Site Migration Checklist

SEO Checklist For Successful Website Migration

SEO Checklist For Successful Website Migration

What is Site Migration?

The internet is an ever evolving place so to keep up a site should also be subjected to change periodically, this periodic change is known as site Migration.

Generally site Migration has an tendency in creating a loss in revenue and traffic and it is impossible to entirely migrate without losing any traffic or revenue, however this can be avoided if every single step is well planned and executed.

The major difference between an unsuccessful and successful site Migration depends considerably on the amount of time and resources invested on understanding the new platform and formulating a successful recovery plan if your business gets affected.

So, the following is the 7-step guide for an successful site Migration, they are all equally important and skipping any of the below guidelines could hinder the migration’s success to varying extend.

Step 1: Pre-Launch Planning

Outlining clear objectives based on site Migration will help you to set and manage expectations, disregarding the reasons behind a site Migration, clarifying aspirations on the early stages will help in the long run.

Also a site Migration is a great opportunity to address issues within the existing design, identifying the existing issues and rectifying them will provide better results moreover classify and catalogue the potential risk that could have a negative impact and forecasting scenarios based on these risks can help in taking precautions.

Step 2: Preparing Specifications

The under development phase is most vital considering developing and reviewing prototypes among designers and information architects and identifying both SEO and UX issues based on the provided feedback.

Once the prototypes have been reviewed, prepare a detailed SEO specification document, the Main objective behind this is to capture all the essentials and fundamentals that developers need to address during the project development, if some of the SEO requirements is not specified, it may be impossible to include them later.

Step 3: Testing

Testing will provide better insights into issues that are not visible in the development phase, such as identifying customer journey issues or content related inconsistencies between the old and new site and the earlier the test is carried out the more useful it will be moreover identifying technical issues such as redirects, canonical tags or xml site maps at a later stage isn’t cost effective and would result in wastage of resource and time, finally poor testing and not allowing required time for testing might affect the SEO and UX performance.

Step 4: Tracking Analytics

Analytics is important to envision both the progress and the impact, having no analytics data after the new site launch can be devastating so make sure the analytics tracking is setup properly and are carried out by specialist in analytics consulting.

Step 5: Launch Activities

When an new site has gone live at initial stages it will be temporarily down, the Main factor is that the down time should be kept minimum and importantly when an search engine crawler crawls the site for maintenance it should respond with 503 (service unavailable) so the crawler may come back later otherwise organic search visibility will be affected negatively and recovery will not be easy and instant.

As soon as a new site is live, the spot checks like the robot.txt file, top pages direct and top server response check are needed to be carried out on both the mobile and desktop sites.

Another key operation is to test & upload xml site map, set the preferred location of the domain, configure the URL parameters to tackle any potential duplicate content issues.

Step 6: Post-Launch Analysis

In the world of online, the work is never done, once a new site is live, a new set of checks should be done, only difference is that extensive level of data and tools you have in access, the quicker the issue is resolved the better otherwise even a minor issue will directly impact the site’s performance in search results.

With the assistance of search console feature, you can test certain areas in greater detail like crawl stats on the search console to make sure Google is crawling the new site’s pages and reviewing server logs can help you effectively spot any crawl issues and other search console features checking include mobile usability errors, HTML improvements, International targeting and block resources checking.

And the cornerstone in POST-LAUNCH analysis is checking the site’s speed, because site speed is a ranking signal across devices, a slow loading page loses rankings and users whereas a site is loading fast on both desktop and mobile devices will rank better so compare the new site speed with old site’s speed, if the new site is slow take immediate action.

Step 7: Measuring Migration Performance

Analytics is important to envision both the progress and the impact, having no analytics data after the new site launch can be devastating so make sure the analytics tracking is setup properly and are carried out by specialist in analytics consulting.

Site Migration simple though complex sometimes, the key is figuring out a factual and foolproof procedure and a flawless execution, any misstep may backfire immediately and can severely affect your long term run online and if you think you are not up to the task, it is never too late to hire a digital marketing agency or a reputed expert to do the work.

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