Dont't have an SEO Avalanche: Site Migrations

In the dynamic realm of digital business, website migrations are a regular occurrence, driven by technological advancements, user experience enhancements, or rebranding initiatives. However, amid the excitement of a website replatforming, one crucial aspect often overlooked is the potential impact on search engine optimisation (SEO). In this article, we explore the intricacies of SEO migrations, offering a technical overview and highlighting the dangers of neglecting critical SEO considerations during the replatforming process.

Understanding SEO Migrations: 

SEO migrations, synonymous with website replatforming or site migrations, involve transferring a website's content, structure, and functionality to a new platform or backend system. This process can range from a simple change in hosting providers to a complete overhaul of the website's architecture and infrastructure. While migrations offer opportunities for improvement, they also pose significant risks to organic search visibility if not meticulously executed.

Technical Overview: 

Key technical considerations in SEO migrations include:

301 Redirects: Implementing 301 redirects is paramount when URLs change during a migration. These permanent redirects notify search engines that a page has moved permanently to a new location, preserving link equity and ensuring a seamless user experience. Failure to implement 301 redirects can result in broken links, loss of rankings, and diminished organic traffic.

Canonical Tags: Canonical tags are used to indicate the preferred version of a web page when multiple versions exist, such as HTTP vs HTTPS or www vs non-www. During migrations, it's essential to review and update canonical tags to avoid duplicate content issues and maintain search engine visibility.

XML Sitemaps: XML sitemaps help search engines discover and index website content efficiently. Updating and submitting XML sitemaps post-migration ensures that search engines crawl and index the new website structure promptly, minimising disruptions to organic search visibility.

Robots.txt and Meta Robots Tags: Reviewing and updating robots.txt files and meta robots tags is crucial to control search engine crawling and indexing behaviour during migrations. Blocking important pages inadvertently can result in decreased organic traffic and visibility.

Structured Data Markup: Structured data markup enhances search engine understanding of website content, leading to rich search results and enhanced visibility. Ensuring the continuity of structured data markup across migrated pages helps maintain search engine rankings and user engagement.

The Dangers of Losing Organic Traffic: 

Underestimating the impact of SEO migrations on organic traffic can have severe consequences, including:

Loss of Rankings: Inadequate handling of technical elements such as 301 redirects can cause web pages to lose rankings and visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Indexing Issues: Technical errors and misconfigurations can prevent search engines from properly indexing migrated content, resulting in decreased organic traffic and visibility.

User Experience Degradation: Broken links, missing pages, and navigational issues can lead to a poor user experience, driving visitors away and impacting organic traffic and engagement metrics.

Brand Reputation Damage: A significant drop in organic search visibility can tarnish brand reputation and credibility, eroding trust among existing and potential customers.

Mitigating Risks and Maximising Success: 

To mitigate the risks associated with SEO migrations and maximise success, businesses should:

Conduct Comprehensive Audits: Perform thorough audits of the existing website to identify potential SEO issues and technical vulnerabilities.

Develop a Robust Migration Plan: Create a detailed migration plan that encompasses all technical, content, and SEO considerations, including 301 redirects, canonicalisation, and structured data preservation.

Implement Testing and Monitoring Protocols: Test the new website extensively before launch to identify and rectify any technical issues or discrepancies. Implement monitoring protocols to track organic search visibility, traffic, and engagement metrics post-migration.

Work with Experienced Professionals: Collaborate with experienced SEO professionals, web developers, and digital marketers who possess expertise in SEO best practices and website migrations.


SEO migrations are intricate processes that demand meticulous planning, execution, and monitoring to safeguard organic traffic and preserve search engine visibility. By addressing critical technical elements such as 301 redirects, canonicalisation, and structured data preservation, businesses can navigate website replatforming projects confidently and ensure a seamless transition to a new backend system without sacrificing organic search performance. Prioritising SEO considerations during migrations is paramount for long-term success and sustained organic traffic growth in today's competitive digital landscape.