Don’t lose web traffic when moving/migrating website

This article might help you avoid and SEO disaster when moving / upgrading your website.

A client came to me last week disgusted that he had moved from no. 1 on google for his search term to nowhere after his website had been “upgraded.” He also noticed his traffic and leads were significantly down and was amazed that this could happen.

This can happen quite easily if you move from one platform to another, perhaps your old side used .htm pages for the various pages of your site e.g. contact.htm, services.htm etc.  When you move to a CMS like wordpress the new url for the same page might be /contact, /services etc. as the pages are generated dynamically and do not need the .htm extension on the file name.  The result is that Google had indexed your old files and when you moved it has to re-index the new pages and all the links and weight these old pages had are lost.

If you have employed the services a responsible and experienced web developer they will not miss this trick and they will add code/a file to your web site to redirect all these old urls (web addresses) to the new urls so that Google also knows that these new pages are upgraded versions of your old pages. The strategy normally taken is to place a .htaccess file on your web server with rules to perform a 301 redirect from the old page web address to the new address.

In addition to setting up redirects, the pages should be SEO optimised also to ensure that they are at least as good as the old pages.  Ensure titles are unique, headings are in place and content contains keywords etc.  Also ensure meta information is as before or better.

If you migrate to wordpress, there’s a nice little tool called Redirects, which essentially does the same job as a .htaccess redirect file and often works fine for small sites that are being migrated to the wordpress platform.

In conclusion, if you decide to upgrade your site, make sure that you ask your developer to ensure that they do everything in their power to ensure all your efforts in terms of promoting your site are not lost when they perform a site migration by putting in place a redirect strategy.


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