Website migration is moving a website from one web host to another; this includes moving all the integral website files from one host to the other. This is not only a crucial task for a Developer but is also very important for a Search Engine Optimizer who has been working and building the presence of the website online.
Some of the things to consider ensuring smooth website migration are given below:
1. Consider the risk factor: There is a lot of risk involved in migrating a website this includes loss of traffic, loss in keyword rankings and loss in revenue/leads. It is therefore necessary to ensure minimum risk and loss.
2. Backup everything before you touch anything: Even a small bug can cause lot of serious issues. It is therefore essential to have a backup of your old website.
3. Redirect each and every URL: Redirect each and every existing URL to the new URL. 301 Redirection is the only one to be considered. NOTHING ELSE!!!
4. Logical hierarchy: Use logical hierarchical structure of folders. Replicate hierarchy with the on-page breadcrumb trail. Every breadcrumb should have a resultant page.
5. Canonicalization: Ensure one version of the pages exists on the website. If there are multiple URLs with the same content, place a canonical tag to pass SEO value to the most important and traffic driving page.
6. No content should be missing: The key to successful migration is no loss of content from the old site to the new site.
7. Launching the new site: Get the site 100% on the UAT, do not launch an incomplete website. Check each and every parameter on the UAT related to URLs, content, breadcrumbs and so on before taking the site live.
It is essential to consider the above points while migrating your website to ensure minimal loss of traffic. However, post migration Google will re-crawl and re-index every page, not only on your site but on all sites that link to you. Be prepared for a drop in the first two months and things should normalize from the third month onwards.