So you’re planning a website migration. This is the word we use when you change something big and structural about your website, such as its URL, its platform, or its server. When you do this, it’s important to consider the impact on your SEO. Failing to do so can have negative consequences on your search engine rankings, and consequently your enquires/sales!

If the changes you make to your website cause it to no longer be easily discoverable by search engines, you’ll experience a decline in organic traffic and potential loss of customers. Additionally, a poorly executed migration can lead to broken links & pages, duplicate content, and other technical issues that can further harm your SEO efforts.

Of course, you can fix any issues that arise, but you could be waiting 3-6 months for traffic and customers to find you in search again. That’s how long SEO recovery can take when mistakes are made. Let’s take a look at how you can change your website without compromising your SEO efforts, and without having to lose business.

Common types of website migration

Website migration refers to the process of transferring a website from one location or platform to another. This could also involve moving the website from one hosting provider to another, changing content through the content management system (CMS), or even changing the domain name. All are various forms of web migration, and all can impact your SEO differently.

Rebranding is a common reason for website migration to take place. It’s a strategic decision that aims to reshape the company’s image and attract a different target audience. As part of this process, a website may need to be redesigned or migrated to incorporate the new brand elements and messaging.

A scenario we see a lot at Cosmetic Digital is when dental practices wish to expand their product offering into the Aesthetics arena. Generally, they want to add pages for anti-wrinkle and skin volume-loss treatments, as their team already have the qualifications to administer them and they’re working within the facial structure, which they already know very well. 

You may even need to upgrade your hosting plans or switch to a different hosting provider. Server or host changes can be a complex procedure, as it requires transferring all the website files, databases, and configurations to the new server.

Another reason for website migration is platform or server changes. As technology evolves, new CMS platforms and tools become available that offer enhanced features and functionality. Clinics may decide to migrate their websites to a new platform to take advantage of these advancements. We work a lot with both WordPress and Shopify. What suits one business, might not suit another and migration to the more relevant option is common.

SEO considerations for website migration

Website migration can have a significant impact on organic traffic, especially if not executed properly. If the old URLs are not redirected or if the redirects are implemented incorrectly, search engines may not be able to find and index the new pages, resulting in a drop in keyword rankings. It is also important to ensure that the website’s content is properly migrated, as missing or incomplete content can harm keyword rankings.

Thorough planning for a website migration can help to identify potential risks and challenges that may arise during the migration process. By conducting a thorough analysis of the current website’s SEO performance, keyword rankings, and backlink profile, an effective strategy can be developed to mitigate any potential negative impacts on SEO.

Tips to mitigate the migration effects:

  • Backlinks need to be redirected to the new site. Failure to do so can result in a significant drop in organic traffic and rankings.
  • It is essential to use 301 redirects as they pass on the ranking value from the old URLs to the new ones. I.e Old URLS should be redirected to their new counterparts, otherwise, search engines may see the new URLs as duplicate content and not index them
  • Internal links need to be updated, so they point to the correct pages on the new site.
  • An updated sitemap needs to be submitted to notify search engines that they need to index the new site correctly. The search engines may struggle to understand the new website architecture and may not be able to index it correctly. This can result in a drop in organic rankings and a decrease in organic traffic.
  • Ensure that all necessary SEO elements such as meta tags, headings, and alt attributes are properly implemented on the new website.
  • By setting up tracking tools and regularly monitoring key SEO metrics such as organic traffic, keyword rankings, and backlink profiles, any issues or discrepancies can be identified and addressed promptly.

When it comes to website migration, if you’re not doing everything you can to maintain your website speed and performance, you could be negatively impacting not only your search engine rankings but also how potential patients use your site. You don’t want them to be put off by your online presence before they’ve booked their first consultation with you. Similarly, you don’t want how effective your website is on a mobile device to be impacted, because that will limit the number of ways website visitors can find you.

If you’ve not carried out a successful website migration before, or you’re in any doubt as to whether you might accidentally compromise your SEO this time round, we would strongly recommend consulting with a website migration expert first. Our team here at Cosmetic Digital has been performing website migration work for the dental and aesthetic industries almost daily for the past 10 years. We are pioneers in our field and will ensure minimal downtime, data and traffic loss for your business. If you’d like to reap the rewards of your new website, or your existing website redesign, but without having to lose sales, please get in touch.