A website migration requires attention to detail, combing through redirects for all of your old URLs to new pages while reducing any negative impact on organic search rankings that can be triggered by upgrading or applying SSL to your site.
When website migrations are in place there are several benefits:
- Customers can still reach your business from bookmarked old links, reducing any loss of traffic or business. From a user perspective, nothing has changed.
- From a digital marketing perspective the authority (digital equity with search crawlers) of your old domain will be passed to the new URLs. This avoids Google from interpreting the new site “from scratch” and saves any links pointing to your site.
RISKS TO CONSIDER
Historically we have witnessed website migrations to be troubleshooting, surprising, complex and time demanding. Depending on how many pages are required to be moved over it can take months, sometimes even years depending on how many technical changes are being done. When big brands change servers, move to different content management systems or upgrade to SSL it is very difficult to migrate without some issues arising.
New CMS Migrations
Changing content management systems — also known as a CMS — is typically the most common migration type. A CMS is essentially a web application that sits on top of a database that stores all the information that you want on a website. WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal are the most popular platforms for this.
New Domain Migrations
Sometimes a company gets acquired or rebrands to a stronger domain name. When websites move to a new URL, even if it is a small change between .ca to .com, it must be applied to all pages on the site.
Example: The website owner of local-search.com wants to rebrand their company to something easier to remember, such as locsearch.com
SSL Updates HTTP TO HTTPS Migrations
It is imperative that all websites in 2020 have the standard SSL to protect against non-secure web practices. HTTPS encryptions will become the standard for all websites in the near future, meaning this migration will be inevitable for most businesses that have not caught up.
When you move from HTTP to HTTPS, the same considerations apply to new domains as the SSL migration projects. While the domain will remain the same, the site will redirect to the HTTPS version of each page.
A powerful tool when applied right
When businesses consider SEO as an after thought it can negatively impact organic traffic during a website migration. It takes much more work to undo the damage and repair lost rankings than it does to prepare a migration strategy. This will avoid expensive diagnostic efforts that could be put towards building new content.
Making sense of what needs to be done during a web migration requires skill and experience.
Having a thorough crawl directory of all the domain data you can organize will save hours in the future. Here are key factors when planning out a migration strategy:
- Attention to Relevant Content
- Naming conventions for New vs. old URLs
- Backlink Analysis and Redirect Mapping
- URL paths for internal media