Skip to main content

Website Migration – Best SEO Practices





Website migration is an exclusively technical process handled by the website developers or hosts. However migration can cause negative impact on search results, it can reduce traffic and therefore conversions for the website.

In order to manage a successful migration the following best-practice points should be considered:


            1. 301 URL migrations.
It is essential from an SEO point of view to ensure that content and URLs are mapped from the old website to the new website using a 301 permanent redirect.
Redirections should be carried out on a page-level basis, rather than a site-wide redirection to maintain internal link equity, existing traffic and a good user experience.  Extra care should be taken on well-linked and traffic heavy content pages. It is recommended to carry out a content audit to ensure all website assets have been properly migrated and positioned in the new website structure.

2.    Internal Links
All internal links on the new website should be updated to reflect the new structure.

3.    Sitemaps
Submitting an XML sitemap will help with speeding- up indexation.

4.  Site Crawl Speed
Once GWTs has been validated then it is good practice to slow down the indexing of the old website pre-migration and then speed this process back up post-migration (actually speeding up is less important than slowing it down - at least according to what Google says...). The same procedure can be carried out in Bing Webmaster Tools.

5.   XML sitemap
Post-migration is important to create and submit a new XML sitemap on your server and to Google and Bing as I already have mentioned in point 3. This will speed up the indexing of the new website structure.

6.  Updating External Links
As mentioned above, external links to the website should be redirected with a 301 header to ensure link equity continues to pass through to the new website. However, passing link equity through a 301 redirection loses ~10% value. Therefore it is best practice to audit the backlink profile of the website to determine the most powerful links in order to have these updated to point to the new domain URL.

It is also important to note that link equity can only pass through two sequential 301 redirects. Ensure that ‘chained’ 301 redirects are minimised to single 301 redirects where possible or updated fully to the new URL. All external links should be audited to identify chained 301 redirects.

What not to do when migrating domains..

1. Do not feel tempted to place 'Disallow:/' on the new domain before you place or redirection rules on your server. This will result in a significant visibility loss and will take you some good few weeks to build it up again.

2. Do not use 'splash' pages on the home page of the old domain. Even though it is nice to let the users know that you have moved or changed the name completely if that's the case its a bad idea from SEO point of view. Why? Because home page is usually the most linked page on your entire domain, hence placing any other redirect than 301 on it will result in all the link equity being not passed over to the new domain...You would be better off sending out a PR informing your audience of re-branding and website redirection rather than using splash page instead.

Here is the proof of why these two are a bad idea...

Vicibilty post migration





Comments

Popular posts from this blog

BrightonSEO 2018 Timetable - The Best Talks - Agenda

#BrightonSEO 2018 is just around the corner as it starts at 10:00 on 27/04/2018.
There is a tonne of very interesting talks to choose from held in 6-7 different locations,
so you better read the agenda to choose the speakers and presentations of interest to you and your
everyday SEO activities:

PART I - April 27, 10:00 AM - 11:15 AM
1. Content - Auditorium 1Marcus Tober - Out with the Old, in with the Niche: Content for the Moments That Matter Eleni Cashell - How to Unleash The Power Of Unique ContentSteve Rayson & Giles Palmer - How Metrics and Data Drive Content Effectiveness2. Tech SEO - Auditorium 2Tom Pool - Command Line Hacks For SEO
Tom Anthony - Diving into HTTP/2 - a Guide for SEO
Emily Mace - Diagnosing Common Hreflang tag issues on page and in sitemaps 3. E-commerce - Syndicate 1&2Vlassios Rizopoulos - What a search engine can teach you about product sitemaps Katherine Khoo - Selling on other Search Engines 
Raj Nijjer - 10 Things Your Customers Hate About You4. Machine Le…

BrightonSEO 2016 Videos, Presentations & Slides

Yet another #BrightonSEO conference has ended. Many thanks to Woorank for my free ticket :-) and for the below drawing (you had to choose 3 balls with key-words for Woorank to draw it :-)
The sessions I attended:
Nichola Stott - SEO SUX: How and Why UX Must Be Front and Centre to Your Technical Strategy
1. Young generation (Generation Z) expects to get a cool product, whereas older generation still cares very much about a cool experience, focus on your products, since generation Z will become 40% of all customers by 2020!
2. She recommended a presentation of Paul Haahr (Google engineer) to learnHow Google works & Ilya Gregorik 'Preconnect, prefetch, prerender...'to get some best practice for optimisation :-)
3. Nichola reminded how important are:
-  page speed (use Google Speed Tool to check your site uploading time)
-  all device accessibility (go for responsive design & AMP-accelerated mobile pages project)
-  and direct to object (did you know that 75% of Buzzfeed v…

BrightonSEO 2018- the best talks

Tom Anthony from Distilled@TomAnthonySEO
The first talk I attended was from Tom Anthony from Distilled. Tom’s deck was incredible - full of trucks- being an amazing parable of the somewhat difficult to understand content- the storytelling was epic, all in all the technical networking was accessible for anyone interested in HTTP/2.  He also explained different approaches to deploying HTTP/2.
Over to Tom’s slides for a lovely catch up:

HTTP/2 BrightonSEO 2018 from Tom Anthony

The next presentation came form Fili Wiese, a former Google engineer. Fili spoke about search bots, efficient crawling & mobile first crawling & indexing. Here are the highlights:
How to avoid SEO on-page pitfalls Fili advised to check ‘blocked resources’ in Google Search Console to establish what could be invisible to crawlers.
Ensure there are no server errors as they may slow down Google crawlers.
Is your site still on HTTP - perfect -improve it before migrating to HTTPs - use Lighthouse