Monitoring web migrations: A checklist for relocating from one site to another

Whether it is a website rebranding, a converging of opposite web properties or an HTTP to HTTPs migration, when we are implementing a constructional web change, it is vicious to guard a crawling, indexing, rankings, trade and organic hunt conversions on both a aged and new web locations. Careful tracking will capacitate we to repair any intensity problem as they arise.

Besides substantiating a applicable plan to follow that include hunt engine optimization (SEO) best practices, here are a many vicious areas and stairs to guard during a web emigration stages.  Be prepared to brand any issues that could means a disastrous impact, while also identifying opportunities.

Getting started

Start tracking your organic hunt prominence on a aged and new web locations during slightest a confederate of months before a emigration takes place.  This will make it easier to brand any astonishing and unsuitable function when a change happens.

Old vs. new web crawling

Let’s start with a many elemental aspects to countenance and guard after executing a migration:

  • Can a URLs be crawled in a new web location? Make certain a pages and resources are now effectively permitted in their new addresses.
  • Have a 301 redirects from a aged to a new URL locations been effectively implemented and tested?

This can be finished by regulating an SEO crawler like Screaming Frog, Sitebulb or Deepcrawl, as good as SEMrush, Ryte or Sistrix, to copy a hunt crawlers’ behavior. You can also check (new and old) websites record files.

You can start by simulating both a desktop and smartphone hunt engine user agents to countenance a site’s concept apparatus locator (URL) accessibility in a new destination, as good as regulating a “list crawl” choice to determine a hypertext send custom (HTTP) standing of all a aged URLs.

You are looking to see if all a links are 301-redirecting to applicable and rightly configured new URLs. If a links are redirecting correctly, a new URLs will be indexed rather than a old, and a aged will not uncover a 200 OK HTTP or even 404 HTTP blunder standing in a aged location, avoiding redirects loops or bondage redirects that are some-more formidable to follow.

To equivocate blank aged URLs, it is ideal to emanate a list of them by regulating opposite information sources from former pages to quit and monitor:

  • Crawlable URLs in a aged plcae to be found with crawling simulations.
  • URLs with any trade in a final months or year.
  • URLs with any tip 20 rankings.
  • URLs with any outmost link.

Most SEO crawlers will confederate with other tools. For example, with Deepcrawl we can confederate information from Google Search Console, Google Analytics, Majestic and record files that brand intensity crawling gaps. This includes waif URLs that competence not be used anymore though brought value and should be migrated to a new URL version.

It is also advisable to news continual crawls, generally a days before and after a emigration happens, and review with prior formula to see if a change is unchanging and a redirects haven’t been altered given being set.

I endorsed we use a web monitoring use that will send an warning if there are changes in a HTTP standing or other SEO-related configurations on a pages we are monitoring.

Old vs. new web indexing

Monitor a applicable new pages and resources to see if they have been indexed in their new plcae while a aged ones are disintegrating from Google’s index. This is easier to do now with a new Google Search Console, where we can supplement a aged and new web locations concerned in a emigration as eccentric properties to track.

In a new Index Coverage report, we can see what pages have been effectively indexed from a new plcae and that have been left out. The news will yield a reason (using a noindex tag, canonicalizing toward others and so on) so we can redress a problem and re-submit them to a index when a emanate is fixed.

The same should be finished with a aged web location. In this case, check to be certain all of a URLs are 301-redirecting to their new locations and a redirects are going to their new applicable locations.

Old vs. new web rankings

It is also vicious to guard rankings and trade in a new and aged web locations for both desktop and mobile hunt results. Use both inner and outmost ranking sources to make certain any rankings mislaid from a aged web plcae are effectively gained on a new one.

You can simply use a Google Search Console opening news to lane countries that are targeted, and images, videos and abounding results.

Monitor a aged site for a dump in trend and rankings while a new one is relocating up. It is also vicious to check a opening (with courtesy to normal position and CTR) over time. Although it competence take a while to totally benefit a aged rankings with a new location, we can safeguard a new site pages are ranking for a scold keywords and outcome form (image, video, AMP and so on), generally if we have combined a calm from one or some-more pages onto a singular page. You’re fundamentally looking to safeguard that rankings uncover a certain trend over time, creation certain that there are no gaps in mobile vs. desktop opening or ranked pages.

It is also vicious to settle a organisation of your possess applicable queries to lane and use other arrange trackers — such as SEOmonitor, Advanced Web Rankings, SERPwoo and Accuranker — for both a aged and new web locations. Your apparatus should yield day-to-day information updates given Google Search Console has customarily a two- or three-day check in opening data.

In addition, we can lane queries that competence not be enclosed in a Google Search Console if they are not top-ranked terms though we are targeting them in a SEO process.

When regulating arrange trackers, we will need to have coherence in a opposite groups we emanate to guard arrange behavior. From ranking spread, those queries ranking in a tip 3 to 10 positions to website categories and products, we will wish to select any specific query and see a ranking trend over time. Look in both desktop and mobile formula and brand intensity ranking function issues not elaborating as approaching in a specific organisation of pages.

For example, when withdrawal certain pages in a aged web plcae or when consolidating many aged pages into usually one, a ranking trend competence not be so straightforward. You wish to be means to brand this function in sequence to do a correct changes, such as improving a new page’s aptitude toward those queries or eliminating/migrating pages we did not pierce initially.

Ideally, we will also wish to lane a ranking prominence for applicable keywords opposite your competitors, to give a context to a organic hunt prominence trend in a attention before and after a migration.

To element a monitoring of your many applicable and tip queries, we competence also follow adult with a altogether organic hunt prominence of aged and new pages by regulating outmost ranking indexes such as Sistrix, Searchmetrics or SEMrush. Doing so helps brand an unsuitable ranking behavior, both in a aged and new web location, for terms we are not directly tracking.

When selecting that “external” ranking source to use, find that source has supposing unchanging chronological information with your possess organic traffic. It is roughly impossible to have finish accuracy, so we competence wish to use one that has shown a unchanging trend over time.

Additionally, not all collection will yield a same grade of information refresh, given many refurbish their rankings on a weekly basis. Their coherence or granularity to lane certain forms of web properties differs, so, depending on a form of emigration we are monitoring, check if they lane HTTP vs HTTPS URLs independently, as good as directories and subdomains for both mobile and desktop results.

Old vs. new web traffic

Last though not least, we need to guard a expansion of your organic hunt trade and a conversions entrance from a aged and new web locations before and after a emigration takes place.

You can use a Google Analytics organic news and simply review a trade information after a emigration with reports from before in box we have finished a emigration of a same website or are regulating a same skill marker number.

Check for trade correlations with a organic hunt rankings, not usually in a altogether trend though also in a tip pages receiving traffic. Look for specific function of users such as rebound rate, time on site, acclimatisation rate and income entrance from them — all should be a same. And as a bonus, they might get softened if page pattern and optimization are softened after a rankings are regained.

You should be means to confederate your organic trade information with your tracked keyword rankings to see a trade and conversions impact. A apparatus such as SEOmonitor can assistance with this.

Although environment a tracking complement to guard a crawling, indexing, trade and conversions from an aged site to a new one can take time and resources, it will assistance we know and fast brand issues to repair during a emigration process.


Opinions voiced in this essay are those of a guest author and not indispensably Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.


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