We’ve been in the search industry for a good while now and in that time seen more changes than we could shake sticks at – changes within website builds, coding, design, the outpouring of apps, changes from Google (can anyone say PANDA) and more than we could hope to mention here without putting you to sleep in the first paragraph (unless you’re there already – in which case, have a pillow).
That said, there are some things that remain constant, and one of those things is the humble (or not so humble) website migration from the old to the new. No, we’re not talking about a flock of birds winging their way merrily through the skies, but rather the process of launching a new website and ensuring old URLs match new URLs correctly via 301 redirects to safeguard against dropouts in either the search engines or from your customers when they click through only to find a 404 staring them in the face. Sounds easy, right? Well, not so for all of us – they say the best migration strategy is the one that is done manually, and that’s fine and dandy for a 20, 30, heck, even 50 page website – but what if you have 100 pages? 1000 pages? 10,000 pages? More? How do you feel about matching the old and new up manually now?
Realistically, it’s not a process that most people want to even think about, let alone spend time on, and as such there are tools (both free and paid for) out there designed to crawl a website and at least gather all pages in one place, but even that’s not foolproof – what if your webmaster makes changes to your current site AFTER the crawl? What if your customer services team need to take an item off the website that is out of stock and gone, never to return? How about colour variations per product – how are you going to handle those on your new website?
All of these things need to be considered BEFORE launch and a proper plan put in place to make sure everything goes smoothly, or you may end up losing your current rankings within Google, losing customers who have bookmarked your pages, your old link profile will have more 404s than an child’s counting book and you may very well end up wishing you’d never spent the time and money on the new website in the first place.
Well, never fear, Seriously Helpful are here – you may not realise how important your migration is, or have time to do it – but we do on both counts and we want to help you out – after all, it is what we’re good at and we hate seeing good websites that have suffered for the want of a simple migration strategy – we ourselves understand the fear of losing Google’s goodwill as it can drastically impact upon sales and company performance, and that’s not even to mention the other avenues of traffic and sales that can be affected by a poor or ignored migration, so we’ve put together this handy flowchart below to help you decide whether you need a migration and what you can do about it if you do!