What does site migration mean?
A site migration describes the process of changing a website’s location, platform, URL structure or design.
Often, major change is needed to ensure your website serves its best purpose. Maybe it’s a change in branding or services, or maybe you are using outdated software and want to move to a more user-friendly platform. Either way, digital updates are a vital part of business success.
Types of website migrations
There are many different types of website migrations, including:
Redesign or rebranding migration
If your business re-brands or undergoes a design overhaul, you may need to change your website to reflect this. Redesign website migration can refresh the look and feel of your website, improve user experience and align your website with new branding or marketing strategies.
You may need to move your website from one server to another if you are changing web hosting providers, upgrading to a new server or consolidating multiple websites onto a single server. This can be a complex process so it’s important to work with experienced professionals.
Content migration is when you move content from one website, platform or system to another. This may be necessary if your website is being redesigned or rebuilt, if your company is merging with another and needs to consolidate content or if your website is moving to a new content management system (CMS).
A URL migration describes the process of changing the URLs of your website's pages. Perhaps due to a redesign, new domain or restructuring for SEO.
This is when you move your website from one Content Management Service (CMS) to another. For example, moving from WordPress to Umbraco.
This is when you move your website from one domain to another. This requires moving all data over to the new domain.
HTTPS migration is the process of changing your website's protocol from HTTP to HTTPS. HTTPS migration is important for website security and user privacy and can also improve search engine rankings.
It may be that you require a hybrid migration that involves two or more of the above migration types.
Website migration - SEO impact
Website migration can have a significant impact on search engine optimisation (SEO). If not done properly, changes to content, URL structure and site architecture can result in a loss of keyword rankings and website errors, leading to reduced traffic and visibility.
To avoid losing hard-won rankings and organic traffic, it’s vital to have a robust plan in place.
What do SEO website migrations involve?
There are many different factors involved in a website migration throughout the pre, during and post stages of the project. For example:
- Pre-migration auditing and analysis of the existing site
- Strategy planning
- URL mapping
- Content optimisation
- Site architecture optimisation
- Technical implementation
- Post-migration testing, monitoring and optimisation
What causes SEO migration to go wrong?
Most website migrations involve lots of moving parts. This means there’s lot’s that could potentially go wrong and harm your SEO if not dealt with correctly.
Some of the most common ways migrations can go wrong are down to a lack of:
- Strategy and planning - this is the most common downfall for migration projects. A comprehensive strategy that takes all elements into account is vital
- Achievable deadlines - the time and resources needed to complete a successful website migration are often underestimated. A clear and achievable timeline is essential
- Content optimisation - if content isn’t updated and optimised during the process, you could lose keyword rankings and organic traffic
- SEO and UX expert involvement - migration is a complex process that benefits from experience and a network of experts
- Technical expertise - a poorly planned migration can result in broken links and 404 errors which negatively impact site health and SEO
- Proper redirects - if URLs aren’t redirected properly, you are left with broken links and lost rankings
- Site architecture planning - changes to site structure such as navigation or internal linking can affect user experience and SEO so needs to be properly thought out and optimised
To mitigate any negative impact, it's important to plan and execute the migration carefully and to work with experienced professionals who can help to ensure that the migration is done correctly. This includes properly redirecting old URLs to new URLs, ensuring that content is properly optimised for search engines and that the new site architecture is properly structured for SEO.
Our SEO website migration services
We’ve helped many brands and organisations to successfully migrate their website while nurturing SEO. Our SEO services are designed to advise and support you each step of the way…
SEO site audits
An SEO audit will identify any issues that need to be fixed or improved prior to migration, while also identifying important pages to move over to your new site to maintain and grow traffic and rankings.
SEO migration strategy and planning
We’ll work with you to build a migration strategy that encompasses URL mapping, content optimisation, site architecture and all the other components needed for a successful transition.
SEO for website redesign and migration
Our web development, design and UX experts will help you maintain SEO when embarking on a redesign migration by consulting on information architecture, user journeys and technical SEO elements.
eCommerce migration SEO
We have experience helping B2C brands successfully transfer to a new e-commerce platform. We have worked extensively with WordPress, Shopify and many other platforms.
SEO site migration guide
The migration process is complex and comes with a high degree of risk. Maintaining and growing SEO performance requires careful planning and implementation.
This guide offers tips and advice on how to complete a successful migration that results in improved traffic and search results.
There are several website migration tools available that can help you migrate your website to a new platform or host. Here are some of the best:
- Screaming Frog - this tool can be useful during the planning and pre-migration stages, as it can crawl your website to identify all URLs, meta data and other important information that needs to be migrated. It can also identify broken links, missing tags or other SEO issues that may need addressing
- WP Engine - this WordPress hosting provider offers a website migration plugin to make the migration process simple and straightforward
- Ahrefs - this tool can help by tracking URLs, identifying broken links and monitoring website performance
- SEMrush - this SEO tool can track URLs, identify duplicate content and monitor website performance
- Google analytics - this is a useful tool for monitoring website traffic and performance before, during and after migration. By tracking key metrics such as traffic, bounce rate and conversion rate, you can assess the impact of the migration on your website's SEO and overall performance
- Yoast SEO - this WordPress plugin can help by providing SEO guidance and assisting with redirects
Choose a migration tool that is compatible with your website's platform and work with a professional web developer or migration expert to ensure a smooth and successful migration process.
SEO migration checklist
Make sure all of these steps are covered for a successful migration…
- Audit your current site - take stock of your current site with an organic health audit to identify strengths, weaknesses and crawl errors. Analyse existing content, structure and URLs and determine which pages are currently ranking well
- Set up a comprehensive strategy plan - this should include objectives, risk assessments and a checklist of all the required tasks
- Set achievable and strategic deadlines - include a project plan that lays out timelines and responsibilities
- Back up your existing site - it’s important to keep a record in case anything goes wrong
- Plan your new site structure - keep SEO in mind when developing new information architecture that reflects the way users search for your products or services
- Map URLs - map out all current URLs and create a redirect map to ensure that all old URLs redirect to the corresponding new ones. Prioritise the URLs that are to be redirected to the new website
- Perform a backlink audit - identify the URLs that backlinks point to and map them to the new URLs on the migrated website
- Create a staging site - create a staging site to test the migration process and ensure that everything works as expected before making changes live
- Update your sitemap - create a new sitemap file that lists all the pages on the new website to help search engines crawl and index the new website structure
- Create 301 redirects - use 301 status codes to ensure that your old pages are redirected to the new pages. This will help preserve your search engine rankings and ensure that your users can still access your content
- Create a custom 404 page - implement custom 404 server responses for pages that no longer exist to improve the user experience and prevent negative effects on SEO
- Update internal links - update all internal links on your site to point to the new pages
- Resolve duplicate content issues - redirect ULRs, consolidate duplicate content and use canonical tags to avoid harming your SEO
- On page optimisation - review and optimise all on-page SEO elements, including meta tags, header tags, internal linking and keyword targeting
- Optimise for mobile - verify that the new website or pages are mobile-friendly and have a fast page load time
- Update your XML sitemap and robots.txt - update your XML sitemap and robots.txt files to ensure that search engines can crawl your new site
- Update structured data and schema markup - this will help search engines to continue to understand the site's content and provide accurate search results to users
- Employ canonical tags - preserve SEO and avoid duplicate content issues by implementing canonical tags on all pages to tell search engines which version of a page is preferred
- Update Google My Business and Google Search Console - set up new accounts and verify ownership of the new domain
- Perform a pre, during and post QA - Quality Assurance at each stage helps to ensure that the website functions properly and meets specifications. QA will identify any issues or bugs that may have arisen during the migration process and address them before the website goes live
- Promote the new site - when it’s ready, remember to share the new site with your audiences through other communication channels such as social media or email
- Post migration monitoring and evaluation - monitor and benchmark performance to ensure everything is going as planned and there are no drops in rankings. Check your traffic and rankings regularly and make any necessary adjustments
It’s important to note that every website is different and will require a bespoke migration strategy to ensure the new site meets the specific objectives and aims. This is where an experienced agency can help.
Why choose us - an SEO migration agency in London
We’re obsessed with making an impact. With us, you get:
- SEO migration solutions from a wide network of professionals
- Expert planning, implementation, monitoring and optimisation support
- Cross-industry experience and insights
- A proven track record for success
- Relentless execution
- Flexible and tailored services
Reviews from business - SEO Migration Services
“We've worked with SeventhElement on 5+ projects to date. They have always been incredibly professional and a pleasure to work with. I would definitely recommend them!” 
SEO migration costing
As all of our SEO services are tailored to your business needs, pricing is determined on an individual basis.
Please get in touch to arrange an initial consultation.
Grow with us
Investing in SEO can improve your chances of converting targeted accounts, influence purchase decisions and grow your business whilst also improving credibility and validation.
Let’s work together.
SEO web migration in London - FAQ
Find answers to common questions…
Does migration affect SEO?
Yes, website migration can affect SEO positively and negatively. If not done properly, it can result in a loss of traffic, a drop in search engine rankings and other negative impacts that can harm your website's visibility and online presence.
How do I transfer SEO from one website to another?
Ensuring you maintain and continue to grow search engine rankings during a migration can be complex.
Follow our guide above to ensure your website remains fully optimised and enlist the help of an SEO professional to guide you through the process.
How do I move my website without losing SEO?
It’s normal to experience some drops in rankings directly after a migration. However, with consistent optimisation it’s possible to regain and accelerate your SEO results.
Do you lose SEO if you change your domain?
When you change your domain name, it’s common to experience a temporary dip in search engine rankings and traffic as search engines adjust to the new domain. However, if the change is done correctly, you can minimise the impact on your SEO and maintain your search engine rankings. Follow best practice and enlist the help of an SEO migration expert to minimise the risk.
How long does SEO for site migration take?
This can vary depending on factors such as the size of your website, the complexity of the migration and the SEO strategies used.
It is quite common to see a temporary dip in search engine rankings and traffic immediately after a site migration. However, when done correctly, these rankings and traffic should recover within a few months.
Once the migration is complete, the work isn’t over. Success post-migration involves continual monitoring, evaluation and optimisation to ensure long term growth.
Why do I need an SEO agency to help with the migration?
Working with an experienced agency can help to ensure a smooth and successful website migration that minimises the impact on SEO and sets you up for long term success. A good agency should provide best practice guidance, expertise and resources and ongoing support post-migration.
By working with an SEO agency, you can save time, reduce risks and focus on other important aspects of your business.