Website Migration SEO Checklist

by | Sep 25, 2018 | SEO

It is always very exciting launching a new UX/UI for your site. Unfortunately many companies don’t budget for a necessary SEO migration.

Because of widespread confusion around site migrations, Google recently updated its site move guidelines in Webmaster Tools Help to help site owners plan and execute site migrations. See link here: httpss://support.google.com/webmasters/topic/6029673

Our guide divides site migrations into three main stages; it provides an overview and outlines all key steps for each site relaunch:

1. While the new site is being built / on staging or test environment

There is preliminary work involving data collection and benchmarking:

  • Crawl the old website to identify all live pages
  • Combine with Google Analytics and backlink data to identify all legacy and valuable pages
  • Benchmark old site’s keyword rankings for desktop and mobile
  • Decide which pages to redirect based on traffic, SEO value & UX (not everything requires a redirection)

2. Test new site on staging

This is primarily a content auditing & URL mapping exercise:

  • Once we gain access to the test site, we can perform a crawl to identify all the new pages & spot technical issues
  • Review content & provide optimisation recommendations
  • Map old site’s pages to the new sites pages
  • Give an actionable redirection mapping list to the developers, if it is Apache, we usually produce a .HTACCESS file
  • Tests redirects on staging by crawling the site again
  • Check site speed and loading times on the new site, it should be at least better then the old one!
  • Provide an updated Google Analytics code
  • Update Goals and Events on Google Analytics
  • Create new events for the new UX
  • Revalidate webmaster tools (Bing and Google)

3. When site is live

Once the site goes live, there are still some last checks to perform:

  • Re-crawl the site to spot any issues e.g. 404 pages
  • Report back on required tech and content fixes
  • Compare rankings, traffic, conversions & user engagement with old site

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