site migration seo

Best Guide For Site Migration SEO And Checklist

Table of Contents

Migrating a website, particularly when it comes to , isn't a simple approach that can be slapped together in an afternoon or a day or two before launch.

To ensure that your post-launch site retains and generates as much organic visibility as possible, an SEO migration needs extensive study, planning, execution, and monitoring.

For the tasks to be executed correctly and on schedule, you'll need the help of many teams, including your digital marketing, SEO, and web development teams.

Any significant changes to a website's configuration that may have an impact on SEO, such as changes to the domain, URLs, hosting, platform, or design, are referred to as a website migration.

There are many distinct types of migrations, but the planning and troubleshooting phases are always the same. Migrations can be quite complicated since they frequently include a large number of individuals and moving pieces.

Don't get too worked up if things don't go as planned; practically anything can be fixed.

Keep in mind that the goal of SEO migration is to keep your website's rankings, traffic, and conversions intact. You can preserve and maybe improve your organic performance by undertaking a comprehensive SEO website migration.

Getting prepared for a website migration

You must understand what is changing and who must be involved in order for it to take place. To put it another way, you'll need a strategy and a place to keep track of all the moving elements.

You'll need to know who's involved, their roles, and deadlines, as well as having a system in place to keep track of everything. This is where a project manager and project management system come in handy.

Trying to do everything via email and Slack can quickly spiral out of control.

You should also have a backup plan in case things goes horribly wrong. Even if you only plan to utilize it in extreme scenarios, you should always provide a means to return to the original state.

Make sure you have access to GSC and Analytics on both the old and new sites if you want to understand the impact of a shift (make a combined view if needed to see both). Some changes may take a few weeks or even months to manifest, while others may not show any signs of change at all.

For example, if you're moving a medium-sized site to a new domain, I'd anticipate a few weeks of disruption. However, if you're integrating two sites, you might not notice any traffic issues at all.

You should also conduct some preliminary work. I recommend taking the following steps:

  • Your website should be crawled. You'll use this as a reference point for future comparisons. You can do this with Site Audit from tools. This is a free tool.
  • Create a collection of test pages like those found on your top-performing pages according to your website's Console. These will be used to check for errors later.
  • To avoid getting indexed, limit access to your staging or development site (if you have one).
  • Make a backup of your website in case you need to restore it.

When it comes to SEO migration, how long should it take?

The length of an SEO migration is largely determined by the size of your website, the amount of material being moved, and the number of pre-and post-audits required. A 100-page website will take much less time than a 1,000-page website, which in turn will take much less time than a 50,000-page website, and so on.

Some SEO migrations take a month to plan and put in place, while others take three. It's critical to allow adequate time to design, create a staging site, QA and audit, and finally execute. To be safe, we recommend allowing at least three months.

Making A Website Migration With Its SEO value

There are two different types of migrations for every website. One where the URL remains the same and the other where the URL of the website changes.

Today we will be discussing both of these in this post.

When the URL remains the same

Because fewer things are changing, this is usually a more straightforward move—at least in terms of SEO. It may still be a difficult adjustment, but many of the duties necessary are often handled by infrastructure/DevOps or developers rather than SEOs.

These migrations typically involve:

  • Hosting: CDN, server
  • Platform: CMS
  • Design: template, internal SEO, tags

Creating a staging website

A staging website is a hidden version of your new website that you may use to test updates before they go live on your live site.

By constructing a staging website, you allow your team plenty of time to not only assess the content and functionality of the website but also to test and execute URL 301 redirects before going live.

This implies you won't have to update URLs in internal links and sitemaps as frequently before and after launch.

Items to check after migration

Make sure these things on your final website after the migration is the same.

  • Meta Descriptions
  • Heading Tags
  • Title Tags: Make sure these are still the same when before migrating.
  • Hreflang
  • Content: This should be very obvious. Do not change your already existing content immediately after the migration. Make sure the new content is visible to search engines.
  • Values
  • Canonical Tags
  • Schema
  • Meta robots: Make sure your pages are not tagged as noindexed.
  • Internal Links: Usually related posts, breadcrumbs and other internal linking structure gets disturbed in these cases. Make sure the internal linking structure remains the same.

When migrating URLs are different

These are the complex type of migrations. These migrations can be further classified into two categories:

  • Protocol: HTTP > HTTPS
  • Domain: When you change the URL.

HTTP > HTTPS Migrations

This type of migration is the easiest kind of migration these days.

If you are on WordPress you can use plugins to easily do this task. Check out all the plugins related to SSL here:

A few points to be careful here:

Domain Migrations

Make sure you are working with your team in sync. This change causes a lot of effect on your website's SEO.

A few points to be careful in this migration are:

  • Setup GSC: Make sure you immediately add GSC to your new domain. Keep your old sitemap for a while and add the new sitemap with new domain URLs.
  • Remove any crawling barriers from the old and new sites' pages. Everything must be crawled in order for signals to be consolidated.
  • Redirecting Pages. You'll want to use a 301 redirect to ensure that old pages are redirected to the new versions of your pages. It's also a good idea to redirect things like photos and PDFs, but don't worry about JS, CSS, or Font files. Don't worry about other file kinds; only reroute things that get indexed by search engines.

You want to catch changes as soon as possible, so if you have a development or staging site, crawl that first to make sure everything is working properly before publishing updates to a live site.

Remember that if an old site used HTTPS and the certificate expired, bots will still be able to access it, but people will get an error message and will not be redirected. This problem can be avoided by using multi-domain certificates that cover numerous sites.

If you see a drop, it's most likely due to redirection, something that can't be crawled, something that's been noindexed, changes to the content or the removal of material, changes to internal links, or whatever else connected to that's changed.

Continuous testing and monitoring

There are several ways to monitor the migration's progress and ensure that everything is going as planned. But we will see how we can do this by Search Console.

With GSC, you're in good hands.

Google Search Console contains a wealth of information to aid in relocation. The URL Inspection tool, for example, can be used to check for errors. Simply type in the URL, and Google will tell you which canonical version they used.


You can also download GSC data and create a unified view of your traffic in Excel or Google Data Studio to keep a better eye on the migration. To debug any losses, you might want to use a combined view of the page or keyword data.

You may use the Index Coverage report to see how your pages are indexed. If you've submitted both the old and new sitemap files, you can track how indexing changes and look for any problems here.

You can get specific coverage reports for the pages in those sitemaps if you have the sitemap files.


The Crawl Stats report in Google Search Console is the ideal place to look if you want to obtain an overview of Google crawl activity and any issues that have been found.

There are a variety of reports available to assist you to spot changes in crawling behavior, crawling concerns, and learn more about how Google crawls your site.

You should investigate any crawl statuses that have been highlighted, such as the ones mentioned here:


There are also timestamps for the last time the pages were crawled.


Other Checks

Check to see if they have a copy of any of the pages if you didn't acquire a baseline crawl of the site and need to compare the old and new versions.

They frequently have copies of robots.txt files from sites as well, which might be valuable in determining whether something went wrong and was mistakenly blocked during the process.

You can still check canonicalization if you don't have access to Google Search Console for a site by pasting a URL into Google. The canonical page is usually displayed first.

SCREENSHOT WWW.GOOGLE.COM 2021.08.18 21 02 52

If you don't have access to GSC, many other crawling-related issues can be found in your log files.

Just a heads up that the site: search operator might be confusing at times. When you use site: you're inquiring about Google's knowledge about a certain website.

Just because you see pages there doesn't indicate they're indexed that way or that the migration isn't working. This has led to people blocking the previous site in order to keep the pages out of the index, which causes issues.

Keep monitoring

Some issues may arise long after the migration is completed.

Keep an eye on the old domain to make sure it's renewed, as well as any others you've redirected to the site. Any signals passed by redirection from earlier sites may be lost if the domains expire.

If you didn't get rid of your old hosting and still have redirects on it, be warned that if it goes down, they'll break and you'll lose some links. You can fix this by using DNS redirection and saving the redirects on your new site.

Make sure to renew security certificates or, as previously mentioned, convert to a multi-domain certificate.

Check Mobile-Friendliness

Google uses a mobile-first indexing strategy, which means they look at your website's mobile experience before indexing it on desktop.

Building a mobile-friendly website that works on a variety of devices and browsers assures that your site will rank well.

Make sure your website's responsiveness stays intact after migration. Always keep an eye on this at every step of website migration SEO.

Migrate your

Backlinks to your old website are almost certain to exist, especially if you have valuable location pages or documents. To view which pages are accumulating backlinks, go to your Search Console, or whatever backlink tool you like.

Then contact the websites that link to your own and request that the backlinks be changed so that you can reap the benefits of all that backlink equity.

This will take time, therefore have someone keep track of these backlinks, handle outreach, and annotate backlink updates in Analytics.

In recent years, search engines have become smarter. When you make a 301 redirect from the domain, it usually transfers the link juice too.

But it is still suggested to contact your previous backlinks website and ask them for the change.

Example of a perfect website migration SEO

One of the very popular websites which migrated millions of pages flawlessly is making news in SEO circles. The company before known as Transferwise and now known as wise has excelled at this task.

Wise currently has over 4 million URLs indexed in Google. All these URLs have been transferred from


Their applauding team has successfully transferred their domains without any noticeable loss in their traffic. It took them 4 months to successfully transfer to a new domain.


From the above image to the present traffic graph which is still growing constantly.


This is a very successful job done by the Wise team. Not losing traffic in this process is their biggest achievement I will say.

Here's what the SEO lead has to say about this process

The most important points to be noted in the above tweet are:

1. Building small tests and monitoring server logs helps a lot. It is a good practice that needs to be implemented by every SEO team.

2. Keep your users and visitors informed about the change. Surprising your visitors suddenly with a domain change loses trust from the regular users. It can also lead to many suspicions. This job was well-taken care of by the Wise team from the beginning.

Final Words

Website migration with SEO value is a no small and easy task. It is as risky as the size of the website.

To be effective, you must conduct extensive research, strategize, execute, and measure your efforts. To maintain and grow your organic visibility after the migration, you'll need to think about a lot of things.

Thanks to many useful plugins like Duplicator in the WordPress repository which makes this process easier for WordPress users. Check out the WordPress repository for more plugins like this:

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  • Just-iko avatar Just-iko Thank you very much for answering ☑️ ✨
  • ddev66 avatar ddev66 Put your content in the right HTML tags and Google will show it this way.

    In the picture that you show, the first content is put in a list with bold headings.
    The second content is a FAQ on that page.

    Put in the right HTML tags and Google will pick it up nicely.
  • Just-iko avatar Just-iko Hello, I'm a newbie in this field, any guidance would be appreciated :) some questions please, is there any idea on how to make our website could appears like that in Google search? The one that I marked..
  • ddev66 avatar ddev66 Semrush or Ahrefs will help you for spying competitors.

    I think Semrush has a trial period as well.
  • Aadhi avatar Aadhi Buy semrush, you can buy it at cheap rate by using Group buy method
  • SG.CK avatar SG.CK Any free tool for spy traffic and ranking ?
  • ddev66 avatar ddev66 Search on google “htaccess redirect rules”
    Put them in your website’s htaccess file if you are using Apache
  • BrunoAfonso avatar BrunoAfonso how should I go to solve this issue
  • BrunoAfonso avatar BrunoAfonso Can you explain a little bit more? My website is not wordpress, I use amazon web services
  • ddev66 avatar ddev66 You can make a 301 redirect to the correct page on your website.
    If you are using Wordpress then SEO plugins like rank math have this feature.
    If you don’t want to use SEO plugins then there are many good redirect plugins in the Wordpress repository.
    And if you are not using Wordpress then .htaccess file is your friend.
  • BrunoAfonso avatar BrunoAfonso For example, is this image, the second link "THU Main Event" goes to a different page that it's supposed to. How do I fix this.
  • BrunoAfonso avatar BrunoAfonso So I have a website and when you search for it, one of the hyperlinks that google provides goes to the wrong page, is there a specific way for me to change that?
  • ddev66 avatar ddev66 Need more explanation
  • BrunoAfonso avatar BrunoAfonso Hello people, does anyone know how to fix a hyperlink within a google search?
  • ddev66 avatar ddev66 Semrush shows you all the links that it considers as toxic in its domain overview dashboard. You can then use these website list to disavow in GSC.
  • rrakesharmaa avatar rrakesharmaa I want to remove high spam backlinks via Disavow tool. So i need these links.
  • ddev66 avatar ddev66 extract high spam score backlinks.
    This is little confusing for me to understand

    Do you want to remove high spam backlinks to your website or do you want to receive backlinks from websites that have a high spam score?
  • yaswanth avatar yaswanth Now I use the Search console live URL inspector. It shows the page source and screenshot with an error(If any).
    Result: The page is not mobile friendly in the screenshot. All the element's styles are broken.

    Now, I feel like, " What the hell is happening in rich result tester? The google bot shows everything is ok, and in the search console, this is happening."

    # Problem Digging Stage final stage - Solving the problem
    The easiest way to solve the problem is to compare the thing and find the difference.
    Is rich results tester a google bot? Yes!
    Is it owned by google? Yes!
    Is it have any link with the official search console crawler? No!

    Now, What is the difference between 2 crawlers?
    Their IPs are different. They work differently.

    Summary: Google bot (Offical bot) is not able to crawl all elements in the webpage. It is not able to read all styling files. All other bots(services that use crawl as Google Bot) can view/crawl the page.

    List of official google bot IPs:

    Solution: Rather than digging into all files, we changed the hosting server located in the exact location.

    Thank you for reading this article. It takes a few mins to read this article, but It took hours to find the correct problem with a solution. If you find this article valuable, give it a like and if you have any questions, feel free to ask them.
  • yaswanth avatar yaswanth Solving Critical Indexing Problem (CASE STUDY)

    Last week I received a message from a friend he is requesting me to help him index a page of his website. I said, " Wait, sometime google will index automatically" Then he said he was getting problem with his homepage. So, I started digging. First, I want to find the problem. Then all other things were easy.

    # Problem Digging Stage 1 - Analyze the top layers
    Checking the basic things
    1) No Index tags
    2) Canonical tags
    3) Website page Age

    Result: Nothing Found

    # Problem Digging Stage 2 - Getting Deeper
    1) Checking status codes (If there is any redirects, 404 error, or soft 404 errors)
    2) Using an SEO browser to check the web page accessibility
    3) Trying with different user agents

    Result: Nothing Found

    # Problem Digging Stage 3 - Analyzing and
    comparing past and current stages of webpage
    1) Checking the Wayback machine for any spam content history
    2) Checking the search console for errors
    3) Other page's indexability

    Result: I got some clue. Search console shows "Page is not mobile friendly."

    # Problem Digging Stage 4 -Finding the reason for the search console error.
    When I checked the web page with SEO Browser, the page was mobile friendly, and I also tried "crawl as Googlebot." Everything looks good. Then where is the problem?

    One thing was confirmed google is not able to view the webpage clearly. And all other bots are not getting any problems.

    So, I decided to use only google properties in the further process (Because only the google bot gets stuck).
    I selected three tools to process further.
    1) Google page speed insights
    2) Google rich results tester
    3) Search console Live URL inspector

    First, I used page speed insights to check If the google bot can crawl/view the page or not(If there are any issues in crawling, then the tool returns a lighthouse error)
    Result: everything is ok

    Second I used Google rich results tester. It provides the page source and screenshot of the webpage.
    Result: everything is ok
  • achann avatar achann Backlink actually link that provided outside web, so if you use instagram and insert your web link that still counted as backlink.
  • achann avatar achann If you want to be free, why not using mailchimp for email blast. Or maybe you can use whatsender for whatsapp blast, there is nulled version I think.
  • achann avatar achann Um.. Maybe you can use whatsapp blast and give link? Or maybe you can use email marketing and give link to your web?
  • rrakesharmaa avatar rrakesharmaa How can I extract high spam score backlinks for my website? Is there any free tool that provides all high spam score sites HELP ME PLEASE 🙂
  • nkap avatar nkap <@211319858258771968> hey, would you be able to share the website that you want guest posts on? I’m in touch with a few fintech businesses and can ask them whether they’d be interested in putting a post on your site.
  • ddev66 avatar ddev66 <@211319858258771968> it sure will work. Make sure to write that it’s free to post as guests. A lot of websites do not mention this and writers usually think it’s paid opportunity only.

    Keep us updated of how well this goes for your website.
  • soutaraku avatar soutaraku Thank you so much for the detailed guide. I'll see if I can put up the Guest Post page to start with! I hope my email gets bombarded in a good way haha
  • ddev66 avatar ddev66 You should start putting up a page called Guest Posting on your other website where you put articles, etc.. and put all the requirements there which you are looking for in the guest posts. Make sure to leave your email as well for easier contacts.

    Build up some links to this page. Because most of the writers are looking to write for high metrics website that have good DA, TF, etc...

    Once you have a page setup it will help you get attention from people who are searching on Google.

    Next you can start sending the URL of this page to people whom you think might be interested to write for your service on social networks like twitter, linkedin, etc.

    Also list this page URL on websites that have posts like free guest posts list in SaaS, free guest posts list in "your niche", etc. Something like this:

    These will get you enough traction to attract guest posts from various contributors over the time. Your email will be bombarded with emails following the above tips.
  • soutaraku avatar soutaraku I can translate guest post to Japanese and put it on our website to share stories from overseas. I thought it would be interesting for our readers and a good way for link building.
  • soutaraku avatar soutaraku It's not titled as contribute/guest posts page, but there's a website we put interview articles and such. We surely can put guest posts on that website.
  • ddev66 avatar ddev66 <@211319858258771968> does your website have contribute/guest posts page?
  • soutaraku avatar soutaraku Hi guys! I'm a Japanese SEO specialist/ content editor working for a fintech company, and looking for someone to put guest posts on our website (preferably about fintech or SaaS market). Are there any good place to look for people willing to guest post?

    In Japan, not many people write guest posts, so I'm kinda lost. Twitter trick is only guiding light to me, <@838326478924021760>. Thanks for sharing.
  • Deleted User avatar Deleted User trying it out right now
  • nkap avatar nkap Great idea! Will definitely try it out. Thanks mate.
  • ddev66 avatar ddev66 A good trick to get guest posts for your website. <@456226577798135808> <@755307075625549854>
  • Büşra avatar Büşra Thank you very much. I'll try 😊
  • nkap avatar nkap Yeah me too!!
  • naaz avatar naaz <@755307075625549854> Thank you for the detailed answer. Hope <@341197404302737408> finds the right solution for this.
  • nkap avatar nkap <@341197404302737408> Just these:

    You can try 3 things: (I suggest you try the 3rd option first)

    1. If there are any links in your coverage report that’s actually not from your domain/property, I’d recommend you use the Search Console’s removal tool to remove these from your property.

    2. If you’re using any page builders like elementor etc make sure you turn off search engine indexing for things like templates. You can find this in Yoast SEO settings. With this setting your templates and unnecessary pages won’t be indexed. Are you using elementor by any chance?

    3. It’s also possible that your site has been hacked. If random URLs are appearing in analytics and search console the first thing that you should do is check your .htaccess file to see if someone has put any rewrite rules.
  • ddev66 avatar ddev66 <@755307075625549854> got any views on this?
  • ddev66 avatar ddev66 did you change your permalinks sometime back in last few months?
  • naaz avatar naaz <@838326478924021760> bringing to your attention on this.
  • Büşra avatar Büşra hello guys! I need to help about SEO optimation. I'm using wordpress Yoast. I saw dummy link like as `````` I haven't these in page. Btw ı'm using google search console. Why may be this? Is anyone has idea about that?
  • ankit662003 avatar ankit662003 does anyone know how to create seo silos?
  • ankit662003 avatar ankit662003 hi
  • ddev66 avatar ddev66 Just know that we are all here to help each other
  • ddev66 avatar ddev66 No worries mate.
  • Alex25 avatar Alex25 The thing is idk what to ask .
    I'm just stuck
  • ddev66 avatar ddev66 Drop your queries here

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  4. A good guide and example on site migration.

    Creating staging websites is very important for huge content websites. They will get you safely transfer the websies and its content like images, PDF files etc.

    The time after migration and gaining back those rankings is the most difficult one. You never know how it will turn out to be.

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