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SEO Site Migration Checklist: How To Migrate Your Website And Not Lose Traffic
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SEO Site Migration Checklist: How to Migrate Your Website and Not Lose Traffic

  •   Gemma Walker
  •   Dec 18, 2017

SEO Services in Rancho Cucamonga

Planning a site migration? Let us help you make the transition as smooth as possible!

Let’s face it, very few things can ravage a brand’s performance in the search results than a poorly implemented site migration. In simpler words, migrating your site to a new domain or URL structure can be a great business move, but if you forget to acquire quality digital marketing services and take into account the fact that how search engines will react to this move, you might take a major hit in organic search traffic.

When migrating a website, there are countless factors that can either boost or dampen your site’s organic traffic over the long term, which include:

  • The underlying technology of the website (from a search engine friendly technology like PHP to a more advanced and challenging technology like Node.js or Angular);
  • URL structure changes;
  • Site speed (which positively correlates to two things: Increased search engine traffic; Increased conversions (and of course, ROI));
  • Internal linking;
  • Website content (On-Page Content, which is incredibly vital to your website’s ranking on search engines);
  • Page template layouts;
  • Sitemaps.

As you can see, there’s a lot of doing involved with migrating your website, which is why it’s best to just leave this undertaking to pros. This is where quality search engine optimization services of a reputable firm come in handy. But before you hire one, it’s always a good idea to get a basic understanding of the entire site migration process in order to give your venture a competitive edge over your fellow rivals.  

Here’s a fool-proof checklist that will help you to migrate your site from one domain to another without losing traffic:

      1. Carefully consider whether site migration is the right move

A site migration typically offers little to no SEO benefit and barely eliminates search engine penalties. Added to that, it always results in a temporary loss of traffic as Google takes time to process the change and update its index accordingly. That is why it’s always advisable to carry out the migration prudently so as to minimize traffic fluctuations and have your site treated favorably by Google and other search engines. Digital marketing companies often use site migration to make certain improvements in their SEO tactics, which include streamlining the site structure, fixing broken links, getting rid of unnecessary pages, and creating plagiarism-free and engaging content. 

      2. Always migrate during a slow period

A carefully planned and monitored migration won’t affect your website traffic, but it’s always wise to stay prepared for a temporary dip. Keeping that in mind, it’s best to carry out the migration during the slow part of the year, presuming that there’s some periodicity to your site’s performance. For instance, migrating your site during or before the holidays is always a bad idea. 

      3. Don’t forget to crawl your website before the migration

It’s always a good idea to crawl your site before getting started with the migration process. You can do so using a tool like Screaming Frog, and yes, don’t forget to save the crawl for later. If possible, put together a complete list of the URLs that exist on your old site in order to make sure nothing gets lost as a result of the transition. This will help you identify any crawl errors and redirects (or broken links) that were there on your previous website, which tend to creep up over time.

During the migration process, in case you find any links that point to 404 error pages, you should absolutely remove or replace them. Also, it is highly recommended to update any links that point to redirected pages in order to make them point to the final page. You would not want to end up with redirect chains after the migration, would you?

      4. Benchmark your analytics

Always remember, a site crawl may not be able to identify every single page on your website. For instance, the pages that aren’t linked from other pages on your site won’t show up in a crawl. In order to find these pages, you can go through your own records or databases, but if that won’t be possible for you, then you can take help of Google Analytics or a link explorer like Ahrefs.

If possible, create a copy of your Google Analytics data, as you may need it in order to quickly identify if any traffic is lost after the migration. If in case you experience a notable loss in the site traffic, you can always export the Analytics data from your new site and run a side-by-side comparison with the data of your previous site. This will help you identify precisely which pages lost the traffic 

      5. Resolve duplicate content issues

Several slip-ups during the site migration process can result in duplicate content issues. Be cautious of these issues and follow the subsequent steps to avoid them:

  • The issue of content duplication arises when both versions of your website are live. If self-canonicalization is already put in place properly, this should not be a problem. However, it’s always recommended to set up redirect rules in “.htaccess” to ensure that only one version of the page is accessible.
  • Make sure the IP addresses redirect to URLs.
  • Look out for folders (especially default folders) that lead to the same content.
  • Make sure that only HTTPS or HTTP is used, and the www or non-www version of the site is accessible, and rest should redirect to the proper site.

Wrapping Up

On the whole, if a site migration is performed without considering SEO, you can lose a substantial amount of search engine traffic in the process. If you’re a resident of California, US and looking forward to migrating your website, the best you can do is acquire top-notch SEO services from a reputable firm in Rancho Cucamonga, or its nearby areas.

So, what do you think? What did we miss? What experiences have you had? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.

We are a full-service digital marketing company located in California providing best-in-class search engine optimization services to our clients and customers located worldwide. You can reach out to us


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