As Canada’s top SEO agency, we’ve heard our fair share of website migration horror stories. It always goes a little something like this: The client comes to us asking for help because they have seen a significant drop in traffic and rankings. When digging into the timelines, they let us know that they have recently given their website a facelift. We discover that while the new design is pretty to look at, there are many critical errors beneath the surface that could have been avoided if they had consulted with an SEO partner.
Unfortunately, many web developers don’t consider SEO when doing a site build or a migration. As far as they’re concerned, if the site functions properly and populates correctly on the new server, their job is done. The reality is that a web migration is a much bigger task than this. From mapping 301 redirects, to updating metadata, to ensuring that proper tracking is in place, it takes a lot of planning and effort to ensure that your site is set up for success.
Here are five reasons why you should consider hiring an SEO agency to help with your website build or migration:
Maintain or improve rankings
One of the main benefits of hiring an SEO agency for your website migration is that they can help you maintain or even improve your rankings in the process. During the planning phase of a website migration or build, our SEO specialists complete keyword research and map specific keywords to pages within your new site structure. This keyword research not only helps inform the title tags and H1s that these pages should use, but it will also guide the content that helps you rank in the search engines and provide valuable information to your users.
Some other things our specialists do during the planning phase are review the current performance of your site and keywords, set goals and objectives for the new site, and identify potential risks and challenges with any functionalities you may want to incorporate. While some drops in rankings and traffic are an expected occurrence in a migration, this additional perspective and oversight during the planning phase will help to mitigate the losses.
Focus on user and mobile-first
From mobile-first indexing to the helpful content update, Google’s algorithm predominantly focuses on how the user interacts with your website and content. SEOs follow these algorithm updates closely and are always up to date with what the best practices are, which is not necessarily something your average web developer does.
In the case of a website migration, our specialists can use their expertise and knowledge to guide your development decisions and make implementations themselves that can help to satisfy the user. For instance, they can help inform you about how to structure your pages and sitemap, increase speed and mobile responsiveness, and even give valuable UX feedback to improve conversion rates. They can also ensure that key technical SEO implementations are made upfront like fixing broken links and implementing structured data, so that your site is set up to satisfy users and perform from the get go.
Keep your traffic and leads flowing
When a migration goes sour and leads to a drop in rankings, you can be sure it is going to have a domino effect on your organic traffic and leads. This is because when you fall out of the SERPs, less people can find your website, which inevitably has an effect on your performance. These drops happen most often when valuable pages aren’t properly redirected or mapped out on the new site.
As part of the migration strategy, our SEO specialists take care to ensure that any page with good authority and traffic has a role to play on the new site. They also take a look at underperforming pages to identify potential opportunities, whether that’s adding content, improving the usability of the page, or consolidating it with others. Finally, they make sure that all pages on the development environment are optimized to perform before launching, so that you can sit back and watch the traffic and leads continue to roll in post-launch.
Preservation of backlinks
Believe it or not, a successful website migration isn’t only limited to things on the website. Well-rounded SEO has an off-page component that includes things like backlinks and social media presence, and these must also be addressed during a migration.
As part of the migration strategy, our SEO specialists audit any existing backlinks, ensure that they have a redirect in place, and then put a strategy together to build new backlinks post-migration. Backlinks help Google to see that you’re credible and trustworthy, so it’s important not to miss this step during a migration, as it helps to tackle E-E-A-T and improve rankings.
Focus on long-term results and performance
SEOs are more concerned with the long-term performance and results from a website than a developer, as SEO is a tactic that takes time. Unfortunately, we’ve seen some web developers cut corners with builders or even go radio silent after the launch, leaving the website owner helpless when their site isn’t getting as many hits as it used to. While it’s normal for things to take a dip after any migration, proper tracking and monitoring will enable you to see the data in real time and make smart optimization decisions to improve performance.
At seoplus+, we have a team of experts that work hand in hand with our SEO team to set up analytics and proper conversion tracking codes on your site through tools like Google Tag Manager, Google Analytics, Google Ads, and Google Search Console. All of our clients also get access to a real-time, user-friendly dashboard to monitor ongoing performance 24/7, so you can watch your results improve well after launch.
Website migrations and builds can be time-consuming and complex, and if you don’t have the necessary expertise, you could end up spending a lot of time and resources trying to get it right.
Thankfully, we’ve handled many web migrations and seen little down side in our experience. In fact, our websites have seen as much as an 182% increase in revenue and 27% increase in traffic in the first three months after they’re launched.
Are you looking to migrate your website with SEO best practices? Download our free high-level migration checklist below or reach out to us to discuss how we can provide more in-depth help with your migration.
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FAQ about website migrations
Why is SEO important during a website migration?
SEO is important during a website migration because it helps to minimize the risk of losing rankings, organic traffic, and leads. It also helps to ensure a positive user experience, and addresses technical considerations like metadata implementations, broken links, and crawlability issues.
How long does a website migration process take?
The website migration process can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks, depending on factors such as website complexity and size, changes being made, and SEO considerations. Typically, the process involves planning, content and URL mapping, technical implementation, testing, and ongoing monitoring and optimization.
How can I ensure a smooth migration without losing traffic?
To ensure a smooth migration without losing traffic, comprehensive planning is crucial. Set clear goals, create a detailed roadmap, and involve stakeholders early on. Conduct SEO audits to identify areas for improvement. Properly redirect URLs, update internal links, and test the new website thoroughly to ensure a seamless user experience. Monitor performance post-migration and make data-driven optimizations. Communication and coordination among teams are also important for a successful migration.