Avoiding SEO Disasters: Common Mistakes to Dodge During Website Migration

photo of laptop on desk displaying a website migration

Change is inevitable when a business starts to scale up in the world, the same is true when it comes to website migration. Whether it’s opening a new local location or tapping into the global market, the transition can be challenging.

You may need to rebuild your site to improve user experience or enhance security. Regardless, site migration can be tricky. Disasters can mean losing your organic search ranking and all your hard work.

Fortunately, this is an avoidable scenario. This article covers the most crucial mistakes to avoid during a website migration. Read on to discover more and learn how to preserve your search engine ranking.

Not Backing Up Your Site

It’s always best to assume that something can go wrong so you can prepare yourself for it. Before migrating your website, create a backup of your current site and database. If something goes wrong during the migration process, you’ll still have the original files in your site backup.

It also helps to create multiple backups during each stage of the migration process. Anything can go wrong at any time. Having a backup could mean all the difference between a few hours of work and starting from scratch.

Mass Redirects to Your Homepage

Migrations are delicate, and the last thing you want to do is take shortcuts. One common mistake is redirecting all your pages to a homepage. This may seem like a good idea at first since you’re directing users to the new website anyway.

However, this could impact your SEO performance. For example, any ranking or authority old blog posts have will instead go to an irrelevant page. This means that the improved blog will not perform optimally.

Duplicating Content

Google has strict rules regarding duplicated content. For you, it’s only the process of moving content from one website to another. However, the Google algorithm will see it as plagiarizing someone else’s content.

An easy way to prevent this is by manually deleting extra content from your old website. This lowers the risk of receiving penalties for accidentally duplicating content. You can also use plagiarism tools like Copyscape to ensure no one else copied your hard work.

Talk to an experienced San Diego web design company if you’re not sure where to start. With their help, you can appeal to mobile visitors, which could lead to more sales.

Forgetting About Non-HTML Assets

Non-HTML assets cover everything from PDF files to videos and images. Posts with visual content get much more engagement across multiple platforms than those without. So when migrating websites, don’t forget to redirect your non-HTML assets.

Check which images are high-performing by using Google Image Search. This will show you how much traffic you’re getting from certain images.

If possible, try not to change their names and URLs. This saves you some time from having to redirect them. It also ensures that your images won’t get de-indexed during the relaunch.

Forgetting to Submit Requirements in GSC

Google Search Console is a crucial tool for webmasters, especially during a website migration. It can take some time for Google to pick up on-site migrations and redirects. However, you can speed this up by submitting a domain migration notice.

This lets Google know about any changes you’ve made and allows it to update its index. Keep your old sitemap but don’t forget to submit your new one. This will boost the indexing of new URLs so that your new pages will be easier to discover.

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Making Unnecessary URL Changes

Rebuilding your website doesn’t mean you have to refresh every single thing. For example, URL changes are usually unnecessary during a website migration. If you completely change your URL structure, it can be harder to rediscover your new site.

This can also cause your organic search ranking to drop. Changing your URL structure could also mean excessive redirecting, which can slow down your website. If your old URLs are performing well, don’t change them.

Implementing Too Many Changes at Once

A new website can seem like an exciting prospect, almost like a fresh start. However, it’s best not to go overboard with the changes. At the very least, you shouldn’t introduce changes all at once.

If you want to update content or add new technology, do it one step at a time. This makes it easier to identify anomalies if something goes wrong during the migration. Ensure that all stakeholders are aware of the proposed changes, as well as the risks they might bring.

Forgetting to Migrate Title Tags

Title tags play a crucial role in your SEO ranking. They drive conversions and also help Google determine a page’s relevancy. Unfortunately, one of the most common pitfalls during a site migration is forgetting about the title tags.

It’s best to keep the old title tags at least until you’ve completed the migration. This will allow you to maintain their existing ranking and authority. You can improve upon them once your site has stabilized.

Dropping Redirects Too Soon

Google takes time to understand and accept redirects. The larger your site is, the longer it will take for Google to crawl a site.

Because of that, it’s crucial not to remove redirects prematurely. It’s best to keep your redirects in place for at least a year before dropping them.

Failing to Protect External Links

Quality backlinks are crucial in maintaining a healthy organic search ranking. Take note of pages with a high number of external links and ensure you don’t break them. You might need to get in touch with linking websites to help you out with your new page.

Links that point to a new page hold more value than links passing through a 301 redirect. This will help you retain rank and authority on high-performing pages.

Embrace These Tips for a Successful Website Migration

Website migration can be a daunting process, especially when you have a ranking to maintain. However, with these tips, you can minimize risks and push through with a shiny, new website.

Need a professional touch? That’s where Ascendance Website Solutions comes in. Contact us today and let us know about your business goals, and we’ll tell you the best way to achieve them.

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