Website Migration SEO Cheat Sheet

One of the riskiest things that webmasters can undertake is migrating to a new website. If the process is not managed well, search engines could struggle to understand the new structure and compromise ranking.

Though every site migration is different, we focus on the commonest cases where sites URL, architecture, and content have changed without altering the domain.

website migration

You can follow these steps below when migrating to a new site to help retain high visibility in SERPs.

Crawl the current site

  • Utilize screaming frog to transfer current metadata and URLS
  • Put together data using Google Analytics Page URLs
  • Export all the 404 pages and evaluate the pages that are less valuable and do not have to be exported

Benchmark the website performance

  • Assess and record ranking for most keywords
  • Utilize current GA tracking codes for later performance comparison

Create a site map

  • Map out all pages on the new website using tools such as slickplan

Plan for optimal URL structure

  • Make sure to stay away from unnecessary directories and ensure that keywords remain close to the root

Map all 301 redirects

  • Plan all the website 301 redirects to help direct searches to the new location
  • Amend legacy redirects to point to the new site

Transfer the existing page content

  • Ensure that the current content and meta data is transferred to the new site where possible

Optimize all the new pages

  • Carry comprehensive keyword researches for all the new topics and keywords
  • Optimize all the new pages depending on the finding of keyword research

Optimize the website page speed

  • Utilizing tools like Google Page speed insights, address all issues to get optimal speed

Carefully setup the robots.txt file

  • Dissallow all the files you do not want searched
  • Make sure to be extra careful not to block CSS and JS files

Implement structured data markup

  • This should include schema markup on the entire site

Optimize the blog content

  • All the news articles should have AMP equivalents
  • Tag pages should be blocked through robots.txt where relevant

Create an XML sitemap

  • Submit XML sitemap immediately after launch
  • Monitor the sitemap section on the search console

Monitor your website on Google Search Console and analytics

  • Monitor Google search console to identify and correct errors several weeks after launch
  • Use Google Analytics to monitor traffic and landing pages

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