New Website SEO Tips and Website Migration Guide

By | August 10, 2019

I would like you to picture this for me. You’ve
got an existing website and you’ve got a new website in development. It’s
on a test server or a development server, something of that sort,
and you’ve probably paid quite a bit of money to have that done. The single
most important thing that you can do at this point, once the new site is
ready to be uploaded, is to have a migration strategy in place. It’s not just as simple as uploading new websites
and deleting the old one, or replacing one with the other. There is
a bit more work that needs to go into it. This isn’t a huge job and, depending
on the size, the website can be done in a day or maybe a couple of
days, but it is the single most important aspect of launching a new website,
and I’ll go into that now. So why is it the most important step? You’re
probably thinking, well, I’ve already paid a web developer a lot of money
to design the site. We’ve paid designers for the pictures, or photographers
for images for the site, that kind of thing. What else do I need? Well,
this is important because your web developer might not necessarily be aware
of the impacts that launching a new website can have on your rankings and
your traffic. So the way that Google looks at your website
is on a page by page basis, and you may be aware that each page is ranked
for a specific set of keywords or long tail variations of those
keywords. Once you launch a new website to replace an old one, all of those
pre-existing pages and all of their authority and all of their relevance
to the keywords you’ve been targeting will be lost. So the primary benefit
of doing this properly is the act of protecting your investment in your
website. If you’ve spent time or money or a lot of effort in optimising
it to appear or be visible in Google for your set of keywords, then this
will protect that investment. There’s no other way of doing it. There’s
no other way of redirecting one page to another that’s going to allow Google
to look at the new website as if it was maintaining the previous authority
of the website. It will depend very much on the type of server
that you use as to the actual methods that you can use to go about
this. Really, we’re talking about redirecting, 301 permanent redirects.
They can be used in a number of different ways. So you can use H tags as files.
Or if you use IIS or a Windows server, there’s different techniques
that can be used, that I won’t go in to the nitty-gritty of here. I’m really
trying to highlight here the importance of doing this, why you should do
it, and the benefits you’re going to get out of that in the end. So let’s just say web developers won’t necessarily
be looking to do this kind of work for you. So if you do use an
SEO agency of any kind, it’s always worth speaking to them before you launch
a new website, just to inform them this is what you’re doing, and
seek advice there. In only a very, very few isolated cases is it not possible
to set up redirects. Pretty much any server that you’re on will
allow this to happen, although I have seen a couple of cases where this wasn’t
immediately possible. In most cases, you may have to seek expert advice
when it comes to actually migrating websites. But the real importance of this comes, as
I say, in protecting your SEO investment. Each page will be ranked based
on the strength of that page. So once a new page replaces it on the website,
something needs to tell Google that this page is replacing this page properly.
Page B is replacing page A. If you don’t do that, Google’s not going to
know. So even though they might index the new page and they might see that
it’s got the same keyword focus as the previous page, it won’t necessarily
pass on any of the authority the new page has got. This is because the old
page will likely have links going to it, social bookmarking. It may be listed
in directories. People may have linked to it from blog comments, that kind
of thing, and the new page just simply won’t have that. So it’s not going
to have the strong anchor text links the other page has. But by setting up redirects to go from page
to page, rather than just the top level domain to domain, what you’re going
to be then doing is saying to Google, “Look, this new page, page B, is replacing
page A. So please pass on all of the authority from page A to page
B.” Granted, if the contents change on the new page, then you may have
to look to optimise that again in order to build up the relevance. But in terms
of the authority that the page carries, being largely derived from its
link profile and how it’s been promoted online, you’re very, very much going
to carry that authority over. The reason why I say this is very, very important
to do in the initial phases of designing the website or once the
website is actually designed, but not live yet, is because the longer the
gap that you leave between launching the new website, replacing the old
one, and then setting up redirects is going to have a massive impact
on the website’s traffic. This is something that we’ve seen at Koozai a number
of times, where a website is launched, replacing an old one, and all
of the traffic drops almost instantaneously as all of your keyword rankings
are lost when Google realises that these pages that it’s sending
people to aren’t there anymore. The longer that period is, the less chance
there is of getting those keyword rankings back in the short term, and
the greater the impact that it’s going to have on them in the long term. Now, you can experience some degree of downtime
when doing the website migrations. So even if everything is done
properly, you can still experience a week, maybe two weeks of fluctuation
in traffic and rankings as Google sort of figures out what exactly
is going on. But in most cases, 99 percent of these will come back pretty
quickly. So that’s from the redirect point of view,
saying these are the new pages and this is where they go and please redirect
the authority. But there are other things to consider as well. There are
pages on the sites, like the sitemap, the XML sitemap and so forth, that
carry a lot of links or that inform Google of where these pages are. Now
they must be addressed straightaway as well. It’s obviously worth
having a conversation with your web developer to ensure that they are aware
of your SEO requirements and that you have optimised the website so that
they can look at these different aspects. Other things include making sure the Google
Analytics code is on all of the pages of the site and in the correct place
that it was before. If you don’t do this, again it’s going to look a lot like
you’ve lost all of your traffic. If you haven’t done any of the redirects,
it’s more likely you probably have lost all of the traffic. But
the Analytics code, again, needs to be in place along with resubmission of
the sitemap to any webmaster tools accounts that you have and so forth. Then, outside of the website, it’s obviously
then worth going and looking at all of your business profiles and changing
any links that you may have there so that they’re now pointing to the
correct page. But the beauty of the redirect is that anything that you missed
will be caught by the redirect. Any external links pointing to pages
that don’t exist anymore will be directed on to the page that is there,
and that is the basis of website migration. If you’d like to find out anything more, please
visit the Koozai at, or follow any of the profile
links at the bottom of the screen. Thank you for your time.

3 thoughts on “New Website SEO Tips and Website Migration Guide

  1. AndyDOHD1 Post author

    I'm new to SEO, and am about to rebuild our company site. It has been online for a few years but we were goig to go for a WordPress template now. The present site has .asp pages but I believe WP are .php. I presume this would dramatically affect any ranking we have, is that true? Should a 301(?) redirect be set up from the .asp pages to the equivalent .php?

  2. Oliver Spear Post author

    Good video Alec! Anyone developing with WordPress should seriously look at Backup buddy as a backup/migration solution. From offline to online migration it takes care of URL (site address), domain, file paths, permalinks, etc. it's a good investment and gives peace of mind with full backup facility's if your site ever goes down for whatever reason.

  3. Smith Js Post author

    what if we keep the same url and structure will we lost traffic still? thanks


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