Migrating Websites with SEO

Website migrating for the business owner in Lafayette, Indiana, is a sensitive matter. You need to be aware that this is not a decision to be taken lightly, as transferring to another domain will certainly affect your site’s ranking and performance.

website migrationThings can become much worse with even the smallest oversight. In this context, it becomes clear that you need to take all the necessary precautions in order to ensure a smooth transition.

SEO might not be the first aspect you tend to focus on, with so many factors to take care of. However, every expert marketer should be planning for the future. During your website migration, as a business owner you need to pay the proper attention to Search Engine Optimization. Here is a list of important SEO tasks for your new domain:

For that reason, here is a list of 16 must-do tasks that will help you with your SEO on your new domain:

• Protect the New Domain
Protecting your new domain is your first line of defense while you are migrating. This is easier in case that you are using a CMS such as SquareSpace or WordPress. You can also perform this task directly, by using htpassword and htaccess files in order to protect the folders on your domain. 

• Block Indexing and Crawlers
When you are performing your website migration, in order to block indexing and crawlers you have to add Noindex and Nofollow in your Robots.txt file. This way you can avoid duplicate content and ensure that search engine bots are not crawling your incomplete site.

• Document and Annotate Your Metrics
Document the relevant metrics you used to track on your old domain, such as visit, time on page, bounce rate, and anything else you used before in order to measure your website’s performance. Document the date you made the transition to the new domain by using annotations in Google Analytics.

• With All the New Pages Create a 301 Redirect Map 
When they click on an old URL, people are redirected to the new URL with the help of a 301 redirect. As it passes between 90-99 percent of ranking power to the new URL, from a SEO perspective this redirect type is considered the best.

• Create New Pages’ Metadata
Use alt tags, new URLs, and meta tile to optimize for SEO and write description. Even though you can autogenerate meta tags by using WordPress, it is recommended that you do them manually. Your click through rates can increase thanks to good meta tags.Even if you are not ranking for these, you can use terms similar to your keyword. Your meta tag will stand out in SERPs, as these terms will be bolded in the description.

• Create a 404 Page
Your website performance can be improved by creating a custom 404 page. Customer engagement could be driven up by having a good custom 404 page.

• Set Up Your Robots.txt File
Your old robots.txt is a good starting point for setting up a new robots.txt file. You can easily edit it with Yoast SEO plug-in if you are using WordPress.

• Create HTML or .xml sitemaps
Sitemaps are lists of all the website pages and they store all the metadata and URLs for your website.

• Identify the Most Authoritative Backlinks
Authoritative backlinks are very important to your SEO, carrying a lot of ranking power.After the website migration is done, you can contact moderators, administrators or webmasters and ask them to update with your new links their websites.

• Update in Google Search Console Your Domains
Use in the console the “Change of address” tool. This way the Google Index is updated and Google is notified that your content has new URL addresses.

• Update URLs in PPC Campagins and Your Social MediaIn order to avoid problems ensure to change the URL on all levels.

• Troubleshoot
There is still some troubleshooting to be done even when you are technically done with the website migration. In order to spot and fix SEO issues, crawl your new website.

• In Google Search Console Submit and Test the New Sitemap
In the Console, go to sitemap report page and click on Add/Test Sitemap. When prompted, put your sitemap URL and wait for the test to be finished.

• Switch to HTTPS from HTTP
Instead of HTTP, more sites have now the HTTPS. There are two main reasons for this: HTTPS is a protocol much more secure and it can also help your Google rankings.

• Remove Password Protect
When your website migration is done you can remove general noindex and nofollow attributes and password protect, as well as disallow in robots.txt. 

• Check for Any Discrepancies
When the website migration is done you have to check for any discrepancies. Monitor crawl errors and track your website’s performance and behavior.