An Updated Guide to Website Migration in 2023

website migration guide

Table Of Contents

Website migrations are common but not easy. Whether it's moving to a new server, domain, or host, migrating your website requires careful planning, significant time, and effort. A failed website migration can result in the loss of visitors and revenue.

Hence, you or your web developer should know how to migrate a website as it’s inevitable at some point in time. Whether you are planning for a wordpress website migration or you’re preparing to migrate your dynamic React JS based web portal, web migration is a tricky process.

You need to keep in check search engine optimization as well because you wouldn’t want your website to derank completely on search engines.

In this blog, we'll discuss a step-by-step approach to website migrations and provide a comprehensive checklist to help you succeed in your future migrations.

What Is a Site Migration?

SEO experts use the term "site migration" to refer to any event that involves significant changes to a website's location, platform, structure, content, design, or UX, which can affect its visibility on search engines. Site migration typically involves changes to the site's location, platform, structure, content, design, or UX.

However, Google's documentation does not provide much detail on on-site migrations, which can cause a significant loss of traffic and revenue for several weeks to months. The duration of the impact depends on how much the search engine ranking signals have been affected and how long it takes for the business to implement a successful recovery plan.

Types Of Site Migration

There are numerous ways on how to migrate a website. It depends entirely on the nature of the changes that occur.

These usually happen when a website switches to a new URL for one of the reasons listed below:

• Changes to the protocol

When switching from HTTP to HTTPS, this is a famous example.

• Changes to the subdomain or subdirectory

When a company decides to shift one or more ccTLDs into subdomains or subfolders, it's very typical in international SEO. Another common scenario is when a mobile site on a distinct subdomain or subdirectory becomes responsive, and both the desktop and mobile URLs become uniform.

• Change in the domain name

A domain name change is common when a company is rebranding and has to switch from one domain to another.

• Changes to the top-level domain

This is typical when a company decides to build an international website and needs to transition from a ccTLD (country code top-level domain) to a gTLD (generic top-level domain) or vice versa, such as or vice versa.

• Changes to the site's structure

These are site architecture adjustments that typically affect the site's internal linking and URL structure.

website migration checklist

Migrations of other kinds

• Content migrations

Depending on the scope, major content modifications like rewrites, consolidation, or pruning can have a significant impact on a site's organic search visibility. The taxonomy, navigation, and internal linking of a website can all be affected by these changes.

• Changes in a mobile setup

With so many possibilities for a site's mobile configuration, partial site migrations can include enabling app indexing, establishing an AMP site, or developing a PWA website, especially when an existing mobile site is being replaced by an app, AMP, or PWA.

• Structural changes

Major modifications to the site's taxonomy, which have an impact on on-site navigation, internal linking, and user journeys, are frequently the cause of these issues.

• Redesigns of websites

These can range from big design adjustments to a comprehensive website overhaul, which may include considerable media, code, and copy modifications.

• Hybrid migrations

In addition to the aforementioned ones, there are a variety of hybrid migration types that can be mixed in almost any way. The greater the number of changes introduced at the same time, the greater the complexity and danger.

Even if making too many changes at once increases the chances of things going wrong, if the migration is well-planned and implemented, it can be more cost-effective in terms of resources.

What Is The Impact Of A Website Migration On Search Results?

Your website's search engine visibility can be affected by SEO when you migrate it. SEO is a strategy that enhances your website's visibility in search results by optimizing it for both search engines and people. For example, by making it fast and mobile-friendly.

Making a significant change to your website, such as moving to a new domain name, can affect how search engines view it. If there is no link between your old and new domain names, such as through redirects, it can harm your search rankings.

A lower ranking means less traffic, which can be detrimental to your business. As the top five results receive 68% of all clicks, maintaining a high ranking in search results is critical for businesses. Without it, you won't receive any traffic, leads, or sales. As a result, businesses must take website migration seriously and create an SEO checklist to ensure that no harm is done.

This is why it’s important to know how to migrate a website in a way that does not disrupt your organic rankings.

5 Factors That Contribute To Website Migration Failure (And How To Avoid Them)

When it comes to website migrations, the majority of them fail for preventable causes, such as:

1. Lack of planning

Developing a clear project plan as early as possible will help you minimize delays. Allow for extra time and resources to deal with any unexpected events that may emerge. It's quite improbable that everything will go according to plan, no matter how well thought out and thorough it is.

Accept that there will almost probably be delays and be flexible with your plans. Make a list of all dependencies and make sure everyone is aware of them.

2. Poor strategy

Some site migrations are guaranteed to fail before the new site even goes live. A strategy that is based on ambiguous and unrealistic goals is considerably less likely to succeed.

It's critical to set quantifiable goals to assess the migration's impact after it's launched. The major goal of most site migrations should be to keep the site's present traffic and income levels. The bar could be raised higher in some circumstances, but in general, anticipating or forecasting growth should be a secondary goal. This will aid in the avoidance of unrealistic expectations.

3. A lack of SEO/UX consultancy

When making modifications to a website, every option must be considered from both UX and SEO perspectives. For example, eliminating a large volume of information or links to improve UX may harm the site's ability to target business-critical keywords or cause crawling and indexing problems. Such adjustments could harm the site's organic search visibility in either situation.

On the other hand, having too much written copy and too few graphics may detract from user interest and reduce conversions.

On another note, if you want to audit your website or you need SEO services in Dubai or anywhere around the world, you can always schedule a free consultation with our SEO experts at Prism.

4. Scarcity of resources

Estimate the time and work required to complete a site migration project before committing to it. If your budget is tight, consider whether it's worth it to proceed with a migration that's likely to fall short of its goals and result in revenue loss.

5. Minimal testing

Dedicate some time and effort to extensive testing before launching the site, in addition to a superb strategy and intelligent plan. It's far better to postpone the launch if testing has revealed serious flaws than to push a shaky implementation into production.

It goes without saying that a website should not be launched unless it has been thoroughly tested by both skilled SEO and UX teams.

How to Migrate Your Website efficiently?

Are you prepared to begin your website migration? These are 6 website migration steps that you need to follow for a successful migration

  1. Create a migration strategy for your website.
  2. Work on site improvements with your design and development team.
  3. Prepare for the migration by preparing your technical SEO.
  4. Launch your new website and put it through its paces.

You should use a checklist of elements to test as part of your testing, such as the following:

  • Examine the structure of your website.
  • Examine the usability of your website.
  • Confirm that your page is compatible with mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.
  • Examine the internal links on your site, such as the navigation, header, and footer connections.
  • Examine your website's title tags, meta descriptions, copy, and other elements.
  • Ensure that your website works properly by loading pages, maintaining a reasonable page speed, and more.
  • Examine your txt file, XML sitemap, robot.txt, and structured data for any errors

After you've finished the initial migration, follow these steps:

Step # 01

Verify that your robots.txt file does not prevent search engines from accessing your website.

Step # 02

Check that your redirects are working for your pages, particularly your most important ones.

Step # 03

Your XML sitemap should be uploaded to your Google Search Console account.

These three steps can assist your company in quickly identifying critical problems, such as mistakenly blocking a search engine with your robots.txt file. They'll also assist you with your website migration, such as uploading your site to Google Search Console.

To Conclude

Knowing how to migrate a website without hiccups is a tricky job and creating a website migration plan requires more than just making a list of tasks. Many businesses struggle to follow through with their plans because they get caught up in day-to-day operations and new projects.

As a result, small and medium-sized businesses often outsource this function to web development companies that specialize in online design, web development, and SEO.

If you're a business owner looking to build a new website or revamp an old one, consider reaching out to Prism Digital, the best digital marketing agency in Dubai. Our team of specialists can design and develop an SEO-friendly website while developing competitive SEO strategies that can help you achieve your business objectives.

We understand the importance of having a website that aligns with your business goals, and we can ensure that your website migration is smooth and efficient. So, get in touch with us today and let us help you take your business to the next level.

Lovetto Nazareth

About The Author: Lovetto Nazareth

Lovetto Nazareth is a digital marketing consultant and agency owner of Prism Digital. He has been in the advertising and digital marketing business for the last 2 decades and has managed thousands of campaigns and generated millions of dollars of new leads. He is an avid adventure sports enthusiast and a singer-songwriter. Follow him on social media on @Lovetto Nazareth

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