By: Akshita
January 18 2018

Migrate To Your Search Engine Optimized Drupal 8 Website

Website migration not only sounds complex but puts at stake the very existence of your website. While SEO is one of the many factors involved, it is crucial in nature. Our clients and prospects face issues post migration as they lose the credibility they built on search engines. Flexibility and upgradability are sensitive areas which SEO hampers, the process-driven activities at OpenSense labs require a strict development environment to armor your identity on the web. 

OpenSense Labs helps you migrate without altering your current SEO conditions

Regardless of the size of your website, a successful execution can be troublesome. Migration demands not just meticulous planning but a well-structured implementation too. It is better if your plan and involve experts who can calculate and keep away the threats involved. 

We follow the best practices to ensure that your SEO is done correctly without degrading the quality and hampering the ideal traffic to your website. Also, using Drupal ensures that we keep using its modules and our expertise to fully optimize and exceed your organic traffic expectations. 

How to handle SEO after you are firm on migrating?

One of the most crucial aspects of the process is an effective strategy to handle migration as well as content and URL changes. This can be challenging especially for companies with big data. The worst case scenario after the migration can be a dramatic drop in traffic. The ideal time to involve the SEO migration strategy in your plan is three months. Designing a detailed structure and abiding by a checklist is what one should be doing. This will give you time to review and better the plan, allocate the right people to it and prevent potential damages. 

Organize your resources - here comes the ultimate guide to SEO when migrating

Here is a step-by-step guide to a successful implementation and SEO retention.

  1. Extract key pages and their associated data after thorough analysis

    The first thing you must do is analyze your key metrics (keywords, ranking, traffic, and URL) and extract the metadata from the old site keeping the analytics handy. It is important that you know how your site is currently performing to keep your expectations healthy and realistic. 
  2. Align the business stakeholder with extracted information and goals with the new site.

    After collecting the information it is important that all the major stakeholders are informed about the stats. This will ensure that your future marketing strategy is aligned with the insights you gather from the collected information. 

    While planning the strategy you should know that the traffic will experience a slight dip in the initial day’s post-migration.  A good primary goal is traffic recovery in the first three months itself. 
  3. Evaluate the current and new target audience.

    To keep the traffic and leads coming, it is important that you evaluate the source, demographics and content consumption of current audience as well as analyze the pages which are getting more sessions (to get an idea on what your customer is looking for). The answers to which will drive your strategy and give it a new direction. 
  4. Do a competitive research 

    It is necessary that you know your competition and the key strategies which they inculcate. Which are the keywords which your competitors are ranking on? What kind of content are they regulating? What available options do you have to increase the level? A holistic competitive analysis will help you configure the necessary and plan actions.
  5. Make content/URL transition plan. Segregate into, new, old and redirects. 

    Categorize the URLs as ‘keep’, ‘improve’ and ‘redirected’ 

    Migration is probably the best time to evaluate your content and SEO strategies. It is necessary that you know which content you would prove fruitful and which doesn’t meet industry standards anymore. Categorize your content URLs into ‘to be retained’, ‘away’ and ‘to be redirected’’.

    And mark if the content is relevant and doesn’t need redirection. If the content is out of date, probably it is time to get rid of it. But that doesn’t mean you cannot update the old content. Often SEO is deteriorated during migration because the older-but-relevant content is abandoned or not taken care of. Use analytics to determine the value each written piece is generating. 
  6. Post the development, implement on-page SEO for 100% site health. 

    Now, as you have assessed the value of content on your website, you are in a position to optimize your website. Align the relevant metadata you collected in step 1 with the new architecture. Configure all the necessary settings such as modules, themes, and nodes. 

    Following genuine on page SEO practices will ensure good crawlability, better site structuring, and user-friendly search.

  7. Evaluate the pre-launch site by conducting a  full site audit, and ensure the transition plan is in place. 

    Once your site is all set to go, keep checking the under-development site to test the new version. 
    Using A/B testing tools which can easily integrate with your CRM software will help you ensure nothing is left in the process. 
    This will also give your testing team to analyze if all the steps mentioned above have been followed.

    7.5: Compare crawlability of both the versions. Make adjustments based on traffic authority of pages.
    When testing, map the developed version with the old site and analyze the number of pages lost and new pages gained in the process. 

  8. Launch and reindexed site.
    Get your new site indexed by the search engines so you don’t lose your numbers. In case of change of URL, use google webmaster’s console to re-submit your site for a full re-crawl.

    However, if you are not changing the URL, the above step is not needed. 
  9. Keep auditing behavior and traffic stats for the next 2 months to handle surprises.

    Because you have deleted a lot of old content, added new with changed meta description, it’s time to observe and evaluate the results. SEO doesn’t end here, it’s a process that keeps going on till you are online. The best practice after you have launched your site is to keep analyzing the reports and adhering to SEO practices.

A site migration will almost always result in a temporary loss of traffic - search engines need time to process the change and update its index accordingly. While this can be a turning point for your SEO, at OpenSense Labs, our experts ensure that content alteration, removing the broken links, or improve the structure goes as planned.

Planning to migrate and worried about the SEO? Drop a mail at [email protected] and talk to the experts.

Akshita handles Content & Marketing at OpenSense Labs. She likes to devour content related to SEO, open source technologies and politics besides Drupal, of course. As a hobby, she trains young girls with TaeKwondo.
She is also a big Game of Thrones fan and quotes Tyrion atleast 5 times a day.