Once you have identified the ecommerce platform you’ll host your online store with, the first step in the migration process requires you to transfer data and set up the new site. Setting up a new online store is an important process that should not be rushed or taken lightly and we’ll cover some of the best practices for migrating an SEO friendly website here.

As the site needs to be rebuilt on different servers, the design, pictures and informational pages will need to be migrated. I suggest exporting your product and category data including the SEO Meta tags and on site descriptions. Familiarize yourself with the new database taxonomy to ensure you are translating the fields correctly when importing data. If you need a refresher on how to create SEO friendly Meta data for products and categories please check out the Volusion’s SEO Bootcamp Video and best practices for creating SEO-Friendly Title Tags

Critical SEO fields to migrate include:

General Website

  • Home page text – Visible, keyword rich on page content that welcomes visitors to the site.
  • Home page Title Tag – Arguably the most important non-visible HTML real estate. This field should include a succinct, keyword rich tag of the site’s industry and product offering.
  • Home page Meta Description – A short description of the site which entices shoppers to click on your search result.
  • Header Tags – A keyword rich heading, emphasizing that page’s value or what is found on the page. Header text is wrapped between these tags and is usually included at the top of a description field.
  • Top Landing pages and valuable site resources

Category Page

  • Category URL Text – The descriptive text used in the category URL.
  • Meta Tag Title – The Title tag of the category page; arguably the most important non-visible HTML real estate and should be appropriately optimized.
  • Meta Tag Description – A short description of the category which entices shoppers to click on your search result.
  • Category Description: A paragraph or two that describes the products offered on the page and makes the case for why they should be purchased.

Product Page

  • Product Name – The literal name of the product.
  • Products Description – The literal product description, as well as other fields that describe the product such as Technical Specs and Features.
  • Product URL Text – The descriptive text used in the product URL.
  • Photo Alt Text – An appropriate description of the product image.
  • Meta Tag Title – The Title tag of the product page; arguably the most important non-visible HTML real estate. If this field is not populated, the Volusion platform defaults the Title tag to the Product Name.
  • Meta Tag Description – A short description of the product which entices shoppers to click on your search result.

For most sites, I recommend keeping the main and subcategory architecture consistent since this is what your customers and the search engines are familiar with. However, if you’ve considered changing the category architecture now would be the time to implement this. Check out this blog post highlighting the benefits of thoughtful product categorization. It provides insights for making category changes based on your Google Analytics data.

If you change your category structure, it is important to set up the correct 301 redirects for current URLs that will be discontinued on the new store. Be sure to make a note of these URLs and I will provide more information on 301 redirects in part 2 of this series.

Your Checklist #1:

Sign up for fully hosted all-in-one ecommerce solution
Build new Ecommerce Site in temporary state
Transfer design
Import Products & Categories
Upload Images
Update SEO Meta Tags
Create Informational Pages
Build flat category architecture

Appendix

Part 1Migrate Content to New Ecommerce Site

Part 2Implementing 301 Redirects and 404 Error Pages

Part 3Find the Right Time to Migrate with Google Analytics

Part 4Taking Your New Ecommerce Site Live

Part 5Moving Forward After Your Ecommerce Platform Migration

About 

Dan Smullen is an SEO Team Lead at Volusion, where he applies his seven years of online marketing experience to drive customer traffic to ecommerce websites. He is passionate about the technical side of SEO, platform migrations and coaching clients on SEO best practices. Outside of the office, Dan can be found hanging out at Zilker Park, camping all over Central Texas and following professional football, basketball and hockey.