SEO Migration Service
When replacing your website, platform or architecture, it is important to retain site authority and preserve your search rankings. This can be a very tricky process for any business. Therefore it is important the project is carefully managed to alleviate the risk in lost rankings, web traffic and sales. This is where an SEO migration comes in.
What can go wrong?
An SEO migration is a special type of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) project that takes place when you replace an old website with a new one. When doing so, Google and other search engines still need to know what’s changed in order to maintain your search rankings.
Over the years we’ve seen hundreds of examples where a business has implemented a new website, spending thousands of dollars in the process, only to find that their search engine rankings and organic search traffic have dropped as a result. This is due to an SEO migration not being performed properly.
That means, to the search engines, your website may appear like it:
- Has broken links or missing pages
- Has shrunk in size
- Has disappeared entirely
- Offers less products or services than it used to
- No longer matches other information it has about your business or industry
A poorly executed SEO migration can result in organic traffic drops of up to 50%
Your site may take up to 12 months to recover from a poorly executed SEO migration
How We Can Help
We’ve conducted a multitude of SEO migrations between a variety of platforms and CMS systems, all with their own nuances. Because of this, our approach is adaptable to any business and involves eight steps to ensure nothing is missed.
Step 1: Tag Migration & Data Integrity
In order to migrate with the cleanest possible data set, we’ll complete a data integrity project and technical tidy-up across Analytics and GTM to ensure continuous tracking and reporting post-migration.
Step 2: Identify All Current & Past URLs
We scour your current site, your Analytics accounts, search consoles and the web to find every current or past URL pointing to your current site.
Step 3: Risk Assessment for Current Rankings & Traffic
For every page indexed in Google, it’s important to properly assess how important that page is in terms of rankings, traffic, leads and sales. This helps to prioritise pages on the new site and identify areas where traffic could drop.
Step 4: Map All URLs
All URLs from the old site should be redirected to a new counterpart. In cases where there isn’t a like-for-like page on the new site, an appropriate alternative should be used. These become part of the 301 redirects.
Step 5: Pre-Launch Checks
Before the site is launched, a final check of the SEO elements on your site, from meta tags to schema and everything in between should be checked. We also advise that existing traffic and rankings are captured for benchmarking purposes.
Step 6: Post Launch Actions
Once the new site is live, new sitemaps should be created and uploaded, and Google Search Console & Bing Webmaster Tools accounts updated as well.
Step 7: Post Launch Audit & Monitoring
Once the website does go live, we audit the site to make sure all areas of the migration have gone smoothly, giving an opportunity for any corrections to be made as swiftly as possible.
Step 8: Future Considerations: Driving Scalable Organic Growth
Once we’ve ensured a successful website migration, we’ll work with you to identify and develop ongoing strategies to ensure long-term growth across digital.
SEO Migrations FAQs
No. 301 redirects are just one part of an SEO migration.
No. As mentioned 301 redirects are only a small part of an SEO Migration and in our experience, web developers have normally got enough on their hands just handling the website replacement project itself that it’s often a smart idea to have a separate specialist look after the SEO Migration, as it has its own intricacies and complexities.
Unfortunately, yes. Any pages that are missed from an SEO Migration can result in broken links, 404 (missing page) errors or just simply look to Google like you no longer offer that product or service.
We always advise starting the process the moment you know you’re going to be replacing an old website with a new one. At the very least, you should factor in at least 3-4 weeks before the website changeover to factor in enough time to do it properly.
It’s highly unusual for organic traffic to increase immediately following a migration. The most common result, even on a perfectly executed migration, is a temporary (couple of weeks) small drop to organic search traffic, which rebounds relatively quickly. The best case scenario we normally aim for is for no noticeable change at all. An SEO Migration is about avoiding negative consequences, rather than necessarily boosting traffic immediately.
Absolutely! No matter how well planned the SEO Migration is, pushing a new website live is a big project for your web developer, and in our experience there are normally elements missed during the chaos of launching a new website. That’s why we recommend helping to relieve the pressure on the developers by conducting the post-launch audit immediately after the new site goes live. This allows you to make any necessary corrections before Google and the search engines re-index your site. In our experience, around 90% of SEO Migrations require corrective actions immediately following launch.
Obviously we believe so, but ultimately that comes down to how much of your existing website traffic, rankings, leads, revenue and sales you’re willing to risk. The bigger that amount is as a proportion of your business, the more that’s at risk. Remember that, on average, a poorly executed SEO Migration can result in 30-50% drops in your organic search traffic, and can take 12 months to recover from. The extra SEO effort and costs that is then required to recover from a poor SEO Migration normally costs a lot more than the SEO Migration would have in the first place!
If you’ve recently launched a website and have noticed search engine rankings and traffic has dropped, then there’s a good chance something hasn’t quite gone right with your SEO Migration. If that’s the case, you’ll probably need to speak to an SEO expert to diagnose the exact area that went wrong, before applying a retroactive fix in the hope of limiting the long term impact. Reload Media does offer retroactive SEO Migration services to try and fix the effects of a poor migration.