SEO Migration Management

Move a website to a new platform or domain by improving overall performance.

There are cases where there is a need to restructure the architecture of a website and reorganize its content by creating additional pages. In others, there is the need to change the name of the domain because maybe the brand has changed name or because a shorter and more direct form is simply chosen. How do you not lose content, positioning and all the information contained in the old site? With an SEO migration, whose goal is to improve the performance of the site, maintain positioning and avoid drops in organic traffic. But what is the SEO migration of a website and what are the concrete benefits it offers?

Moving a website is not easy, because if the whole operation is not done correctly you risk losing traffic and therefore visibility, and recovering it could be quite complicated. Despite the complexity, however, it is an operation to do absolutely in certain circumstances such as:

  • Restructuring the architecture of a site
  • Change of URL
  • Changing the CMS platform
  • Switching from HTTP to HTTPS protocol
  • Domain name change
  • TLD change.

In cases like these, standing still is counterproductive, just think of a website with an obsolete CMS platform that slowly loads the pages, or a blog with an unsuitable architecture because it has no pages containing specific search intentions. In this and many other cases, the SEO migration of the website, despite being a delicate operation, cannot be postponed.

ByTek can offer assistance both in case of website design by studying new information architecture and SEO migration. Together with the client, we make an initial evaluation where all the steps of the operation are illustrated, from the analysis of the initial situation to the mapping of the redirects up to the management of the migration.

How to do an SEO migration

The SEO migration is composed of a series of special checks and technical interventions, so the first question to ask is: when to perform this maneuver. To establish this, it is necessary to study the seasonality of the searches and to identify the period of the year when the site has the lowest traffic. This is to minimize the effects of any initial malfunction.

What to migrate

The SEO migration of a site involves several steps but it must be kept in mind that the essential elements to move are:

  • Tag Title
  • Meta Description
  • Alt tags of images
  • Optimized content
  • Sitemap.xml, robots.txt and structured data
  • Files with server directives (htaccess)
  • Monitoring script.

Once established what to migrate, you need to have clear objectives during all phases of the operation which are 3: pre-migration, actual migration and post-migration.

Redirect Mapping

This is the methodology for the construction of the file that will summarise all the actions to be taken during the three phases and their objectives.

In the pre-migration phase

  1. Complete crawling of the old site, a sort of inventory of critical issues. Goal: establish the guidelines for the new site.
  2. Tracking of high volume keywords: to have clear SERP positioning of the old site. Goal: always have a ranking history.
  3. List of backlinks to the old site: download the list of entry links. Goal: make an accurate analysis since they transfer PageRank.
  4. Mapping the URLs and Meta Tags of your old site: not to miss anything, especially the pages that have more visits. Objective: be sure everything is redirected correctly.
  5. URL matching: check that every old one always matches a new one. Goal: to avoid 404 errors and pages not found.
  6. Page 404: Set a custom page for 404 errors. Goal: help the user to continue browsing the new site.
  7. New Sitemap.xml: It is a file with all the information about the pages, images, changes, updates, etc.; search engines read this file for more efficient scanning of the site, so it is good to think so. Goal: To be read by Google.
  8. New Robots.txt file: is a file that determines the parts of the site that Googlebot can scan, so you need to make sure that the instructions are correct. Goal: make the site can be scanned by Googlebot.
  9. SEO Check: check that all content and the meta tags are loaded correctly. It may happen that some pages are removed, perhaps those with high traffic. Goal: to avoid any kind of problem with the positioning of the pages.

Migration

Equally strategic steps will have to be implemented when going online and will, therefore, have to be carefully monitored. These are:

  1. The Google Analytics tracking script (or Tag Manager) must be reported in the new source code.
  2. Activate redirects avoiding possible redirect chains from old pages to new content and check them.
  3. Check the information in the Search Console: Check that the configuration settings are up to date, checking both the new and the old site.
  4. Check and update incoming links: all links to social profiles must be updated for sure.

Post-migration

It is probably the most delicate phase because it is the control phase. The activities to be carried out are:

  • Checking the new Analytics tracking code for all pages and the correct tracking of contact forms.
  • Crawling the new site to highlight any errors or problems, especially in SEO optics with a Meta check.
  • Checking the indexing of the pages after a month, because Google does not index immediately but if 30-40 days the report will not be correct, any critical issues must be identified.
  • Send a sitemap of both the old and the new site: before doing so, however, it is important that all redirections and links are correct.
  • Monitor the traffic of keywords and conversions, to verify that the migration is proceeding according to plan.

ByTek migrations

It takes time to see the results of a migration: at least one month for smaller websites and at least 2 or 3 for larger websites.

ByTek has managed migrations for large telecommunications companies that needed to change domain and for large cosmetics brands. The methodology to build the file for redirect mapping is based on some essential steps that can change according to specific needs: crawling, content analysis, path association, verification of previous migrations and post-migration checks.

If you need to renew your blog or your website, to change domain, to rethink the information architecture, ask for a consultation with our professionals.

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