With the progression and technological advances of businesses, a lot has been witnessed with the user-behavior shift, website owners, and marketers that rise with an eventual experience and challenges that come with website migration that is SEO friendly. What looks like a straightforward task, when burdened with an error, may look like leakage in the pipe- it’s small, at times avoidable but can lead to a chaotic mess. In SEO, website migration is essential but is stressful to carry out and oftentimes they are executed badly. Website migration is a necessity when making some changes to the domain name or tasking out larger site design projects, a precise and thorough migration can lay out the path of bigger benefits for organic search, designing implementations, and improved user experience.
Developing a new website is a long, tedious process and the next scary step is, ‘data migration’, clients often get overwhelmed at this stage. This article will examine the exact meaning of a site migration, the impact of it when done incorrectly, considerations a website should have while carrying out, and the importance of this step in SEO.
Website Migration- What is it?
A website migration redirects your old/existing web page data to new pages and aims to reduce any negative impact on the rankings that have occurred due to the new changes made to the website. Coining in SEO terms, any functional changes made to the structural URL of a site, the move is stirred as a migration.
When the Website Moves Into a New CMS
Switching to another content management system (or CMS) is the most preferred step of the migration, it is essentially a web application that is layered on top of the core database that stores all types of information that one wants on a website. The most common platforms for this action are WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal.
The importance of moving to a particular CMS is, without it, a custom-built, complex coded website is difficult to manage. One requires a specialty and niche knowledge to make even the smallest of changes. Moving a website from one CMS to another has a clear set of advantages and benefits.
For instance, a small business owner chose to develop a customized website from a freelance developer, as it was cheaper, but with some advancement in the company, it is best advised to opt for common CMS like WordPress at the time of redesigning the website.
Unsuccessful Website Migration
When website migration is carried out in a wrong way, it could lead to a massive loss to your rankings and traffic and all that is added to the pile of lost business when the website goes live. When you migrate the data of your website and there has been some dust and trail left, even though the old pages no longer exist from the website but Google stores everything. If a user clicks on the search results, and they see an empty shop with no operational ladder- they will switch to another website that works.
Purpose of Website Migration
One is aware of the complexities of website migration and one does really need to have a tiger’s eye to take it on. As a website owner, one faces numerous occasions where website migration is the only option left:
- Changing the website’s structure, navigation or the look
Working on the design should be undertaken when the conversions are weaker or you feel that the customer’s journey on the website isn’t as smooth as it should be. This is where one should start working on to resolve any design or website issues.
When you have a website on an outdated platform, it can be proven disruptive to both you and your audience leading to loss of sales. Opting for a right CMS is inevitable but always keep in mind that every website has a different approach. Always think if moving to a different technology is the only option left and enhances the current setup.
In this technological advancement, mobile indexing and ratio of mobile to desktop traffic are taken into consideration when optimizing for mobile platforms. Analyze your audience preference, costing before you create a different stage of mobile-specific experience
Executing the HTTPS protocol on your website is crucial from a security standpoint, the absence of it can negatively affect the user experience due to pop up for an unsecured page on most browsers. Switching to HTTPS on the first hand should be taken into consideration; especially the ones that store information.
Thinking of rebranding and getting your hands on a better URL is obvious, but this one shouldn’t be made on a lighter note as changing the domain name is a big decision.
If one thinks that the server’s performance is compliant to your hosting conditions, jumping to another host is the only option left. Take thorough time and energy in researching the right host.
Types of Migration
Protocol change: Migrating a website from HTTP to HTTPS for security reasons is a prime example of protocol change
Subdomain or subfolder change: When a company opts to move from one ccTLDs into subdomains and subfolders
Change of domain: This is a step in case of rebranding when one switches from one domain to another.
Top-level domain change: This is in case of business expansion overseas or limited to certain countries.
Change in site: This is for the improvement of the layout that affects the internal references and URL structure of the page.
Replatforming: This is a change of CMS, moving the website to a particular website, for instance, switching from WordPress to Shopify.
Mobile setup changes: It is about shifting to a mobile setup, indexing the applications, or even creating a PWA website, and are often called partial website migrations.
Content migration: It is the process of rewriting, consolidating, or processing the content that impacts the visibility of organic search.
Redesigns: It encompasses anything and everything from minor design to complete website revisions, covering major changes in coding and copying.
Dos and Don’ts of Website Migration
- Creating a backup of the existing and new website
There are times when files are often lost during the transition phase and having a backup helps in creating the process smoothly. Choosing the backup file is simple and often doesn’t take long.
- 301 redirect old URLs to new URLs
301 redirects give page value to the new URL, it prevents broken links in the content that has occurred due to migration.
Meta elements are title tags and meta descriptions, they have core SEO value. When one fails to transfer these, it can lead to loss of rankings and traffic.
- Removing ‘no-indexing’ and ‘no follow tags’
When building a website one has to host the website on a server and in case of no-index, no-follow of the unfinished content or layout will not be crawled or indexed by search engines. One needs to remove these tags when the new site goes live. Even though it is the common step, as it is hidden in the code and is often discovered after the drop in Analytics.
- Testing ‘all contact forms, thank you pages and conversion codes’
The goal of the website is to drive traffic and leads and in case your contact forms are not functioning properly, this is where the leads will not overturn. Conversion codes and thank you pages should be tested to track properly for the accuracy.
Don’ts when migrating your website
Ensure that the new site isn’t live until it has been reviewed. One should check a number of things to set mark the accuracy, which includes:
- Checking the links
- Analysis and verification of the title tags and meta descriptions
- Testing contact forms
- See that all content and designed pictures are placed correctly on the new page
- Confirmation of the URL structure and 301 redirections that are set up correctly
The issues of formatting often occur with new designs, one should check every page to review the formatting error.
- Take care of the tracking code
For a successful website marketing campaign, tracking code is the key, in case it is removed, one wouldn’t be able to work on traffic and end up losing on valuable data. There are times when it can go unnoticed for weeks and months and removal can lead to losing a lot of valuable information.
Do You Need to Rebrand or Optimize Your Website?
Are you thinking of migrating your website to a newer platform or developing a new website? Lookout for website migration processes that are comprehensive and provide all aspects of website migration that are created with aspects of analytics, SEO, and conversion rate.