Auditing Website Migration from an SEO Perspective

Paul Saffery - IT Director

Paul Saffery

24th September 2020

Here we go. Your marketing gurus think your website is looking a little tired and have been insisting for months that the time has come to give it a facelift. You finally give in and approve a budget to develop a brand new website with all the latest bells and whistles.

You sign up with a web design agency who goes through the hoops of getting all stakeholders to agree on the content and look and feel. You migrate all user accounts, migrate all the content, ecommerce transactions and so on. You connect the new website to your back office systems, run all the tests and make sure everybody is happy to go live. Finally, the big day comes when you cork your best champagne to welcome your new online presence!

Before you realise, your traffic plummets and you start wondering what it is your visitors didn’t like about your new online presence, considering it’s fast, responsive, beautiful, modern and easy to search and navigate.

You ask your web agency and they haven’t got a clue what could be the reason. Suddenly you come across SilverDisc, an agency with a long history of SEO expertise. 
You eagerly pick up the phone and ask them to take a fresh look at your website, server and traffic logs. After some careful analysis, SilverDisc discovers that your organic traffic has plummeted since you launched your new website. What happened?!

Preserving organic traffic when releasing a new website requires strong conceptual and technical knowledge. SilverDisc is well-positioned to hand-hold companies on this journey. As well as valuable experience, we have strong technical knowledge and proprietary technology to automate processes that assure a thorough analysis of all aspects of the migration process, from an SEO perspective.

One recent example has been a retail client of SilverDisc’s who had an e-commerce website built using Magento-1. They decided to develop a new Magento-2 website, which they commissioned to an agency. SilverDisc has been their SEO consultant for some time, so we wanted to make sure the launch of the new website would not damage all the hard work that had been done over the years to achieve an excellent organic search positioning.

The new website was built in such a way that URL structure was preserved. This would remove the need to configure redirects from the old URLs to the new URLs, and the belief was that this strategy would protect the organic positioning. SilverDisc, however, needed to make sure that aspects within the pages that are important for SEO were also being preserved.

To carry out the analysis, SilverDisc used their in-house built spider to crawl the old website. This produced a list of URLs, and for each page it obtained the title, description, h1 and markup using scraping techniques. This data was then fed into a second tool that scraped the same parameters from the developers’ staging (pre-released) new website. Both sets of parameters were written into a spreadsheet in order to compare them. The result was that some of the pages from the old website were not present on the new website. They would have led to broken links from the organic listings, as no redirects would have been configured assuming all URLs from the old website were present on the new website. Another finding was that a large percentage of pages did not preserve the exact information for all the parameters mentioned above.

Thanks to SilverDisc’s analysis, our client was able to ask their developers to fix these problems prior to the launch of the new website.

If your company is thinking of migrating its current website to a new one and you would like SilverDisc to help you fulfil this journey successfully, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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