Basic SEO for Website Migration

The Challenge

I was approached by an Advertising Agency, they wanted to do the website build themselves. After the new website went live, their client’s website started ranking less for their top keywords, and the traffic was down to their website. I was on-boarded to fix whatever was wrong, and they gave me a list of keywords their client’s website use to rank for.

The Solution

Technical Website Audit.  I started with a technical website audit to give them a strategy on what can be improved and implemented in the future. But that was not the main solution, I had to ask them if they saved any of the old copy, site layout, and backlinks. And they didn’t.

So the investigation started, and I had to suggest some extra pages to get those specific keywords back on the website, I used Wayback Machine to retrieve copy, and Search Console for 404 errors.

 

When the advertising agency came to me with the problem that the new website isn’t ranking for the top keywords, I asked them for the old copy/content of the old website, backlinks and the old website layout. They didn’t save anything.

I immediately went to Wayback Machine to get the old content and the layout of the old website. From experience I know that many ad agencies trying to do the websites forget to 301 redirect any of the old URL’s, so I went into Search Console and downloaded the list of 404 url’s.

The new website had way fewer pages than the old website. Which resulted in some of their keywords not appearing on the new website.

After looking at the 404 URL’s, I started writing down the pages which the old website had that contained the keywords that they were no longer ranking for. I then looked for the content that would have matched that URL (you will also see it on Wayback Machine).

The reason they made fewer pages was to have a new clean layout/design, which is perfectly fine. Instead of having a page for each service, they added all the services onto one page with less content. I suggested that they add BOOKING or READ MORE to each service linking to a page with the old content, or optimized content containing all the old keywords.

So we added BOOKING and added the content to the Booking pages.

All 404 URLs were redirected which resulted in all the backlinks pointing to the website again.

I then went and looked for unlinked mentions and listed the page URL’s in a sheet, and gave that to the client to target (outreach).

Conclusion:

Website Migrations are tricky, sometimes it’s easy to migrate the website, but unfortunately too many forget to keep content/keywords in mind. I would suggest to always back up everything:

  1. Backlinks
  2. Content
  3. Site Structure
  4. Images -This is becoming more important, if you don’t use any of the old images on the new site, then add them to Pinterest and link them back to new relevant pages. I did a test where I linked Pinterest to new pages, and some new pages had no Pinterest linking to them. The ones who had Pinterest linking to them were crawled faster and indexed faster.

Having images on Pinterest can create a good Search Engine Experience by Branding your search results. They’ll show up in a Carousel.

All the images above are on Pinterest. 

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