Search LDN site migration

How to Migrate Your Site Successfully – SearchLDN

I had the pleasure of attending and speaking at Search London on the 27th November, and shared some checklists and recommendations to help make site migrations synonymous with increased search visibility, and therefore increasing traffic and conversions.

Websites migrations are always risky, especially if you already have a significant amount of traffic to your site, strong rankings, and even more so if rely they on an ecommerce site for business revenue.

Too often do brands ask for SEO help after a migration has gone wrong. And too often does an SEO agency join the party late – once the site has already been designed and the structure agreed upon. It is then up to a technical SEO audit to highlight all the problems and issues. Find out why your site needs a technical SEO audit here.

The earlier you get SEO involved the better. In fact, SEO should lead the way, in terms of suggesting the site structure, navigation, content and CMS requirements prior to it starting to be designed or developed.

My presentation covered all essential stages to ensure successful migrations, as well as site migration checklists and tips:
Why Migrate?
Planning a migration
Pre Live Checklist
Go Live Checklist
Post Live Checklist
What’s Next?

What are the main risks of site migrations?

Missing 301s, 404s & broken links
Content duplication
Robots & Sitemap issues
Tracking issues

What should you check before going live?

Homepage Design & Content
Navigation, URL structure & Optimisation
Crawl Current Website URLs
Canonical Tags
Robots.txt File
Schema Markup
Mobile & Page Speed
Goals & Event Tracking

What should you check when going live?

Add the GA tracking code
Check goals are set up
Remove blanket noindex tags
Remove disallow directive from robots.txt file
Check 301 Redirects are added and ready to go
Complete a final crawl. Check/fix any remaining issues
Save the last crawl (to run again post-migration)
Backup your website (in case anything goes wrong)

What should you check after going live?

If your site migration was to the same domain:
Check GA tracking code
Use Fetch & Render & Submit URLs
Submit Sitemap in SC
Add an annotation in GA (to track the go-live date)
Check goal tracking is working
Check robots.txt file
Crawl New Site – Check for issues such as 404s or internal redirects
Crawl Old URLs – Check the redirects are working as expected
Check Canonicals
Update important Backlinks

Extra steps if you have migrated to HTTPS:

Verify HTTPS versions of the domain (e.g https://, https://www) in Search Console. Don’t remove the HTTP versions.
Update Google Analytics settings & reconnect to Search Console
Group all versions (http & https) within a Property Set in Search Console
Upload disavow file for new domain
Re-apply any advanced settings in Search Console e.g Parameters and Country Targeting
Ensure all URL within the sitemap are on https as otherwise http urls could get indexed

Extra steps if you migrated to a new domain:

Verify all Search Console versions for the new domain e.g https, http, http://www, https://www (don’t remove the previous domain versions!)
Submit ‘Change of Address’ request in Search Console & Bing Webmaster Tools
Update Google Analytics settings & reconnect to Search Console
Group old and new domain versions (http & https) in Property Set in Search Console
Upload disavow file for new domain
Re-apply any advanced settings in Search Console e.g Parameters and Country Targeting

What should you do next after your site migration?

Crawl, re-crawl, keep checking indexing, rankings, visibility and traffic!

Monitor indexing, visibility & rankings
Update meta tags and heading tags based on rankings
Work on  your on site content – on page & blog articles
Work on internal linking
Work on outreach and link building
Carry out technical checks (check 404s, 301s, new issues?)

If you are thinking of migrating or have already started a site migration and need some SEO support to ensure everything goes according to plan and that your business benefits from it, then get in touch with us!

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