SEO Migration Management
We take care of changing technology or design so you don’t lose traffic and continue to grow
There are cases when the need arises to restructure the architecture of a site and reorganize its content by creating additional pages. In others, there is a need to change the domain name because perhaps the brand has changed its name or because a shorter, more direct form is simply chosen. How do you avoid losing content, ranking, and all the information contained in the old site? With an SEO migration, the goal of which is precisely to improve site performance, maintain ranking and avoid drops in organic traffic. But what does an SEO migration of a site consist of and what concrete benefits does it offer?
Moving a site is not simple, because if the whole operation is not carried out correctly you risk losing traffic and therefore visibility, and recovering it could be quite complicated. Despite the complexity, however, it is a must-do operation under certain circumstances such as:
- Restructuring the architecture of a site
- Change of URLs
- Change of CMS platform
- Change from HTTP to HTTPS protocol
- Domain name change
- TLD change
In cases like these standing still is counterproductive, just think of a site with an outdated CMS platform that loads pages slowly, or a blog with an unsuitable architecture because it lacks pages containing specific search intent. In this and many other cases, site SEO migration, despite being a delicate operation, cannot be postponed.
ByTek can offer assistance with both site design by studying a new information architecture and SEO migration. Together with the client we do an initial assessment where all the steps of the operation are explained, from the analysis of the starting situation, to the mapping of redirects to the management of the migration.
How to act for a SEO migration
SEO migration consists of a series of special checks and technical interventions, so the first question to ask is when to perform this maneuver. To determine this, one must study the seasonality of searches and identify the time of year when the site experiences the lowest traffic. This is to minimize the effects of any initial malfunction.
What you need to move
The SEO migration of a site involves several steps but it should be kept in mind that the essential elements to be moved are:
- Title Tags
- Meta Descriptions
- Image alt tags
- Optimized contents
- Sitemap.xml, robots.txt and structured data
- Files with directives to the server (htaccess)
- Monitoring scripts
Once you have determined 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.
The Redirect Mapping
This is the methodology for building the file that should summarize all the actions to be taken during the three phases and their objectives.
In the pre-migration phase
- Complete crawling of the old site, a kind of inventory of critical issues. Objective: to establish the guidelines of the new site.
- High-volume keyword tracking: be clear about the SERP ranking of the old site. Goal: to always have a ranking history.
- List of backlinks directed to the old site: download the list of incoming links. Goal: get an accurate analysis of them since they transfer PageRank.
- Mapping the URLs and Meta Tags of the old site: not to miss anything, especially the pages that have the most visits. Goal: check that everything is redirected correctly.
- URL matching: check that each old one always corresponds to a new one. Goal: avoid 404 errors and pages not found.
- Page 404: set up a custom page for the 404 error. Goal: to help the user continue navigating within the new site.
- 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 crawling of the site, so it is good to think about it. Goal: to be read by Google.
- New Robots.txt file: this is a file that establishes the parts of the site that Googlebot can scan, so you need to check that the instructions in it are correct. Goal: make the site scannable by Googlebot.
- SEO Check: check that all content and metatags are loaded correctly. In fact, it may happen that some pages are removed, perhaps those with high traffic. Goal: to avoid any kind of problem with page ranking.
When going online, equally strategic steps will have to be implemented, which therefore must be meticulously controlled. These are:
- The Google Analytics tracking script (or Tag Manager) will need to be carried over into the new source code.
- Enable redirects by avoiding possible redirect chains from old pages to new content and check them.
- Check Search Console information: verify that the configuration settings are up to date by performing the check on both the new and the old site.
- Check and update incoming links: all links to social profiles should definitely be updated.
This is probably the most delicate phase because it is the control phase. The activities to be performed are:
- Checking the new Analytics tracking code for all pages and proper tracking of contact forms.
- Crawling the new site to highlight any errors or issues, especially from an SEO perspective with a Meta check.
- Checking page indexing after one month, because Google does not index right away but if 30-40 days the report is not correct, any critical issues should be identified.
- Send sitemaps of both the old and the new site: before doing so, however, it is important that all redirects and links are correct.
- Monitor keyword traffic and conversions, to verify that the migration is proceeding on schedule.
A migration by ByTek
It takes time to be able to see the results of a migration: at least a month for smaller sites and at least 2 or 3 for large sites
ByTek has handled migrations for large telecommunications companies that needed to change domains and for large cosmetics brands. The methodology a building the file for redirect mapping is based on a few essential steps, but these can change depending on specific needs: crawling, content analysis, path association, verification of previous migrations, and post-migration verification. Thanks to our proprietary technologies we are able to map tens of thousands of URLs quickly and with certainty, so we can handle complex migrations in enterprise contexts as if we were migrating a site of just a few pages.
If you need to revamp your blog or site, change your domain, rethink your information architecture, ask for a consultation relying on our professionalism.