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Website Migration Checklist

Website Migration SEO Checklist

Checklist for Website Migration

Any website migration project comes with its challenges and risks, especially with search engine optimization. I have compiled this checklist to make it easier for SEO professionals to prepare for a website migration.

Whether you are migrating from HTTP to HTTPS, non-www to www (or vice versa) or to a completely new domain, I hope this list will come in handy.

Website Migration Process

When someone tells me about website migration, I prepare for 3 stages:

  • Pre Migration
  • Launch Day
  • Post Migration

These are the stages and allow the SEO specialist to prepare for it properly.

Questions to ask before a website migration

  • Is the migration worth it?
  • Does the website have established search engine traffic?
  • Are there high traffic pages that may be affected?
  • How would this migration affect the back link profile of the website?
  • What are the SEO benefits after the migration?
  • What are the SEO risks from this migration?
  • Will there be code/architecture changes caused by the migration?
  • Etc.

Website Pre-Migration Checklist

  • Identify growth opportunities and risks
  • Set realistic objectives and goals
  • Prepare the project plan
  • Review prototypes and wireframes (if there are changes)
  • Purchase and setup SSL for new domain (if domain is changing, or SSL migration is your goal)
  • Setup hosting for the new domain (if different from current domain)
  • Prepare the SEO specifications (there are always SEO implications, make sure to cover all the grounds)
  • Identify priority pages (you need to make sure your top traffic pages are safe)
  • Benchmark analytics/SEO traffic/backlinks
  • Review staging environment setup (if you have one)
  • Review page templates (if there are changes)
  • Review content
  • Review all internal links
  • Review technical SEO
    • Crawl time issues
    • Cloaking checks
    • Javascript crawling
    • Mobile optimization
    • Structured data
    • Pagination(s) / prev/next meta tags
    • 404 pages
    • Sitemap files
    • Hreflang (if any)
    • Site speed checks
  • Check redirects
  • Review analytics setup
  • Generate a full content inventory
  • CDN Configuration Preparation
  • Ads & 3rd-Party Extension Preparation
    • Google Tag Manager
    • Adobe Analytics
    • Google Analytics
    • Facebook Pixel
    • Etc.
  • Add new domain to Google search console and verify

Website Launch Day Checklist

  • Spot check search engine crawling
    • Old URL redirects
    • New URLs
    • Internal links
    • Robots.txt
    • Server responses
    • Canonical tags
    • Noindex/indexes
    • Cloaking checks
  • Google Search Console
    • Request indexing of the new site
    • Carry out site change in search console
    • Spot check URLs for crawling
    • Check and update URL parameters
    • Submit and test sitemap XML files
    • Configure URL parameters
  • Crawl using bots
  • Create a new content inventory
  • Compare new inventory to old inventory
  • Check to make sure legacy redirects were not lost
  • Check to ensure no long redirect chains
  • Compare old and new meta data comparison
    • Titles
    • Descriptions
    • Headings
    • OG tags
    • Etc.
  • Update all social media links
  • Update all Ads & 3rd-Party Extensions
    • Google Tag Manager
    • Adobe Analytics
    • Google Analytics
    • Facebook Pixel
    • Etc.
  • Check for any third party software and update the domains

Website Post-Migration Checklist

  • Regularly check the index coverage report
  • Monitor sitemap indexation levels
  • Keep an eye on crawl stats reports
  • Download and review crawl errors
  • Fix any errors ASAP
  • Look out for mobile usability issues
  • Track top keywords daily
  • Keep an eye on performance reports
    • Mobile speed
    • Desktop speed
    • Bounce rate
    • Conversion report
  • Update all social media links
  • Update all Ads & 3rd-Party Extensions
    • Google Tag Manager
    • Adobe Analytics
    • Google Analytics
    • Facebook Pixel
    • Etc.
  • Check for any third party software and update the domains

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