Are you considering a site migration?
Migrations are a challenging – and sometimes dreaded – step in SEO.
With site migrations, chances are you’re going to run into technical issues and nine times out of ten there’s not enough time to fix everything before launch. The key is to build a good relationship with your developers, working together to solve critical issues.
Cody Gault, Website Migration Lead at Conductor joins Loren Baker for this migration episode. We have some great questions left from an SEJ Webinar we had with Cody a while back, along with some new topics to help you with your next big update.
This episode is perfect for anyone who is migrating platforms, changing URLs, updating branding, or trying something new for their website.
At the end of the day, the more crawls you do, the closer you can get to what the site will actually look like in a live environment. –Cody Gault
Do the 301 redirects. It’s the gospel. With canonical, Google may or may not honor it. –Cody Gault
About half of site migrations are about finding the technical side of issues, and the other half is about having a team that can solve them and works well together. –Cody Gault
[00:00] – About Cody and how he got started performing website migrations
[02:41] – Cody’s first big migration: An International website migration
[05:04] – How can broken link 404 reports help you identify and fix website issues?
[05:29] – How to preplan a website migration and reduce the risk of making mistakes
[07:05] – How to prioritize redirects and take some of the work out of site migrations
[07:49] – Common website migration mistakes
[10:06] – Should you immediately redirect old URLs to the new ones? Or use canonicals before redirecting?
[13:32] – Do 301 redirects slow down your site?
[17:05] – Is it better to change the title tags and meta descriptions or leave them as is?
[18:57] – Timing your website changes and how that affects rankings
[20:36] – How to test a site’s usability and performance prior to migration
[23:40] – The biggest things hurting your CWV & website performance
[26:11] – How much traffic should you expect to lose when you migrate a website? And how long until your traffic recovers?
[27:40] – What happens if you lose most of your traffic after a migration?
[30:16] – Why is the old domain still indexed in Google?
[32:31] – What are some commonly overlooked parts of a migration or mistakes?
[37:41] – How to work with dev teams during migrations and how to handle technical SEO issues
[43:36] – The amount of time Cody focuses on site migrations
“You can learn so much from those broken link reports. I think it’s amazing that you can connect those dots, fix them, and benefit from them post-migration.” –Loren Baker
“Every issue I have is prioritized high, medium, low, and I go in with the understanding that not all of them are going to be fixed.” –Cody Gault
“Talk to your developers to see what they can open up for you and then run with it.” –Cody Gault
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Connect with Cody Gault:
Cody Gault is the Website Migration Lead at Conductor. As a result of his involvement in many migration projects, he has carved a niche in the industry. He shares insights on common site migration issues so you can be prepared to handle them.
Connect with Loren Baker, Founder of Search Engine Journal:
Do 301 redirects slow down your site?
Unless you’re doing 10,000+ redirects or it’s a major link such as in the navigation, 301 redirects shouldn’t affect site speed.
Is it better to change the title tags and meta descriptions or leave them as is?
If you can wait to change titles, you’re better to hold off until rankings stop fluctuating. Meta descriptions don’t matter for rankings, so change them.
How much traffic should you expect to lose when you migrate a website?
You should expect to lose about 10% of your website traffic if it’s a perfect migration. If it’s more than that, there could be a problem.
Why is the old domain still indexed in Google after a site migration?
Google will keep old links mostly for branded searches [site:example.com] and searches that require the old domain to satisfy the query.