Website migration checklist: Ten steps for success

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A new article on Search Engine Land reports that website migration is complicated, but now you can eliminate errors and help streamline the site migration process with these steps.

Website migrations are a part of an enterprise's natural evolution. Companies may migrate because they're rebranding, going to the cloud to scale their site easier and numerous other reasons. However, while migration may seem simple on paper, one misstep can lead to SEO problems. The original article contains ten steps, but here we'll examine just a few. You can read all ten by clicking on the link above.

Setup hosting, DNS, CDN, mail

Migrations have a lot of moving parts. First, make a backup of your site and database. If something goes wrong, you'll be thankful that you have a backup to restore your site. Ideally, you'll also create a staging site to test the migration to reduce any initial hiccups that can occur along the way. Once you're done with the staging site, you'll want to:
  • Setup your hosting environment and transfer all files over
  • Setup the DNS information
  • Change your CDN information
  • Change mail parameters
  • Complete these preliminary steps done before moving into your redirects.

Create a list of redirects

Internally, you and your team should have a list of redirects that you need to create and ones that already exist. You'll refer to this list to ensure that all existing redirects are in place on your new site. Thankfully, if you don't have many redirects and are changing domains, you'll need a single redirect to redirect the site.

Review SEO structure

SEO specifications should be put in place. You'll need to check the following to make sure the migration is successful:
  • Crawlability
  • Custom URL
  • Alt test
  • Canonical tags
  • Robots.txt
  • Sitemaps
  • Internal links
  • Hreflang
  • Structured data
  • URL structure
  • Mobile setup
  • Pagination

Review your current site's SEO structure to ensure that you can check it when the migration is complete. The key to site migration success is creating lists and reviewing them multiple times.
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