Welcome to the age of digitalization, where the main focus seems to have shifted from self-promotion to value delivery. People who aren’t maintaining with this might have tons to lose. We all have infinite potential, but only some people make the most of what we’ve. Either you have got two sites you want to combine or your brand purchases a new domain, acquired a competitor, or perhaps thinks of merging the two; the question is how to achieve the unattainable fruit? Despite everything, the migration of the website can be extremely daunting sometimes. With so much at stake, owners often find it easy to place things off.
However, it’s very crucial to know that any migration has the very best possibility of experiencing a dip in rankings and traffic temporarily. But digging a bit deeper, the advantages are more plentiful. Let’s look on the brighter side!
Imagine a situation where you get to merge two domains owned by the same brand; say, for instance, migrating a blog on a subdomain to the leading site. At the initial stage, you may encounter an extended-term increase in rankings and traffic, as people will be ready to find the content they’re looking for easily. And in fact, you don’t need to worry about managing different domains anymore.
How Not To Ruin Your Brand’s Visibility in the Search Engines?
Simple, consider site migration! The below blog comprises a checklist that one should stick to before conducting an ultimate website migration. But before we delve inside, let’s take a touch of a detour and start with:
- What is a site migration?
- Types of site migration
- How to conduct a successful site migration?
What is Site Migration?
Mainly utilized by SEO professionals, site migration is as an occasion whereby a website undergoes specific substantial changes in areas, especially those which will significantly affect search engine visibility right from site’s location to platform, structure, content, design, or UX.
According to Google, site migration isn’t something that covers things in-depth and downplays the very fact that so often, it would lead to significant traffic and revenue loss and love it or not, but this is often something which could last from some weeks to many months. Everything depends on how badly the search engine ranking signals are affected. And also, how long it might take the affected business to rollout a successful recovery plan.
Types of Site Migration
You will come across a broad range of site migrations. Choosing the correct one always depends on the nature of the changes that occur.
However, Google’s documentation mostly covers migrations with site location changes, those that can be categorized as follows:
Site moves with URL changes –
These typically occur when a website moves to a unique URL may be because of several variations such as:
Protocol change – It is when migrating from HTTP to HTTPS.
Subdomain or subfolder change – It is where a business decides to move one or more ccTLDs into subdomains or subfolders. It is often also said when a mobile site sits on a separate subdomain or subfolder becomes responsive, and both desktop and mobile URLs are uniformed.
Domain name change –
Here’s when a business is rebranding and requires switching from one domain to another.
Top-level domain change – Again, launching a global website that has to move from a ccTLD to a gTLD or contrariwise. as an example , moving from .co.uk to .com, or moving from .com to .co.uk and so on.
Site structure changes – They are changes that take place to the site architecture that typically impacts the site’s internal linking and URL structure.
When a website gets moved from one platform to another, for probably upgrading to the newest platform version or maybe migrating, there are times when this could lead to design and URL changes the numerous ones due to technical limitations. And this can be why re-platforming migrations come to the rescue! It can rarely lead to a website that looks precisely the same as the previous one.
Content migration –
the bulk of content changes like content rewrites, content consolidation, or content pruning can have a significant impact on a site’s organic search visibility, depending on the scale. Like it or not, such changes made also can result in the site’s taxonomy, navigation, and internal linking.
Mobile setup changes – With numerous options around, you’ll be able to enable app indexing, building an AMP site, or building a PWA website. These are partial site migrations, especially when an existing mobile site is getting replaced by an app, AMP, or PWA.
Structural changes –
It is mainly due to significant changes to the site’s taxonomy that impact site navigation, internal linking, and user journeys.
Site redesigns – this point can vary from significant design changes within the look and feel to an entire website revamp, which might also include significant media, code, and duplicate changes.
Hybrid migrations –
it’s going to interest you to know that several hybrid migration types get often combined in practically any way possible. As soon as you start introducing more changes, the complexity and, therefore, the risk becomes higher. Also, making too many changes at the same time increases the chances of something going wrong. I mean, think from the resources perspective- it would seem quite cost-effective; when the migration is exceptionally well-planned and executed.
Before conducting site migration, let us understand why there’s a necessity for site migration.
1. Safer website set up
Changing from an “HTTP” to “HTTPS” is one of the essential reasons to think about website migration. Besides, it indicates to your website visitors as well as Google that handling sensitive information like credit card numbers and private data isn’t any big deal for your website. For non-techies, it’s very crucial to understand, Google itself prefers “https” websites; one single change positively impacts your site rankings to a great extent.
Businesses tend to rebrand their websites at regular intervals. Their main objective to begin from scratch with a brand new domain name. As soon as these things get done, they migrate all of their current web site’s content to a new website with the new domain.
3. Changing the CMS platform
For many reasons, small businesses may conclude that using a different content management system like WordPress or Magento is often a far better fit. In this case, they end up building a website on a different CMS and migrate their content to the new platform.
Website Migration Process Explained
To migrate your site, you are required to create a plan and performing an SEO audit on your old site. The following step is to redirect all old URLs to the new site’s content and replace internal URLs on your new website. Confirm you seek the assistance of Google when it comes to indexing your site and monitoring performance to ensure success. For appropriate guidance, here, I will be able to be using WordPress as your CMS platform.
Step #1- Create a Migration Plan
Much like any other project, an idea is paramount to successful follow-through. So, first and foremost, you need to decide why you would like to migrate your website and, most vital of all, when will the migration occurs. Also, get a clear idea upon who will complete required tasks such as:
The deadlines for those tasks.
The impact of missed deadlines.
And in fact, who might take over if those people cannot perform their roles for any reason.
Jot Down Objectives
Get to know where you’re migrating your website. For instance, note whether you’re migrating as a part of the rebranding. Or perhaps if you’re moving to a different content management system, somewhat like upgrading to an “https” domain from an “HTTP” domain, or if you’re migrating for some other reason. So, ensure you identify your objective prior. By doing this, you’ll be able to develop the following plan elements like
- Migration timing
- The roles needed
- Choosing the right experts to carry out those roles
- Determine migration tasks in prior
Make a listing of a precise bunch of functions that are necessary to complete website migration. Let’s say, for example; you may need to set up Google Analytics for the new website, after that;
- Do an SEO audit of the website right before your migration
- Determine top performing pages
- Define analytics performance on the old site
- Set up a redirect map and redirect URLs from the old site to the new
- Monitor new website performance
- Assign roles to team members
So now that you just have a listing of tasks required to complete your website migration, time to assign the team members who are going to be responsible for each, including what we expect of them and, therefore, the deadlines they need to hit. Also, don’t forget to say what could be the impact of these expectations aren’t met.
Step #2 – Generate Site Link & Analytics Reports WordPress Free Tools for Maintaining Your Website
To verify the links on your new site are correct, you need to generate a list of existing connections and an updated analytics report. They can be used to confirm that your new site links rightly map to your old site links. Also, remember to export your old site’s analytics. All you’ve got to do is:
- Click the behavior tab.
- Go to “Site Content” and “All Pages.”
- Click the “Day,” “Week,” or “Month” buttons to get an overview of your website’s traffic during these time frames.
- Click the “Export” button, then a format (PDF, Google Sheets, Excel, or CSV).
Step #3 – Hide New Site from Google Search Engines
It’s vital to stop your new site from being crawled by Google’s search bots prematurely. Imagine a situation when a user happens to stumble across an in-construction website; it could hurt your brand image. Just in case if you’ve got republished content on the new site, Google may rank it before it’s ready, potentially affecting your placement in search engine results. So ensure you’re able to hide your site until it’s available, access your CMS settings and choose the suitable selection for protecting your site. Alternately, use a plugin.