Welcome to a five part educational series that will outline steps to preserve organic traffic and ranking when you migrate your store’s web host platform. Moving your ecommerce website to a new web hosting platform is an exciting time for your business, but don’t let the excitement overshadow your already-established SEO. There are critical steps to migrating your store that will allow you to preserve the online visibility you have already achieved.
By the time you’ve gotten to this step in the SEO migration series, you will have taken your ecommerce website live with a new hosting platform. You’ve carefully followed the previous steps to ensure you’ve transferred the SEO from your old site to the new one. Here, we’ll follow up with troubleshooting tips and SEO advice to help your online business be successful.
In the weeks after you migrate an ecommerce site, the search engines will crawl the website and index your new site. While customers can access the new site, the search engine results page will not update immediately. If you set up your 301 redirects, customers will be routed to the new pages on the site even if the old page’s meta data is reflected in the search results. That’s normal and will be corrected with time.
While some sites don’t experience any drop in traffic post-migration, it is normal to see a slight dip; this is not a sign of a botched migration, and traffic will return to normal. It takes some time for Google to see a change in a website—as there will be an influx of 301 redirects, Google will figure things out and course correct. We recommend giving a site a few months after going live before drawing any major conclusions about the migration’s success.
In the short term after a migration, we recommend checking Google Search Console > Crawl Error report and implementing 301 redirects for any valuable 404 pages. Also in Search Console, check your site’s sitemap index status to ensure that the majority of your site’s pages are indexed. Update the Robots.txt file on the new site to communicate to the search engines which files and folders are not intended to be indexed. Keep the old hosting subscription active for 3 months, as you may need to retrieve data that was not migrated.
Remember that while there are SEO advantages certain platforms have over others, simply moving to a new platform will not be enough to maximize your search marketing efforts. It takes a committed effort to create a valuable website experience for both real customers and the search engines.
Longer term post-migration SEO tips include engaging your customers on social networks, earning quality links to your site, updating your site with keyword rich product and category descriptions and meta tags and including a paid search campaign for more search engine results page real estate.
Your Checklist #5:
- Check Google Webmaster Tools’ 404 Crawl Errors & add 301 redirects for valuable pages
- Check Webmaster Tools sitemap index status
- Update Robots.txt file on new site to communicate to the search engines the files and folders, if any, that are not intended to be indexed
- Keep old hosting for 3 months as old data may need to be retrieved
- Continue with SEO & online marketing efforts to keep the post-migration momentum going
Missed the rest of the series? Start with Part 1—How to Migrate Content & Organize Your New Ecommerce Site.