a Traffic Disaster
Your business is finally at a place where you’re ready for a redesign of your old, tired website. Only one problem, as ugly as your site is it generates quite a bit of traffic. How do you migrate your site without losing rankings and traffic?
Whether you’re rebranding or consolidating web properties, it’s vital that you monitor SEO factors like crawling, indexing, rankings, traffic and web conversions. Keeping a watchful eye on your analytics will help you catch and fix issues before they become problems.
Keep your rankings. Here’s your SEO migration checklist.
After migrating your site, check to see if the URLs can be crawled in the new web location. All pages and resources should be accessible at their new addresses. It’s important to establish 301 redirects from the old URL to the new one and test them to ensure there are no broken links.
SEO crawlers like Screaming Frog and SEMRush can assist with this portion of the migration. These programs mimic the search crawler’s behavior. Website log files are another place you can check this.
Scheduling crawls is helpful, especially the days before and after your site migration.
Monitor new pages and resources for indexing. This can be achieved with the new Google Search Console by adding the old and new web location in the migration as independent sites to track. In the new Index Coverage Report, you can see which pages have been indexed from your new site location and which ones have been forgotten.
Monitor your old site for a loss of rankings and track traffic trends. Keep track of popular search queries, and where your site ranks now versus before. It will take time, but it’s important to keep track in case your site requires additional actions to rank for your top converting terms again.
Traffic is the best indicator of your migration’s failure or success. Monitor your organic search traffic and conversions in Google Analytics. Also keep track of user behaviors like bounce rates, time on site, conversion rate and revenue per page – they should be relatively the same.
Hopefully these metrics will improve now that you have a better design and user experience.
Website migrations can be a scary thing, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t rebrand or redesign your site. With this SEO migration checklist you’ll be in a position to preserve your traffic. As long as the migration is performed correctly, and you track performance carefully, you should maintain traffic and eventually see improved site behaviors.
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