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Website Migration: Why do you need it?

As your website grows in size and complexity, there may come a time when a website migration becomes necessary. When this happens, following a step-by-step approach to migrating your site makes the process smoother and helps you avoid a negative SEO impact.

What is Website Migration?

Website migration is the process of making significant alterations to a website’s technology, site structure, design, or location.

There can be different reasons for migrating a website such as changing platforms, switching web hosting providers, or updating the domain name. Even a small change like going from HTTP to HTTPS is considered a website migration.

In fact, any significant modification that could affect your visibility on search engines qualifies as a site migration. These changes can range from major to minor, and you might decide to make multiple changes at once for efficiency.

A site migration could involve making adjustments to your website’s content, design, structure, platform, or domain. However, the ultimate goal is to improve the site’s performance, visibility, and user experience.

No matter what changes you want to make, migrating a website is not without risks. Potential issues may include status code errors, decreased SEO performance, and user dissatisfaction. To minimize these risks, a comprehensive understanding of the procedure and its potential impact on SEO is indispensable.

website migration

Why Undergo Website Migration?

There are several reasons that a business might choose to migrate their website. If you’re considering a website migration, you might have even considered several reasons from this list.

Here are some of the most common reasons for a website migration:

  • Brand Evolution: Over time, you’ll likely need to revamp your site’s content, design, or structure to reflect your current offerings or branding. For example, you might change your domain name and URL to something that suits your brand better, or get a domain that ends in .com so you can take your site international.
  • New Functions or Features: As your business grows, you might outgrow the functionality of your current site, or require additional features. For example, if you start selling physical or digital products, you might require an e-commerce platform that will support your goals. Older platforms or an outdated CMS might not support newer functionalities or might not be cost-effective for your business in the long run.
  • Better Search Engine Visibility: Oftentimes, tweaks to your website such as redesigning your content structure or improving load times can have a tremendous impact on your search rankings. From reassessing 301 redirects to restructuring and optimizing your existing content, all of these changes have the potential to impact your SEO ranking.
  • Improved User Experience: If your current website is creating gaps in your user experience (UX), it might be time to upgrade. For instance, you might decide to change to a mobile-first website if you’re finding that the majority of your target audience is visiting your site from a mobile device.
  • Increased Security: A change as simple as moving your site from HTTP to HTTPS can provide increased data protection for your users. A secure website not only protects your site from harmful cyber attacks, it can even boost your search rankings by improving user experience and building credibility in the eyes of search engines.

Does it affect SEO?

A website migration generally has a negative impact on SEO in the short term and a positive impact in the long term.

That’s because it takes time for search engines to understand the changes you’ve made to your site. But they should ultimately recognize that your site has changed for the better. (Assuming that it definitely has.)

To minimize the negative impact on your SEO, you should follow some website migration best practices.

website migration

When to perform a website migration

Website migration is required under the following conditions:

  • During server upgrades, when server data must be transferred to a new system for preservation.
  • When an administrator switches to a new Internet Service Provider (ISP).
  • When a website administrator migrates data from a web page in one domain to another.

Risks of a Website Migration

If done incorrectly, a website migration could be disastrous. One of the biggest complications could be a drop in your visibility. And when users can’t find you in an organic search, your revenue could drop significantly. You may or may not be able to recover from such a loss.

Your site’s authority could also decrease if your old web pages aren’t redirected properly. This could happen because the newly migrated pages did not register old backlinks. If you had external sites linked to your old web pages, those pages have to be redirected to the new ones, or the backlinks won’t show up.

You could also have issues with your analytics tracking, mobile responsiveness, or page speed. To avoid issues like these, make sure you prepare thoroughly for your website migration and work with a web developer as needed.

Conclusion

Website migration can be a complex process, but by following a step-by-step approach and using a comprehensive checklist, you can minimize the risks and maximize the benefits. Clearly define your goals, assemble the right team, plan your budget and timeline, promote your new website before the migration, and carefully execute the migration process. Continuously track and evaluate the impact of the migration, making improvements as needed. By taking a strategic and data-driven approach, you can ensure a seamless and successful website migration that enhances your online presence and drives business growth.

Knowledge

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