5 Top Tips for Website Migration and SEO | Varn


2 March 2022

5 Top Tips for Website Migration and SEO

Launching a new website or migrating to a new platform can be a great opportunity to grow your business and enhance your online presence. However, it can also be risky if the new site is not launched properly from an SEO perspective.

Websites that are launched without sufficient SEO insight and reporting are likely to experience a drop in SEO performance and therefore traffic, which can take a long time to recover from.

Agencies often talk about the expected ‘drop’ in traffic and organic performance following a website migration, but this doesn’t have to be the case – unless of course losing traffic was part of your strategy. As long as you ensure your current performance and rankings are benchmarked and protected, there’s no reason you can’t continue to grow your online audience following the launch of a new site.

We speak from a wealth of experience having supported many of our clients with their website migration to ensure they are protected from a reduction in traffic to their new website. Having recently re-launched our very own Varn website we made sure we followed our expert advice and have taken necessary SEO steps in order to protect the search rankings and performance of our own website.

So, instead of trying to play catch-up following your site launch and losing potential traffic and business, let the SEO experts at Varn help ensure your website gets off to the best start possible. We have compiled these 5 easy tips to follow if you are thinking of a future website migration and want to make sure your Google rankings are protected as much as possible.

1. Carry Out a Benchmark Review

The first step is to carry out a benchmarking review using your current site, rather than the newer version. By identifying the top performing content within your website, you’ll be able to ensure that the assets within your site that are driving organic traffic and business are protected during the migration. At this point, it’s good practice to map top performing pages, associated keywords, the top organic search queries (rankings and those driving traffic), most popular products ranking within search and more.

2. Carry Out a Development Site Review

Using the above benchmarking, ensure that your new site (which is ideally currently hosted on a development server), adequately targets the same landing pages, search queries, products and so on that are driving the bulk of your organic traffic. Ensure landing pages are properly targeting the same keywords and that you’ve not lost any of your more important assets during this migration process.

3. URL Mapping and 301 Redirects

Never forget your 301’s – when changing a URL, you risk losing visitors who aren’t aware of the URL update. Whether this is at domain level or just some of your page slugs, changing URLs can be risky. By adding in 301 redirects, you help ensure that anyone attempting to visit the older page URLs are successfully forwarded to the correct place within the new version of your site. This not only helps prevent users from dropping off of the site or ending on an error page, it also helps notify Google of the changes to your URLs.

4. Carry Out a Test Site Crawl

Using software such as Screaming Frog, always crawl your website prior to launch. This will help identify any pages which could potentially cause an issue due to crawl errors. It will also help check the status code of internal pages and flag any issues which need to be addressed prior to launch. It’s also just as important to carry out a similar crawl as soon as the site migration has been completed, to check all your live URLs.

5. Use Google Analytics & Google Search Console

Google Analytics and Google Search Console can both be incredibly useful when it comes to launching a new site or completing a site migration. GA’s Realtime reporting will help confirm that tracking is working within the new site, whilst Google Search Console will help test your robots.txt and XML sitemap files. You can also use Google Search Console to submit site URLs for live testing – so that you can see the content which is crawlable and indexable by Google.

Varn Can Help

Whilst these tips will help protect the performance of your existing site, it’s also important to ensure that you build on that success. Varn’s SEO Auditing and Consultancy services will help do just that. If you’d like SEO help with your new site launch or website migration, we’re here to help.

Alternatively, if you’ve completed your website launch and would like an in-depth review of your website and a resulting list of bespoke SEO recommendations to help you perform better online, simply get in touch with the expert SEO team here at Varn. We’d love to hear from you.

Article by: Aimee, Head of Innovation More articles by Aimee

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