Website migration provides numerous challenges for brands and businesses that focus on organic traffic development. When you update a URL, change a name, or take other rebranding steps, it’s not unusual to see traffic fall immediately.
If you do everything right during the website migration process, you can avoid ranking loss. That saves your revenue streams while helping your SEO investments remain relevant. The best advice to follow is to resist making all your changes happen simultaneously.
Here are the elements you’ll want to review to protect your SEO rank during this transition.
1. Check the Redirects
You’ll need to take the time to set up your redirects properly to ensure your search engine optimization investments keep working for you. All the pages with high-quality backlinks, along with those that get traffic from your social media presence, must have 301 redirects.
As part of this process, don’t forget to update your sitemaps. All canonical links from the old URL should go to the new one so that the search engines spot the change. It might be necessary to contact your backlink relationships to swap out the old links for the new ones.
2. Evaluate Content Changes
Before tackling all your website design changes, try to do the work you can that won’t require content or web hosting alterations. Give those updates a chance to see if they impact traffic levels. Once things look fine, you can begin moving forward with the other necessary changes.
It helps to keep a backup available of an older website. If issues develop, you can revert to it without a significant ranking drop.
3. Perform a Technical Audit
A technical SEO audit can help you identify any significant issues that could be harming your rankings. The primary factors you’re looking for during this step fit into three generic categories.
• On-Page Factors. These items include target keywords, site content, and related terms.
• Off-Page Factors. This category focuses on the outside references to your website, including backlinks, that aren’t necessarily under your control.
• Technical Factors. You’ll want to look at aspects like your page loading speed, indexing, and hosting in this area.
Several issues are discoverable through this process. Each one requires correction to restore traffic.
4. Look for HTTPS Issues
About 70% of the first page results Google offers are all HTTPS. If you’ve seen a dramatic falloff in traffic after completing a website migration, your issues might be in this area.
The biggest problem involves mixed content. When a site tries to load unsecured content, like a video or a picture, it reduces the page’s overall security. It might even prevent a browser from loading everything, which often causes less traffic.
5. Site Architecture Changes
It’s possible that page rankings aren’t being optimally distributed as before because your migration causes an architectural change. If the site hierarchy is harder for crawlers or users to manage, you’ll see SEO traffic levels drop. Restoring this structure should resolve the issue.
Changing your brand or website won’t impact your SEO rank as often when you take these steps and avoid doing everything at once. That way, your organic traffic can continue delivering the revenues you need to stay in business.