A properly made redesign, whether the change of the site engine undoubtedly brings many benefits, both from the UX (user experience) and SEO side. However, such an operation also carries many threats. Especially from the point of view of the position of particular phrases in the search engine.
Each case is different, often we will not avoid declines in the initial period. However, performing a few basic steps will minimize the negative effect, and skillful optimization will allow for stable growth in the future.
URLs / redirects
This is one of the most important elements during website migration. If possible, please keep your current addresses and their structure. Unfortunately, very often we can not do it for technical reasons. It is also not worth sticking to this rule if the URL has an unfriendly browser URL.
Let’s assume that addresses must be changed, what are the consequences? Very serious, because the attempt to enter the tab from the old page will return us a 404 error, so we will lose a significant part of the traffic from the search engine. The situation is even worse for SEO. We will lose the power of incoming links directing to non-existing sub pages.
To defend ourselves against negative effects, we should:
– Keep old URLs where possible (especially take seriously the tabs that generate the most traffic on the website and guarantee the highest positions for significant key phrases).
– Use 301 redirects wherever the address changes (it is important that the old address is redirected to its equivalent in the new version of the site).
– If there is no equivalent to the previous page on the new page, we should redirect it to a sub-page similar to the topic.
The tag “title”
We should move the content of this tag for each sub page of the site. It may happen that most titles on the old page were identical – then it is worth changing them into unique ones. In this case, we do not risk anything, and we can gain a lot.
What you should not do first of all is to significantly reduce the amount of content, and replace most of the texts on the site. During migration, it is best to map content and structure (including headers) to the largest possible extent, possibly complementing the missing places with new content.
Internal linking and incoming links.
As with the previous elements, we should map the structure of links from the old page. It should be noted that the links do not point to the old, redirected URLs, only the corresponding addresses on the new page.
This also applies to links coming from other websites. Where possible, update the old links.
– if the Google Analytics code was implemented on the old page, it should be moved to a new page,
– after “firing” a new page you need to check if it is blocked for Google robots,
– make sure that the production page (on the test domain) is blocked before indexing – otherwise it will create a copy of the content.
– prepare an up-to-date Sitemap and submit it in Google Search Console.
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