Website migrations, particularly domain migrations, are frequently viewed as one of the more challenging SEO components. A website migration is a critical time for any business and careful planning and considerations are involved in the process. An SEO website migration checklist would be of considerable help which will throw light on why each step is important.
The steps on how to conduct a proper SEO site migration
Below is a compiled list of SEO-friendly migration steps and it is better if you formulate your own checklist from the same.
Start off with your own SEO site migration list
Start off with your own plan of action for website migration. The most important step that you need to create is to have a plan on how you intend to migrate your website. A few of the things that you would want to include as part of your SEO website migration checklist are as follows.
- Deadlines- figure out which is the right time to embark on site migration. You may experience a temporary dip in traffic so you may intend to plan it for a slow period.
- Project scope- What is your aim with the migration? Who is going to be involved? Identify these questions first and you are bound to find answers to them.
- A sandbox- Use a test server for testing your redirects and checking out the data before you start.
These are a few of the initial steps that you need to add to the checklist.
Specify the URLs that you want to turn into redirects
It is important that you crawl your old site. There are a few options that will help you extract the URL of your site. In short, it is not the software that is important, but getting all the URLs extracted from the site. You may be looking to incorporate Google Search console data and this can be extracted from the search results page tab.
After harvesting the data from GSC, use the sandbox to list all URLs of the site. You would want to keep the URLs clean without getting any reinspected or rewritten content. So, ensure that you remove the URLs with extensions like. CSS or any images.
Map out the redirects
The next thing that you need to do is to prepare a redirect map. It is easy to use Google Sheets or Excel in such cases. As part of the first step in mapping out the redirects, remove the URLs on the new site that are consistent with the URLs on the old site.
If you get a response code of 200 or 301, it signifies that the page is either already present on the site or that 301 redirects have already been set up.. From the redirect map, these URLs need to be excluded. The reason is that we are interested only in URLs that return a 404 error code. It is better if you go on to make a list of the same.
Setting up redirects on the new site
There are several methods like. Htaccess files or plugins that support the configuration of redirection to your new website. whatever option you are going to choose the results will be the same. This is one of the important SEO-friendly migration steps that you need to follow. Some of the important things that you need to comply with us
- Make a copy of the htaccess file beforehand.
- Updating the file using FTP
- Once the file has been updated on the website, check the website over. If something has gone wrong then you can return the old htaccess files and conduct a review of the new one for problem identification.
Testing the redirects set up
In the second step make a list of the URLs that will obtain a 404-response code. Now you would need to check the user of URLs and test them again. They are going to change their response code from 404 to 301 so you may redirect them.
Reconfiguring the old domain directs to the new site
At this juncture, things may turn out to be a tinge meta. This means you would need to reconfigure old domain directs into your new site. This may be solved in various ways through Cloudflare via hosting the new site or via hosting the old site. The best way to configure is through the htaccess file on the old hosting. There is a need to just change it.
Conduct final checks
Even when you follow the SEO-friendly migration steps meticulously, and you have performed a perfect site migration things may go wrong. It turns out to be an amateur mistake of not being prepared for it. Before you go live with your SEO site migration you have to ensure that everything is in the right place and will do what it needs to do.
So if you are conducting a final check on the site, use the old domain and the URLs that were incorporated for redirects. In this manner, you can witness whether everything is on track and whether the redirects are configured or not.
Change over the domain in the GSC
By now you are ready to change your domain in the GSC. It is better to use the change of address tool. The moment everything is ready you will see a message that the domain has been removed. At this juncture, you would complete the entire SEO website migration checklist.
The reasons why migration results differ
No two websites are not the same, as there are numerous variables involved in a website migration that we cannot control and several we can’t. The discussion about migrations in the SEO sector has remained largely unchanged over time. To reduce hazards, fundamental best practices are being defined and then layered with situation-specific requirements.
The latest developments in the SEO website migration checklist emerged in June this year when experts suggested that launching a new website prior to migration would mitigate some risks. Even if this happened just a month ago, it is still too early for any conclusive testing to be conducted in order to authenticate or determine when is early enough. The argument is plausible given that Google rebuilds its index page by page, and that enabling crawl pathways and opening up URLs may hasten the initial find and Crawl phases.
For more such blogs, Connect with GTECH.
Publications, Insights & News from GTECH