SEO goof-ups during website migration & ways to avoid it!
There remains only ONE constant in life. Movement itself! We move from lower order to higher order. We move from slow to fast (and with age, from fast to slow!), primary to secondary and so on. And like always, we do that to most things including websites! Till a while, static websites were the in-thing. Or for that matter, any websites. Now, it’s the age of the cloud with responsive, dynamic websites being the order of the day. So it’s no great shocker when people move from their staid old-world static websites to the latest snazzy ones and try to impress the world.
In all the movements, there are those who do the change-over effectively and efficiently while retaining their high hit rates. There are also those who do go thru the exercise of this change-over only to be at the receiving end of a rather low hit rate.
What then does a person/ organization do such the change-over remains smooth as also get the required eyeballs? You do the following:
Analyze if the change is truly needed and which elements need to change the most
Sometimes the change may simply be a fad given that others too are going that way. Analyze if you genuinely need the chance and only then think of implementing the same. Sometimes impressing others comes at a great cost.
Analyze which technology suits one’s needs the most
For most manufacturers who could operate a business just as well without a website, a standard static website could do the job just as well. But the same cannot be said of an out-and-out sales/ trading organization which may need a very dynamic website with very many section and features. So first decide what you need and then make the shift.
These days most websites are visited by those with mobile phones and not PC. Plus, it’s not only the sighted who browse. Keeping these in mind, the proposed website(s) should be progressive enough to figure properly on mobile phones + be available for the blind + those with limited understanding of English.
Analyze the responses of others who have gone through the same experience of changing over
This could be a bit difficult but not impossible. Try analyzing the experiences of those in similar businesses and circumstances and what they have gone through with similar technologies greatly helps those wanting to enter the same space. A note of caution though! Getting information about the intricacies of a rival’s website could be difficult if not impossible. It IS possible thought only with the right “resources”!
Use the services of known consultants for website design, UX, UI, and SEO
Website designers and developers abound in the market, some experienced some otherwise. Some advertise themselves as knowing the latest technology but are barely trained in the same. To avoid unnecessary costs and delays this may otherwise entail if the process goes through untrained personnel, first analyze the reputation of the consultants be it for website designing, its UX & UI and most of all, SEO considerations. It would be best to visit their clients and understand the work done and only then attempt to employ their services.
Analyze the content and update it as per SEO considerations
Old websites have old content and may not fit the latest considerations of a website, both in terms of information and existing technical specifications. For this reason, the existing content in terms of written matter, pictures and graphics should be analyzed thoroughly before the same is used in the new website. If need be, the irrelevant content from the old website may be deleted entirely and fresh content formulated- keeping in mind SEO and key-word considerations.
One very important consideration while redoing the content is to try and locate duplication and delete it to the extent possible. Doing so increases the website’s presence among search engines. Also, if the content has inconsistencies, the same should be fixed and one of the best ways possible is to try and use back-links to authoritative websites.
One other thing to take care of while migrating to a new site is to locate broken links and incomplete pages and rectify the same such that search engines recognize them for their worth instead of overlooking them. Overall such an act can positively affect a website.
Test extensively and fix the bugs
Like clothes fresh from a tailor, a website to needs to be first used among the select audience to see what has been accomplished and what remains. Besides, the most important reason for such a test is to point out the bugs that may be present in the system. In fact, if the system has an unacceptable number of bugs, the number of testing rounds may just increase to take care to make the same absolutely bug-free!
If the website or the organization behind it works on-peak and off-peak time consideration, be clear with the same and then attempt the change
For most B2C e-commerce websites, festivals are times when most business takes place. If one attempts a take-over at this time, there is every chance of losing on the huge quantum of business besides losing out on client loyalty. Imagine a website like Flipkart or Amazon actually out-of-the-loop during Diwali! So, try and do all your change-over ONLY during non-peak times- to the extent possible
If your URL shall undergo a change, try and have alternatives and check the same for consistency and the kind of response it may get for you
This happens mostly during a branding exercise where the organization’s name to undergoes a change calling for a change in the URL as well. Under such circumstances, try and check for alternatives and test for their consistency in terms of words and ideas, besides knowing if they are available in the first place.
Make an extensive list of keywords and key-phrases and analyze their use and effectiveness from an SEO point of view. Key-words and SEO are the two words around which the entire exercise of site ranking works. A change-over which does not take these into account is like trying to dig a well in the desert- a worthwhile exercise which shall for sure result in failure. Instead, get a specialist to chalk-out an entire list of relevant keywords with their frequency of use as also cost. Once a decision has been made to use a set of keywords, formulate all the content of the website around it.
Identify and list out important backlinks and keep them ready for launch
Backlinking into the right kind of websites is what gets one’s website higher ranking even without express SEO consideration. For that, like the keywords, identify a set of authoritative backlinks and use them to one’s strategic importance by putting them where they matter most.
By taking care of the above points, one can mitigate the problems likely to arise during a switch-over.
Do take them into consideration. It would help greatly!