Site Replacement SEO

When you build a new website, you are effectively replacing your old website on the internet. This migration from old site to new can significantly affect your website’s visibility in search engine results. Without a proper Site Replacement SEO plan, you may experience consequential traffic and revenue loss that may last for months or years. Depending on the timing of the migration and the state of your site, this plan may include a full SEO audit and implementation alongside the recommended site replacement considerations. A comprehensive Site Replacement SEO plan aims to retain the site’s current organic traffic volume after the launch of your new site. 

Benefits of Site Replacement SEO

The most common pitfalls of any site migration include a lack of SEO planning and consultation, late involvement of a site replacement strategy and a slow response to errors, and an underestimation of scale and the resources necessary to retain organic traffic, post launch.

Site Replacement SEO lets you:

  • Create a timeline and agree on expectations

  • Document baselines to compare, post launch

  • Examine technical metadata, keyword strategies and content optimization, pre launch

  • Prepare for domain and hosting migration, if necessary

  • Create a comprehensive page-redirect plan, pre launch

  • Retain organic traffic volume, post launch

Metric’s comprehensive site replacement plan involves pre-launch planning, pre-launch testing, migration activities, post-launch testing and a site performance review.

Pre-Launch Baseline Setting

Setting baselines—for site speed, high-traffic pages, keyword positions, index status and more—allows you to compare metrics, pre launch to post launch. Identifying pre-launch weaknesses can help pinpoint priority areas for post-launch optimization.

Pre-Launch Content Optimization

Launching a new site presents a good opportunity to review your site’s technical content. This many include optimized page titles, meta descriptions, heading elements, image alt attributes and structured data markup, which will serve you well, post launch. 

Pre-Launch Link Review

Preserving optimized inbound and outbound links post launch is integral in directing Google to important sections and pages of your website. Google uses internal linking structures to crawl your site and determine if content is a good fit for a user’s search. Too often this step is missed during migration and websites are riddled with internal linking errors and broken pages.  

Responsive & Speed Testing

Internet users expect a smooth experience on all devices and browsers, and Google penalizes sites that offer a poor experience on mobile devices. Testing—to ensure content renders correctly, forms function properly and sites load quickly on all devices—is a critical step on your site-launch checklist.

Redirect Planning

New websites almost always include revisions or complete overhauls of a website’s sitemap and site architecture. These architectural updates result in old pages being removed from the sitemap or old content being moved to new URLs. Without thoughtful redirects in place, users will land on still-indexed pages from search results—old pages that might no longer be accessible on the new site (404 pages). This is a frustrating experience for users, and Google will penalize the new site accordingly in search results. By properly redirecting an old URL to a new version of the page, you will provide a smooth experience for users, and search engines will reward you for it. 

Analytics Tracking Preservation

You may have years of conversion tracking configured on your site. This might include custom event tracking based on tags and triggers that could malfunction post launch if care isn’t taken to document conversion tracking and ensure these “recipes” are installed correctly on the new site. Documenting and preserving this analytics tracking means protecting your historical data in order to properly compare pre-launch and post-launch conversion data. 

Upon completion of the site replacement plan and site migration, it is likely that, in the first few weeks and months, traffic may be volatile while search engines re-index the site and users become accustomed to the new experience. At this point, it’s critical that you maintain regular search engine optimization and position tracking to maintain and increase organic search visibility.

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