What To Know About Migrating Your SMB Website
A website migration is essentially moving all of your content from your existing site over to your new site. Sounds easy right? It can be if you follow all of the correct steps. A website migration can go south very quickly if you do not do the proper research and cross all of your checks off. If you follow all of the necessary steps, you can minimize the initial SEO hit and be on a fast track to getting back where you need to be and surpassing it quickly.
When Should I Consider Migrating My Website?
A small business may consider migrating websites for many different reasons. The most common reasons are moving to a more secure HTTPS site, rebranding URLs, or even moving to a new CMS such as WordPress or Magento. Whichever the reason, the tips on completing the migration are pretty much the same.
Tips On Completing A Website Migration
- Come Up With A Plan — Don't dive into your new website migration without a plan. Figure out why you need to migrate, if your business can sustain a small SEO hit, and if it's truly what you need and want.
- Get An SEO Audit Done — Having an SEO audit done on your old site will allow you to correct anything you need heading into the new site. It will also help you develop best practices to help you going forward.
- Determine Site Links & Get Analytic Reports — Get a list of all of your current internal and external links to ensure that they are all working correctly after redirecting them in the migration. Download any Google Analytic reports you may need to show current performance to compare to the new site.
- Set Your New Site To Non-Indexing — When you start to develop your new site, make sure that Google is not indexing any of the pages. You can easily hide this site to make sure you are not competing against yourself or showing an unfinished site.
- Migrate Your Content — Once your site is up and hidden on Google, you can start to move over your content. There are many ways to do this from manually to having a professional team move all of your content over, it really depends on the size of your site and budget.
- Use The Correct Redirects & Test Them — Redirects are going to be your best friend when it comes to migration. A redirect tells Google that any external link that is linking to your old site will go to a specific page on the new site that you manually assign.
- Replace Any Internal Links — Run through your internal link list and replace any links that would normally be redirected, with the new site link. While they will ultimately land on the same page, saving a redirect is always good for SEO.
- Set Google Analytics Up On New Site — Once your new site is ready to be released, set up Google Analytics before you go live. You will want to track all of your analytics from the start to ensure you are seeing any lapse in performance.
- Set Your New Site To Indexing — Once you have checked your site for any last fixes, it’s time to let it go live. Set your pages to allow Google to index them so they can become searchable and start to appear in the SERPs.
- Keep An Eye On Your New Site’s Analytics — Last but not least, check on your Google Analytics frequently to ensure that everything is going smoothly. Many sites see a slight dip in organic rankings as Google is still learning the new site, but you should see a quick acceleration surpassing where you once were.