Everything you should know about the site migration – best practices

The process of site migration is usually not as difficult as complex, and its success depends on many factors. Regardless of the reason behind the decision to introduce changes, working it out often requires the involvement of several teams of specialists. Developers, programmers, graphic designers and SEO specialists are left the field clear here. Obviously, the scope of duties of the above-mentioned groups differs according to the range of changes – migrating the site to a new platform, changing the site completely or changing the website’s domain. Regardless of the factors listed above, what website owners usually have in common is the fear of losing visibility in organic search results, and thus – decreasing in profitability. How can you prevent it?

Below we present three categories of elements that should be taken into consideration when migrating the website. At the same time, it is a kind of a must-have list with issues that are worth-discussing with the company or agency you work with.

SEO positioning

The structure of URL addresses. Most e-commerce platforms use a specific address pattern:

  • domainname.pl/category/subcategory/product
  • domainname.pl/category/product.

If the new platform uses the same URL creation pattern as the previous one, there should not be much trouble with migration in the context of SEO. However, if the new platform is based on a different linking pattern, you need to follow a few steps to improve the migration process:

  • creating a list of addresses of the current service (sitemap generator can be used)
  • preparing a list of new addresses and their indexing (use Google Search Console, more information here)
  • monitoring the migration process (in Google Search Console)

For pages with an error 404, use redirect 301 if they have their equivalents in the previous service.

Unique URLs for all subpages. Verify whether each category page, product card or information page has one version of the address.

Descriptions, headers, meta tags. SEO optimisation also applies to content. It is important to equip a new website with friendly descriptions of categories, H1, H2, H3 headings and meta tags with a description and title. Do not forget about matching keywords that should be included in all of the above-mentioned elements.

Internal linking. Linking inside the website is one of the most important issues taken into account when assessing positioning. It should be ensured that the structure of transitions between your websites is properly organised. It is also worth-checking if the links on the new version of the site do not direct to the previous one.

Website loading time. One of the factors that significantly influences the way users perceive a given website is the time that the site needs to fully load its content. You can use the Site speed ​​report in Google Analytics or PageSpeed ​​Insights tool to control the loading pace of your website.

Mobile version of the website. The number of mobile Internet users is growing year by year. Following the trends that the market dictates, it is necessary to ensure a responsive website version or a dedicated mobile service in a separate domain.

Dedicated error 404 page. Each time a wrong URL is called, the user should be directed to a dedicated error 404 page containing information about the error and making it easier for them to return to further browsing the site, e.g. by linking to the main page or product recommendations.

Google Ads

Verifying links in ads. Make sure that ads have updated links directing to the new website. Thanks to this, you will prevent the loss of the advertising budget. You can use, for example, the Adwords – Link Checker script to verify the relevance of links appearing in advertisements.

Verifying conversion codes. If you use the Ads conversion codes to measure the effectiveness of advertising activities, verify if the codes will be transferred to the new version of the site, whether they are placed on the appropriate URLs and whether they are called at the right time (e.g. after clicking).

Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager

Data continuity in Google Analytics. Verify if the current tracking code has been moved to the new version of the site. If you decide to insert a new tracking code, pay attention to whether it is fully configured and whether it collects all the necessary data, e.g. information about transactions. If the entire Google Analytics implementation is done using Google Tag Manager, the GTM code should be moved and plugged into the new site. If the implementation used the data layer (the so-called DataLayer), it should be noted that the new service would also use it.

Goal verification. If you change the structure of URLs, you must verify the goals set for placements. Particular attention should also be paid to goals that are configured using events.

E-commerce module verification. E-commerce websites should ensure that the e-commerce module is also launched and configured correctly on the new site. In addition, it should be checked in terms of collecting all key data, e.g. parameters of purchased products or how many times products were added to the basket.

Following the above-mentioned tips will make the website migration process no longer a challenge. Properly adopted strategy and solid preparation is the backbone of every plan. So if you want to avoid stress and misunderstandings between all your cooperating entities, use our cheat sheet and enjoy your new website. Good luck!

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