Site Migration best practices to protect your traffic & search rankings
Migrating your website can be tricky, but with sufficient planning and constant monitoring, it is possible to migrate successfully and with a minimal chance of things going wrong. Site migrations can involve a wide range of changes to the set-up of a website. Let’s list the common types of site migrations:
- Domain name changes: from bestdomain.com to betterdomain.com
- HTTP protocol changes: from http to https
- URL clean-ups: from /shop/product-1 to /shop/dancing-cactus/
- TLD (Top Level Domain) changes: from domain.eu to domain.com
- Merging content: from multiple pages to one page
- Merging websites: from 2 or more websites to 1
- Subdomain and subfolder: from myfavoritesite.blog (subdomain) to myfavoritesite.com/blog (subfolder)
The different types of site migrations
Site migrations of any kind can be complex projects to undertake. Especially for large websites containing hundreds of thousands of pages. It is crucial that you carry out the migration process properly if you want to prevent your website from losing traffic due to changes in search engine results.
Let’s draw up a checklist that you can use when migrating your website, and explain each step of the process in detail:
- Planning and scoping a site migration project
- Pre-migration preparation
- Pre-migration testing
- On the day support
- Post migration
1. Planning and scoping a site migration project
Website migrations should be scheduled during a seasonal low in website traffic. Even if you go through the whole checklist, there’s still a potential risk of losing some traffic. You don’t want to put yourself at risk.
2. Pre-migration preparation
Identify your priority URLs. This can be done by crawling your existing website, reviewing data from your analytics platforms, examining your backlink data, …
The next step is to map URLs. Let’s map where URLs will be moving to and what new redirects might be required.
3. Pre-migration testing
Make sure your staging site is blocked from all search engines. The next step is to audit the staging site for redirects.
4. On the day support
Redirection rules may work in your staging environment, but when they go live, they may break or be redirected to the wrong URL. Crawl your priority URL list for checking technical problems, followed by performing a full site crawl.
5. Post migration
After a migration, the project is not complete. In the weeks to follow, you will want to schedule a crawl of the website on a regular basis.
Do you need help with migrating your website content, (sub)domain or website in general?
Let BATMAN guide you through the process or let us take care of this phased project. Along with advice from our SEO professionals we’ll be making sure that there’s no traffic drop or potential loss of conversion.