The Basics of a Site Migration SEO Checklist
A well-organized SEO site migration checklist is crucial for your website. Below are the steps outlined in the SEO Diet book to help you plan, implement, and monitor the migration.
Step 1. Planning
To start the site migration you will need to create a sitemap of your new website. You can do this by compiling a list of all the URLs on the full site by using a tool such as Screaming Frog. When planning the site migration, you also want to make sure you speak with your PPC agency about their campaigns because you will need to set redirects on those URLs. Failing to do this will cause broken links and negatively impact the PPC campaign.
Now that you have the URLs in the planning phase you want to map each individual URL from the current site to the new site, individually. Benchmark traffic and ranking levels before and during the migration to measure against re-launch traffic and rankings. Make sure to register and configure the new domain in Google Search Console.
Step 2. Implementing Your Site Migration
Phase two on the SEO site migration checklist begins with the preparation and testing of the 301 redirects. Using the program like Screaming Frog, you can see which URLs are producing error response codes. Be sure to block all crawlers in the robots.txt file to prevent the staging site from being indexed.
Now for the moment of truth:
- MAKE THE SITE LIVE
This is where you can check that all pages exist and implement the 301 redirects at page level from old to new domain. Don’t forget to also remove the disallow rule in robots.txt files to allow the search engines to crawl the site. Ensure that Analytics tracking is installed onto your new site and functions properly with Google Tag Manager.
Step 3. Monitoring the Migration
Congrats on the new site! However, but there are still things to check off the SEO site migration checklist that are crucial. Through Google Search Console, you have to check daily for crawl errors and ensure that the 301 redirects are working.
Be sure to update all external links that point toward the old domain if possible and continue to monitor Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager.
A site migration checklist is best designed and completed in tandem with an SEO agency. Be sure to contact an expert about the proper steps required to successfully execute a site migration or you can follow more in-depth steps with the help of the SEO Diet book.
SEO Diet – Chapter 2: Special Considerations for Website Redesigns