If you’re looking at a website migration, you’re looking at something that could have huge consequences on the success of your site. How to redesign a website without losing SEO?
Looking over data, reviews, historical site movements, and the like can have you in serious fright. The internet sometimes likes to make things a little scarier than they need to be.
Site migrations can be damaging. They can also be for a really great reason and lead to huge booms in the success of your site.
The key to successfully migrating is understanding why you’re doing it, planning, and having patience.
What is a Website Migration?
You’re here, so you’re likely aware of the basics of site migration, but we’ll give a brief overview of what a website migration is.
People might decide to migrate if they see a potential benefit in changing domains or undergoing some kind of structural change to their website. The migration may even be necessary in some cases.
The term “migration” is also misleading and under-representative of the work that it involves. Whether you’re changing domains, formatting a new website template, merging your mobile and desktop sites, or pretty much reformatting or rearranging your site in any way, the term “website migration” applies.
That’s why it’s such a terrifying term. Some of those things are simpler and safer than others. So, depending on your personal situation, don’t fall into a panic before you fully understand what you’re getting into!
What are the Risks?
The main, most important downfall of restructuring a website is the hit that its SEO ratings will take. SEO optimization is strategically organized and fine-tuned and can be critically damaged when a site undergoes changes. So, how to redesign a website without losing SEO?
If you have an SEO expert working for you, make sure to keep them informed on the restructuring that you plan to do, and make sure to take their advice on how to best navigate the change.
If you don’t have an SEO expert working on your site, pre-website migration is an excellent time to hire one. These are individuals who understand the ins and outs of search engine optimization, and their advice could make or break your site post-migration.
The restructuring of a website involves a good deal of layered changes. Things like website design, coding, urls and link arrangement all affect the way that your site will fair after the transition.
What are the Possible Benefits?
You’re probably migrating for a good reason, because why would anyone risk their success if there wasn’t a good reason to?
An effective migration can be the greatest thing for your website and consequently your business. Your site can be opened up to new audiences, increased traffic, functionality, and more.
Many companies choose to execute a website migration in order to increase user safety, move to a mobile platform, or merge mobile and desktop sites for functionality.
Maybe you’ve merged with another, larger company, but you still need to maintain your own independence and brand. This can be a huge financial opportunity, but if you want to merge sites, you’ll need to go through a site migration.
Website migrations are usually laborious, difficult things to go through for a company. There’s always a chance for improvement on the other side, though, so plan carefully and you’ll have good outcomes.
How to Plan for a Website Migration
You can have an effective migration with website migration SEO checklist. It is definitely possible. The most important thing that you can do in this process is, value the input of experts.
Your bottom line should be to retain the same level of traffic that you had before the migration. Ideally, you’ll improve your SEO results after a period of recovery, but at the very least you want to get back to where you were from the beginning.
You’re going to need to take the website migration out in chunks and have the stages of operation fleshed out before you begin making any serious moves forward.
Get input right away. Whether or not you have an SEO expert on your team, consult one from the get-go and value their input in each step of the process with website migration seo checklist.
Next, identify your goals. What do you intend to get out of the migration, and how do you intend to get those things? Don’t dive into a 6-month ordeal and wing it the whole way through.
Having specific goals is imperative because there are going to be employees depending on your insight and working under your order. Whoever is affected by any aspect of the website that is changing will need to be kept in the loop and in contact with your SEO expert.
Anyone who manages website design, content, SEO, or user experience, as well as anyone who works for those people, will be affected by the change. Depending on the project, you will need to identify steps and goals for each of these areas.
Schedule progress reports for these individuals and make sure that everyone is present to coordinate and confirm that the functionality and traffic of the site are going to be maintained.
Beyond the concrete planning of the operation, you’ll want to envision what may happen after the migration occurs. You’re going to have a period of low traffic. That’s just going to happen.
Plan to take a hit, and don’t lose your mind when the traffic isn’t flowing in one week after the operation takes place. Everything needs time to grow and recover, just like a muscle that tears as it’s being worked out.
You’ll also want to take note of all information on your site that you want to be transferred to the new one. Make sure that you don’t lose any of your content or links in the shift.
Additionally, take note of all of the things that may be affecting your search engine traffic before the migration takes place. Audit your strengths and weaknesses in the SEO aspect of your site so that you can chart how well the migration affects traffic.
What to do After the Migration
Granted that the migration went well, you’ll want to give your website a few weeks before you can accurately gage its effect on your SEO results.
Once you’ve given it some time, identify the strengths and weaknesses. Are you experiencing any growth, or have numbers stagnated far below what they were before the migration?
There are usually a huge number of changes during the site migration process. Your site has undergone a large shift in formatting and organization- some things are bound to get missed or mistaken.
Things like coding errors, server malfunctions, URL redirects, and the like are all par for the course with website migrations. Many of the inbound links that your site boasted before the migration may now have different URLs, making them useless to you and your site.
In fact, much of the value in your link network may be diminished because of the fact that the links now don’t lead anywhere. This is something that you should consider before you migrate.
Have an SEO expert analyze your link network, including all of your inbound links, duplicate links, and URLs and make sure that they’re maintained after the changes take place.
This is where you’re going to lose a lot of the hard-earned SEO results that brought you success in the first place.
Another thing to consider is the effect that your migration has had on the end user. Users should be thought of throughout the whole website migration process, and have a huge effect on the success of the website in any case.
Depending on the reason for migrating, the user will have varying degrees of change before and after the website alterations.
If your site is experiencing less traffic after your migration, consider not only the link network but the possibility that your users are experiencing difficulty navigating the site.
Perform user experience tests before and after the website migration in order to gauge the value that the shift has for the user. After all is said and done, your main user base is the bread and butter of your organization.
A final tip to mitigating damages after a website migration is to ensure that all of the previous links to your site are now adjusted to the updated versions. Things like google listings, social media platforms, and references from other sites are easy to forget when you have the more important things to worry about.
Better Safe Than Sorry
Ultimately, you want to have a distinct and manageable plan before you make any serious changes to your site. Consult an SEO expert on how to redesign a website without losing SEO, get in contact with all employees who are affected by the change, and draw out concrete plans for how you’ll carry out the migration.
Remember to take inventory of all of your pre-migration SEO assets. This will ensure that you can accurately gauge the before-and-after results of your website migration.
This can be a tricky process, and it’s imperative that you have help all the way through. Follow the website migration SEO checklist and save your old SEO.