Implementing a site migration or switching to HTTPS is a big move. Make sure you consider how this move can impact search engines and your organic search traffic. Easy Redirect Manager for WordPress can be useful for smooth migration.
Is site migration the right choice?
Site migration means temporary traffic loss. Google needs some time to process and update its index. Properly executed site relocation can reduce the traffic fluctuation. Ultimately, Google will treat your newly migrated site, as it did before with your original one. This is the best scenario, which is possible when there are no changes made, during migration.
During site migration, SEO professionals see an opportunity to optimize the website for improvements like restructuring, repairing broken links, improving the content, and eliminating redundant pages. Site migration is truly worthy when the site gets switched to HTTPS, or when there is a definite rebranding in line.
If you have a WordPress website, apply the 301 Redirect plugin. Just go to the admin dashboard and go to Plugins -> Add New. Search for 301Redirect, install and activate it. Learn how to redirect WordPress URL correctly. Avoid common typo mistakes, extra slashes, and invalid characters.
Site migration plan for better SEO
Testing on a test-server is essential before a comprehensive site migration. Make sure that all the redirects function flawlessly, before going public. Or else your site will lose its ranking.
Before migration crawl your site
Ensure that all the list of URLs from the old site is included, so that nothing gets misplaced during the transition. Crawl errors and existing redirects can be identified. Update links to avoid redirect chains, after migration.
Benchmark your analytics
A copy of your analytics data will help to detect any loss of traffic during site relocation. Sometimes, some pages lose their traffic rather than the whole site. You will need to monitor the top linked pages, because the loss of traffic from authoritative pages can impact your site’s overall performance.
Update internal links
All internal links of the new site need to be directed to the new one, and not the old site. It is tempting to leave links unchanged, but they will automatically be redirected to the new destination URL. Avoid this temptation, because it adds to the server load, and that can slow the site performance. Such redirects can dampen your Page Rank.
Self-canonicalize the new pages
Along with redirects, canonicalizing tells search engines that the new site is a new address of an old site. Make sure that canonicalize is assigned to as a new site, and not old because, as it can prevent your new site from getting indexed.
Fix duplicate content problem
During the migration process, you can come across a duplicate content issue. Take steps to avoid them with proper canonicalization, consistent links, check default folders, and more.
Add a new site map
Keep old sitemap on Google search, but also add the new sitemap. Request Google to crawl across the old sitemap, and detect the redirects. This is a good technique to speed up the search process.
Monitor traffic, ranking, and performance
Check traffic and ranking for a couple of weeks, after migration. In case, you find a drop in traffic, then compare the old site with your new one, to find which pages lost traffic. Inspect those pages for crawl errors and link problems.
Closely monitor the top-linked pages in terms of authority and traffic quantity. These pages play a vital role in your ranking, so any changes in them will affect the overall performance of your site.