We’ve been talking a lot in this space recently about site migrations, an essential area of internet marketing across numerous industries. This process, which involves any major site changes that might impact SEO, is highly detailed and requires careful planning to execute properly.
Broadly speaking, what are the steps you’ll follow during this process? Here are the basics.
As we’ve noted in previous blogs, planning is all about setting realistic objectives. You’ll create a project plan that includes every element and individual involved in the process, including making stakeholders aware of all the tasks and their timelines. This process also involves tabbing project managers who are detailed, focused and up to this specific task.
Pre-launch prep is the largest single area of the process, with dozens of different areas to be covered while developing the new site. You should already know your SEO requirements, and you should be working with designers and information architects. You’ll prepare everything from technical SEO specifications to priority pages, redirecting, mapping and image files, among many other areas.
From here, you want to get to the testing phase as soon as possible. Not all parts of the site need to be fully implemented to begin testing – our pros can help show you which ones are most vital here. The earlier you’re able to get into testing and identify prominent issues, the better your chances are of removing these before launch.
On launch day itself, first, be prepared that the new live site will be temporarily down. Most downtime periods here are short, but this is a basic reality here.
Once the site is live, check things like robots.txt files, top pages redirects, canonical tags, server responses and noindex/nofollow directives. Also consider search console actions, such as uploading XML sitemaps and dealing with potential duplicate content problems.
From here, it’s time to begin even more testing. There will once again be numerous areas here that our pros can help walk you through.
One of the biggest questions within a site migration is how long it will take to know the success of the move. In reality, the answer here is that you learn more and more as more time goes on – the first few weeks are likely to have a lot of volatility, so don’t get too upset or elated over any results during that period. Smaller sites may begin to show realistic results within 4-6 weeks, while larger sites generally have to wait at least a couple months before taking the results too seriously.
For more on-site migrations, or to learn about any of our SEO services, speak to the pros at SEO Werkz today.