Smooth Site Changes - Getting it Right
From time to time the evolution of SEO, branding or products results in needing to redesign and redevelop a website. This could be anything from meeting the changing demands of algorithms, to adapting new tech into the website to improve usability and overall performance. Beyond the logistics and design process, there is a need to manage a new website with search engine optimisation in mind. So how is a website migration best managed?
What are the Goals?
Behind every site redesign and migration is a set of goals, or reasoning either highlighted by evolving business needs or the need to improve the SEO service of a website to keep up with ongoing algorithm changes.
The goals of a business could be revenue based or brand based, but ultimately they will drive a new website and ensuring a smooth transition is key.
How Is the Site Currently Performing?
Webmasters will always have a general idea of how a website performs at an overall level and a site migration offers the perfect opportunity to take this further and investigate website performance at a much deep level.
For example, full reverse engineering of exit pages over a 12 or 18 month period creates a map of where the current holes are in the website to be addressed in relation to goals before a version of the website is built.
At the other end of the scale is a need to put markers on the elements of the website which are performing well. Auditing successful paths to purchase or conversion means being able to highlight areas of the website which need to be protected moving forward.
Essentially, the auditing of site performance is the perfect platform to ‘trim the fat’ of a website and streamline the user experience to be suited to goals outlined as the key reason for migration to a new design.
Preserving Performance - Planning
The smooth transition of a website, including traffic, rankings and conversions forms the heart of the planning phase.
Development schedules form the core of this planning, with designers and SEO agencies plugging in at key points of the development phase.
SEO agencies are particularly important as they aid with new onpage content optimisation may be needed, structure tagging created and schema tags can also be implemented in the development phase to make the entire process simpler.
Preserving Performing – Migration
The migration of a website is critical and assuming the planning phase is completed as it should be, from a design and development side, an efficient checklist can be used.
Consider the implementation of a htaccess where needed to speed up redirects, that the website has no dead ends, DNS is switched as it should be, Google Search Console change of address is implemented and all tagging (pieced together in the planning phase) is correctly installed on the website.
The ‘going live’ should take place at a time which results in minimal disruption to the brand.
New sitemaps need to be created and uploaded to ensure quick indexing of the website.
A check should include:
- Live date
- Page changes
- URL changes
- 301 redirects
- DNS changes
- Website tagging
- Meta data
- Analytics & Search Console
- Ongoing management plan
POLARIS is an SEO agency in London specialising in search engine optimisation for a range of clients.