Planning an SEO-Friendly Website Migration

Written by: 
Molly Niemczyk

Thinking of migrating or redesigning your website? It can be an exciting – if arduous – undertaking. The effects of a site migration are substantial; they can directly influence your website’s organic rankings. So, today, we’re showing you how to plan an SEO-friendly website migration!


What is a Website Migration? 

A website migration is basically when a significant change or series of changes is made to a site. These can include updating site structure, design, or location, along with any other alterations that could impact site rankings or page accessibility.


Why Plan a Website Migration or Redesign?

If there’s so much risk involved with site migrations, why do them at all?

Maybe your company is in the middle of a merger, or a rebrand, so you have to change the domain, or mesh two different brands’ aesthetics. That’s not as simple as swapping one color palette for another; a truly successful rebrand is probably going to require a little elbow grease on the backend.

Maybe you’ve recently hired an agency (like Relevance Advisors) to complete an SEO audit, and discovered a few structural issues that you’d like to improve quickly. These might include tweaks in navigation, URL structure changes, and just generally shifting pages of your site around to make the user experience easier and more efficient.

Sometimes, a website migration is simply necessary. Your website might be old and in dire need of an upgrade. Switching to better technology, for better or worse, can have a considerable impact on the very structure of your website. That can be scary, but when the alternative is an out-of-date site or completely defunct features, a site migration becomes essential.


How to Keep a Website Migration SEO-Friendly

  1. Plan Ahead

Do not, under any circumstances, start making changes on the backend without being completely sure what needs to be changed. Everyone involved needs to share the same vision, and understand the ultimate goal of the site migration. If possible, schedule out a plan to update your site in chunks, rather than all at once, in order to minimize impact on search indexing.


  1. Use Caution When Changing/Redirecting URLs

Obviously, if you can avoid it, it’s best not to change your URLs at all, but sometimes it must be done. When migrating your website, Google recommends a permanent, server-side redirect. This ensures that Google Search is directing users to the correct page.


  1. Take Advantage of Google Search Console

Search Console’s Page Indexing report and Sitemaps report are both excellent ways to keep track of the indexing of your URLs by Google. The Page Indexing report helps you keep track of any indexing issues, and the Sitemaps report allows you to submit your new sitemap and view whether the URLs in that sitemap have been indexed.


  1. Check Your Content

Don’t let page content get lost in the shuffle of changing URLs and redirects. Make sure that the information on each page aligns with the URL it is on. Also ensure that text is revised to reflect your brand name change (if applicable), and that internal links (in blog posts, articles, etc.) are updated to direct to your new pages.



Need help planning your site migration? Reach out to Relevance Advisors today to learn more about our SEO services!

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