You may want to change the domain of the website for many reasons. It is highly essential to analyze the scope involved in this process before jumping into any conclusion. Website migration is the process of moving the website from one domain to another diverse domain by retaining the actual contents and other linked elements. When executed well, it could prove to be a game-changer, but if you neglect the search engine aspects (SEO), you could take a significant jolt in your organic traffic.
Things to consider while migrating your website:
There are many elements to be considered while migrating your website from one domain to another. Research the scope of your migration correctly before deciding to move on. This will ensure an optimal long-term result while minimizing the traffic loss and providing the best SEO rankings.
Plan: Planning the complete checklist by defining the scope and risks of the process. Have a thorough discussion with your SEO specialists, content creators, UX, and Analytics team. This will ensure you to list all the potential risks and responsibilities. Back up all the necessary website files and outline the design, contents, SEO needs of the new domain. Check the new domain to be ready with name, DNS settings, and Database and SEO requirements. All the essential variations in the design and copy of all the pages must be verified for possible SEO aspects.
SEO specifications: Once the review of pages is completed, prepare a comprehensive list of SEO specifications. This file’s principal aim is to include all SEO necessities that must be included in the scope of works. It will help plan the budget well in advance, and there are no surprises in later stages. Ensure to include all the necessary details in this document so that it will be the ideal list for developers to execute in the process.
Preparing redirects: Implementing redirects is an important activity to be performed during the site migration process, which is essential from an SEO perspective. Redirects aid the search engines to find and guide a website’s new domain address easily. They also help in knowing how the old website pages are linked with the new website pages. The understanding of these links will let the ranking indicators to redirect from old website pages to the latest ones. It is crucial to retain SEO rankings without any negative impacts.
If the redirects are not implemented correctly, there could be terrible consequences. There will be a loss of Search engine/keyword rankings and website reputation earned in the previous timelines. Map the existing URLs on the old website to an equivalent URL on the new site by analyzing all the necessities. Failure to execute this correctly will make users land on the Not Found pages (404s) or unrelated pages that do not meet the user intent. This will adversely impact the website conversion rates.
Mobile-first index analysis:
Google’s mobile-first index is fundamental to be considered for optimal SEO rankings. Review the mobile website and be sure that there are no discrepancies amongst desktop and mobile sites. A successful website must adhere to the same URLs, content, and mark-up for all devices and match the SEO features.
Follow the below tips for a successful migration:
- Notify all the website users about the migration of your website well before the actual process. This will ensure to give them any heads up if any minor variations.
- It is wise not to migrate the complete site at one shot. It is possible to create a test model of the new website, and when you are sure about your process, start the process step-by-step. This is more crucial if you are carrying several migration categories in a single move.
- Carry the actual process during low-traffic times as it will curtail the effects if there are any minor glitches. Added to this, fewer loads on servers will help the search engines to crawl through the website and index them quickly.
Promoting the move post-migration: A vital element of the website move is telling your website users about this migration. The website would have been shared on social media, and it would have been passed on to multiple places. You have to promote the new site at all the possible platforms so that users do not find it difficult post-migration. Discuss and implement an effective strategy with your marketing team before the commencement of the process. Monitor the new website by forming a benchmark for pages indexed, observing the backlinks, keyword listings, and regular search traffic linked to the old site. These figures must gradually drop down as there will be a rise in new website numbers if SEO strategies are carefully taken care of.
Pros and Cons of the process:
Consistency: You can maintain all your domains in a single platform and control them easily. It will be easier to manage with a centrally-located domain, allowing batch control and optimal security.
Save costs: Your current services may be costly. You can shift to an efficient service for valued performance.
Modern and easy experience: If the current domain is still using an old interface, managing them could be tough.
Enhancement in bandwidth and speed: You could shift to a domain that allows enhancement in bandwidth and loading speeds.
Support: You may want to have excellent support for any issues and activities on the website.
Affects SEO ranking: Neglecting the changes in domain server origin will affect the SEO ranking as Google forms the search results based on the relevance of domain server location.
Interruptions: Even slight mistakes in the migration process can lead to downtimes, corruption, and access permission issues to Databases, etc., affecting the overall brand value.
Summary: Changing your domain name for your business website is a delicate process. If done correctly, with good analysis and execution, it could stimulate your business growth in the long run.