Time for a site migration? Whether you’re changing your URL structure or just switching to a different CMS, a site migration and redesign is not a one-step process. For an SEO, especially, it requires participation in every step of the process and of every member of the team.
But don’t pull out your hair just yet! We put together this list of best practices for site redesigns and migrations to help alleviate one of the most stressful processes for an SEO. After all, it’s a lot easier to prevent site migration problems, than to fix site migration problems. Which, if you haven’t heard before, have the possibility of being pretty disastrous. But you can avoid migration horrors with pointers like:
- Pick the right time for your redesign to go live
- Do a SWOT analysis on your current site
- Make sure your sitemaps are up to date
- Test aggressively — and back up your claims with data
Remember though: every site migration/redesign/transition is unique. Don’t just rely on this (fantastic) website migration SEO checklist. Make sure to cover all your bases by informing yourself as much as possible. Check out these other resources: Intelligent Site Redesign & Migrations Webinar and Only You Can Prevent Site Migration Disaster. Also, here is a nifty resource kit with a collection of all our website migration and website redesign resources.
Website migration checklist
I. PRE SITE MIGRATION
- Find the best time for your site migration. Give yourself leeway for potential problems/delays. Discuss with your team.
- Understand why fluctuations occur during post-migration and relay these to your project manager.
- Use Fetch as Google via Search Console to verify existing content can be viewed properly by Googlebot.
- Ensure all links included return a 200 status code.
- and tagging issues.
- Purge and merge pages where needed.
- Ensure tracking has been added to every page.
III. POST SITE MIGRATION
- Ensure all redirects are firing properly via 301 status code to their new destinations.
- Monitor indexation via Search Console (and perform a site: search).
- Use Fetch as Google again to verify the new pages can be viewed properly by Googlebot.
- Inform linking partners of your new URL structure.