By Amelia Coleby | Senior Consultant

So, you’re thinking about moving your website to a new platform, but what about the SEO considerations?

The new platform promises improved functionality, faster load times and more control over pages, but how will it affect your organic search performance? A great new site will only generate more sales if you are driving relevant customer traffic to it in the first place.

Here I outline five of the top SEO considerations for a smooth site migration.

Benchmarking your current performance

It’s important to know how your current site is performing to ensure you’re able to monitor performance as you make changes. Some areas we would expect to be tracked include:

  • Rankings 
  • Traffic
  • Conversion rate
  • Pages viewed
  • Bounce rate
  • Load speed

Re-platforming may mean new category and URL structures

New category and URL structures needn’t be scary - consider it an opportunity to keep your house in order and create clear folder structures to help Google find and index page content. Use this opportunity to overhaul your category structure. 

Be careful though, and beware the redirects! Make sure you’ve got every old page or section mapped to a replacement page in the new structure. Not doing this critical step properly could lead to problems later on.

Top tip: crawl your site before switching over. Recrawl and manually check after launch to make sure you haven’t left any pages behind.

Meta data editing may not come ‘out of the box’

Not all web platforms are equal, and all come with a myriad of functionality designed to help you drive your business. For SEO purposes, it’s important that you are considering some of this functionality as early as possible in the process.

Ask your systems integrator to ensure the CMS on top of your new platform allows you to automate and/or overwrite meta data for all pages. It’s a small tweak and doesn’t always come as standard, but it’ll be useful when you’re trying to optimise those pages.

SEO-friendly page templates

Design is critical in the customer experience, and ensuring the customer journey is as smooth as possible, however it’s also important to consider SEO at the design stage. Ask yourself:

  • Are the new page templates over-reliant on styling and images?
  • Can you add an H1 header to the page? Maybe some intro text?
  • How much control do you have over different page templates?

It’s simpler to have these conversations as early in the process as possible.

Can the new platform handle a blog or content hub?

Content is (still) king. If you’re serious about investing in SEO, you’ll need some rich content to bolster your position as an authority and potentially target that long tail search opportunity.

Ask your developers if the new platform can handle a Wordpress plugin, a native content hub system, or some way of adding rich content pages.

If you’ve already got great content, think about how this can be migrated – is this an opportunity to weed out old content?

A bonus tip: test, test and test again

Ask you friends, your mother, your milkman, your brother to test out the new site before and after launch. Click on old links to see if they redirect, check Google’s cache to see if the pages have been indexed, monitor your ranks obsessively, and use the Ahrefs.com broken link tool to check for any lost link value.

These are our top tips based on years of helping teams just like yours manage the scary migration process, in a way that’s not scary!

We’d love to talk to you about your concerns and our experiences, and how we can help you to minimise the impact of replatforming on SEO.

Get in touch if you’d like to chat about SEO considerations at hello@practicology.com 

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