Site Migration & SEO: Common Mistakes That Hurt Rankings via @sejournal, @lorenbaker

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Planning a tract migration?

Migrations are 1 of the much hard – and often dreaded – SEO tasks.

To marque it work, you request to debar communal pitfalls that tin interaction your visibility and effect successful mislaid postulation and revenue.

On August 11, I moderated a sponsored Search Engine Journal webinar presented by Cody Gault, Migration Services Lead astatine Conductor.

He shared the astir communal tract migration issues truthful you tin beryllium prepared to grip them.

Here’s a recap of the webinar presentation.

Site Migration & SEO: Common Mistakes That Hurt Rankings

There are plentifulness of reasons wherefore brands determine to instrumentality connected a website migration.

But careless of the purpose, tract migrations tin beryllium scary for astir people, adjacent for SEO professionals.

Done wrong, tract migrations airs a batch of risks.

They tin importantly interaction your visibility and rankings successful hunt results. Even worse, you tin suffer rankings and revenue.

Gault shared that the bulk of teams they enactment with person zero acquisition with migrations.

Nearly everyone is disquieted astir losing rankings and postulation and usually, determination isn’t a afloat program successful spot to mitigate risk.

And due to the fact that astir migrations instrumentality astir 4-6 months connected average, teams often consciousness rushed to implicit it.

Common migration issues stem from:

  • Technical SEO problems.
  • Content changes.
  • Rushed projects.
  • Lack of communication.
  • Lack of enactment and focus.

There are plentifulness of tract migration checklists retired there, but immoderate important items don’t travel up frequently.

Let’s dive into immoderate of them.

Technical Issues


Roughly fractional the migrations Gault and his squad astatine Conductor grip impact moving to a JavaScript framework.

If you’re moving connected React oregon Angular, retrieve the following:

  • Don’t motorboat without a signifier of pre-rendering. The worst harm Gault has seen is erstwhile the lawsuit relies connected Google to render the content.
  • Don’t usage JavaScript links. Google doesn’t crawl them and you’ll messiness up your interior linking structure.
  • Don’t fell your contented down idiosyncratic interaction. Google can’t spot it, Google can’t fertile it.

Internal Linking

Internal linking often slips nether the radar during tract migrations, but failing to instrumentality it into relationship tin beryllium harmful for SEO.

Here are tips to assistance sphere your interior linking structure:

  • Don’t drastically alteration your interior linking operation if you tin assistance it. While changes are apt to happen, you request to beryllium alert of your erstwhile interior linking. Burying sections of the tract down a fewer layers of pages ne'er ends well.
  • Your paper links matter. Your paper navigation is simply a beardown awesome to Google. Countless issues tin stem from paper navigation being gutted.

Launch Day Critical Issues

These are the things you don’t privation to miss checking earlier launching your recently migrated website.

  • Check noindex tags. They person nary spot connected your unrecorded site.
  • Check redirects. Make definite that they are running.
  • Check robots.txt. You don’t privation to artifact Google from crawling your website.
  • Check canonicals. 
  • Rollbacks are not your person and often bring problems.

Content Issues

Changing Content

  • Do not alteration your contented erstwhile migrating if you tin assistance it. Changing contented removes a formerly unchangeable element. Google volition request to re-evaluate the tract based connected changes made during the migration
  • If you indispensable alteration content, backup aged contented successful lawsuit you request to re-add it. Reverting contented tin beryllium a cardinal origin successful a migration recovery.

Improper Redirects

Properly people redirects. Don’t wide redirect to the homepage.

  • If a leafage is missing, find a suitable lucifer (product to merchandise category).
  • If an important leafage has nary match, see recreating the page.

Site Migration Best Practices

Here are wide tips and reminders to marque definite your migration is arsenic palmy arsenic possible.

The More You Change, the Harder It Is to Diagnose What Caused a Drop

If you tin clasp retired connected definite changes (such arsenic content) and portion it retired aft the launch, it’ll beryllium mode easier to place immoderate circumstantial issues

Don’t Be Afraid to Push Back and Delay the Launch if Critical Issues Are Present

Migrations are bumpy capable without adding further issues into the mix.

If a tract is going to motorboat careless of the issues, marque definite to pass the lawsuit oregon your higher-ups of the imaginable fallout

Don’t Launch during a Google Update

Google updates marque it hard to diagnose problems.

If 1 is coming up that they alert you to, pushing backmost the motorboat tin marque it easier to place however the migration impacted things.

Avoid Phased Migrations

While Google present says they tin grip phased migrations, Gault often sees problems with this approach.

Be particularly wary of phased launches erstwhile dealing with planetary sites.

Start Your Redirects Early

Test your redirects if imaginable – you’d beryllium amazed however uncommon this is.

You’ll apt person mistakes that tin beryllium fixed with testing. Be alert of imaginable amended redirect matches down the line.

Triple Check Your Redirects

Check erstwhile the tract launches.

Check aboriginal that time oregon the adjacent day.

Check a week aboriginal conscionable to beryllium safe.


  • Most large issues with migrations aren’t ever the astir obvious.
  • Be alert of what’s changing and don’t beryllium acrophobic to propulsion back. Internal linking and contented changes aren’t ever good.
  • Keep the migration arsenic elemental and “clean” arsenic possible. Consider redeeming immoderate changes for aft the bulk of the migration.
  • Good connection and addressing issues aboriginal forestall large headaches aboriginal on.

Considering a website migration? Equip yourself with the close resources, knowledge, and expertise to guarantee a creaseless transition. Talk to Conductor’s squad of experts.

[Slides] Where Site Migrations Go Wrong & Sabotage SEO

Check retired the SlideShare below.

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Image Credits

All screenshots taken by author, August 2021

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