The Key Steps to a Successful Site Migration

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A new website can feel like a new opportunity. A fresh start to showcase your business and revamp its design and content. But it’s important to remember amidst the excitement and opportunities that a new site brings, site migrations are a complex process – and it’s crucial to approach them with careful planning and attention to detail.

What Is a Site Migration?

A site migration is the process where businesses move an entire site – its data, its content – to a new environment. This includes switching domains or hosting providers, merging multiple sites or upgrading your content management system (CMS).

Every site migration is different; each circumstance has its own unique opportunities and challenges. But no matter the why and the how, one thing remains the same when migrating a website: the need to maintain your site’s SEO value.

The Importance of SEO In Site Migrations

SEO in a site migration can really make or break the process’s success. No matter the size of your business or your reasons for undergoing the site migration process, ensuring your website maintains its visibility and accessibility on search engines is crucial. Too often we’ve heard from companies looking to rebrand and start their site anew, only to realise too late that they’ve lost their status and ability to attract as much organic traffic as a result of a poorly executed migration. SEO can take years of dedication and work to reach a top-of-the-page result, and with one wrong migration move it can fall immediately.

To avoid this issue, there are 6 key SEO steps you need to take for a smooth site migration:

Add URL Redirects

Adding redirects from current URLs to the new, updated ones is a crucial step that cannot be overlooked. URL redirects will ensure that that any users and search engines can still find your new site, as well as help preserve your pages’ SEO values.

Optimise Your Site Structure

By having an SEO-friendly site structure, Google will be able to locate and read the new pages easier, leading to quicker indexation.

Keep Your Content Consistent

It’s important to avoid too many changes to your site’s content. In fact, any changes you do make should be added only to enhance your current content’s relevance.

Update Your Sitemap and Robots.txt

To aid in faster indexation, you will need to update your XML sitemap and robot.txt file in Google Search Console to include the new URLs.

Accurately Transfer Meta Data

All meta titles, descriptions and alt tags should remain intact, as these elements play an important role in how your pages are indexed and displayed on the search engine results page (SERP).

Update Internal Links

Any internal links should be updated to the new URLs. Broken internal links can negatively impact user experience and SEO, and relying on internal redirects will only slow your site’s speed.

Set Up Analytics and Tracking

Make sure that your analytics and tracking codes are correctly implemented on the new site. This helps you monitor the impact of the migration and identify any issues quickly.

 

 

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How to Prepare for a Successful Website Migration

The first step in website migrations is to plan. Plan your site structure, plan for any potential risks, and plan your strategy. With the right website migration plan, you can avoid common pitfalls and make sure your site continues to perform and grow.

Set Goals and Objectives

Are you rebranding? Do you want to increase your site speed and performance? Are you upgrading your CMS? Or maybe you’re merging multiple sites into one? Whatever your reason for the migration, understanding your priorities, goals and objectives will help guide you through the decision-making process.

Conduct a Site Audit

Evaluate your current content and assess your site’s overall structure and SEO. Once your audit is complete, you will be able to see clearly what pages should be kept, removed or updated as a result of the migration.

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Develop a Strategy

Using the data from your site audit, prepare a strategy for launch, including new SEO focuses, content updates, and user experience improvement. Identify where improvements can be made on the new site, such as optimising page load times, enhancing mobile responsiveness, and updating outdated content.

Backup Your Site

Before you make any changes, you need to back your site up. This will act as a safety net in case anything goes wrong during the migration process.

Create a Staging Site

A staging site will allow you to play around with content and design in an environment that mirrors your live site. It will allow you to test the migration process without impacting the live site, and enable you to identify and fix any issues before the actual migration begins.

Take Away the Risk and Let BFJ Digital Manage Your Site Migration

While a website migration can seem like a lot of work, with the help of an experienced digital marketing agency on your side, the entire process becomes less complicated and daunting. At BFJ Digital, our digital marketing and transformation experts have years of experience performing site migrations for our clients. Our approach to the website migration process is to carefully plan each step, protect your SEO rankings, and ensure minimal disruption to your business occurs.

Whether you’re rebranding, seeking better site performance, or looking to enhance your user experience, BFJ Digital is equipped to handle the complexities of your website migration. We provide tailored solutions that align with your specific goals and needs, helping you achieve a successful migration to your new site.

Don’t leave your site migration to chance. While this guide can be used as a website migration checklist, the complexities and potential pitfalls of the process often require professional expertise to navigate successfully. Trust BFJ Digital to guide you through the process with precision and care.

Contact us today to learn how we can support your next digital transformation project and ensure your website continues to thrive in its new environment.