For the uninitiated, website migration is a term that describes any event due to which a website undergoes substantial changes. Typically, migration brings about changes in the site’s location, structure, platform, design, content or UX which can significantly affect search engine visibility.
What is the need to Migrate?
Migration gives your website a polished look and also updates areas that need changes especially in the SEO Service department. For instance, if a user is having trouble with navigation and can’t find it on search engines, you may have to consider migrating your website.
In short, if migration is done successfully, it helps increasing SEO rankings. You will experience an increase in traffic, cleaner website and better customer experiences. In simple terms, it means that your pages should be free of status code errors, appear cleaner and have minimal redirects.
You can either do the migration by yourself or get it done by migrating web hosts. In either case, it is recommended that you crawl your website before executing the migration. This will help you get a list of URLs to refer to in case something gets lost during the migration.
Here, we have shared a few tips that will help you prepare your website before migration.
1. URL Structure should be the same on Web Pages
It is important to maintain the same URL structure format for every URL. For instance the URL should have the same domain (.com, .net ,.gov), same hypertext (HTTP/HTTPS) and paths.
For instance: Questfortech’s blog mapping URL would look like:
Instead of : questfortech.ca/blog/technology/post_name
This will help your website SEO to remain consistent and Google Bots will know what the Links are, before and after.
To do this you will have to create and update a few things. The most important thing that you must do is to update and save the annotations in the HTML in your sitemap.
2. Implement proper redirects for the URLs
Redirects tell visitors and search engines of your website that a page has changed, removed or does not exist anymore. They also let search engines know which new pages have replaced the old ones. Therefore, it is important to implement proper redirects. It will also have a great impact on your Website Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
You can implement the redirects manually by mapping every URL of the old site into the URL of the new site. However, this process may not work if you several pages. In such a case, you can look for patterns in your URLs that can be redirected in sections or groups.
Care should be taken to ensure that the existing redirects should be migrated properly. To reduce the workload, make sure you keep as many existing redirects as possible. Also, you must make sure to map the URLs before testing the redirects and have backups in case you lose them.
3. Descriptions should be Consistent
Do remember that website migration often helps with organizing the website. Therefore, the pages should be uniform and include the same information they did before. For instance, if Quest For Tech undergoes site migration the content and description for each blog post would remain the same, just appear different.
Although you can always update or rewrite the information, you must make sure that whatever content you need on the pages are still there.
4. HTML Markups must remain the same
As the main purpose of website migration is to have an update, organized and optimized website, you must make sure that the headings are maintained. HTML mark-ups are included in this.
If you have pages with H1, H2, H3, etc., you must make sure that they have the same tags within the website. While taking care of the mark-ups, make sure you take care of the alt text on images as well. These let the search engines know what the image is about and help your page rank higher.
5. Domain forwarding
Domain forwarding is an important step in migration. Domain forwarding means that you need to make sure that the root domain forwards to the subdomain.
Another essential step is to implement domain forwarding. This means you need to make sure the root domain forwards to the subdomain. For instance;
A root domain looks like this: blog.questfortech.ca
A subdomain looks like this: www.blog.questfortech.ca
In domain forwarding, forwarding in website pages is also implemented. This way, If a user types the root domain, he can be immediately be brought to the subdomain website.
Website Migration is not an easy task. However, it is not an impossible task. With proper planning and preparation, you can execute it successfully and improve your Website SEO.