If a migration is absolutely necessary for your website, then you should do everything that is possible to reduce the ranking drops your site is about to experience. There really is no way to make sure that your website stays exactly where it is, it just all depends on what exactly you are changing on your site. We are going to cover some of the best ways to make sure your migration doesn’t completely ruin all of your previous SEO work.
Planning is Important
The term website migration can mean many different things. You could be changing every aspect of your website, or only changing your hosting company. The host plays a major role in the success of a website so it important to be extra careful when choosing one. Depending on your website’s need, there are a lot of hosting companies to choose from.Bluehost.com, webhostinghub.com and Hostgator.com are some of hosts that have proven their worth in the industry.
So depending on exactly what you are changing about the site, will determine how hard your SEO ranks get hit. A basic rule is that the more stuff you change on your website, the worse you will be. This is not to say that the migration isn’t necessary and that over time it might be beneficial. I’m only talking about the effects that the migration might have right off the bat.
Now that you understand what type of changes you will be making, it is time to determine how much traffic you will end up losing. Based off of this information, your SEO goal is going to be to try and minimize the amount lost. There are some simple ways to save your traffic for the simple changes such as switching hosting companies. Since you are keeping your domain name and URLS the same, you are only going to need the site to be down for a short period of time. So naturally, you will want to do this during a time where your site receives the least amount of traffic.
301 & 302 Redirects
If you are making some major changes on your website such as switching up your domain names or URL structures, then you are going to need to set up a good network of redirects. This will help forward any of your current traffic over to your new site once the migration is complete. You should do all of the redirects manually to make sure that it is done properly, but if you have an extremely large website, using a automatic program might work. You will probably just need to go back and fix a few of the errors.
The two types of redirects that you might use are going to be 301 and 302. You will probably want to stay away from the 302 redirects since they are only temporary and usually do not pass on any benefits from the old page. If the migration is complete and everything is permanent, then you should be using the 301 redirect. It is permanent and also passes along most of the benefits the previous page has gotten. All of the link authority and rank will be passed on. Unfortunately, it won’t be the exact same as the previous page, but it gives your SEO efforts a head start to get back on top.
SEO Your New Site
Major migrations will usually require you to re-optimize the website and make it search engine friendly once again. During the testing phase of your new site, you should implement all of your SEO tactics to make sure that when you are testing the site, you are able to catch any errors that might happen when the website goes live. The more work you put in prior to it going live, the less chance that those errors will affect the new viewers of the site. Once everything is re-optimized and live, you should continue to keep an eye on all aspects of the site to ensure that the engines are able to crawl, index, and rank your pages correctly.
Being a part of SEO means reviewing old statistic to know what is working and what isn’t. The same thing applies after a migration. You are going to want to analyze every SEO aspect of your new site to ensure that it is making progress equal to or even greater than the previous website. If you notice that the rankings are continuing to drop, it means you need to find out exactly what went wrong during the migration.