The words “site migration” get tossed around a lot for a number of different website upgrades. There’s the completely new site and there’s the refresh or site improvement, which might consist of a new look-and-feel, the addition (and subtraction) of some pages, and so on. Regardless of the site migration you are planning, it can be a daunting task.
There are a number of different items that you need to plan for including:
- URL structure
- Navigational changes
- Redirection strategy
- Header tag adjustments
- Site linking
These are just the basics; the list goes on. How does all this affect your search engine optimization (SEO)?
Even if you’ve never held much stock in search engine optimization strategy and tactics (and I get that there are naysayers out there), if you’re site’s been around for any length of time it likely ranks on key terms and phrases that help people navigate your way. Depending on the type of site upgrade you’re making, the changes that inherently come with any site alteration can potentially have a big impact on whether you retain your current search engine rankings. Navigation changes, new page elements, URL naming; all of these can change in a new site, opening a potential hole through which your search engine traffic (and possible new business) can escape.
We once worked with a client that had well over a thousand broken links, most the result of two website migrations that they undertook without a clear strategy in place. So where do you start?
Good question! Start first with understanding what your website SEO objectives are while planning the migration, since these objectives will decide the focus elements in the overall SEO plan during migration. Typical objectives include:
- Minimizing traffic loss
- Minimizing ranking drops
- Key rankings maintenance
- Head traffic maintenance
- Covering additional keywords for traffic improvements
- Eliminating non-performers /undesired / change focus
With a clear understanding of your SEO objectives you’re ready to start the website migration process. That said it’s important to follow a smart set of migration best practices to ensure success and we have just the tool you’ll need – our new eBook, 15 SEO Best Practices for Website Migration Success.
The eBook covers best practices for URL structure and navigation; how best to set up your new site, when and how best to handle redirects, and how to define the canonical tag. We cover Meta data, content and media objects as well as sitemaps and links. More importantly, we show you ways to accomplish these best practices and things to avoid. We also cover some checks to perform after your new site goes live, to make sure that it’s running as it should.
Website migrations can be a very daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Arm yourself with the right information before you begin, and you can pave the way for success. You can also contact Digital C4. We handle the full gamut of SEO needs necessary for a successful website migration.
Download the eBook or contact us today!