Site migration is sometimes overlooked as a massive undertaking, but in reality, it is a very fragile process that, if not done properly, can really jeopardize a website’s performance.
Whether it’s a domain change, platform change, or overall website refresh, it’s extremely important to do everything properly from the very get-go. To achieve a successful migration; organization, planning, communication and SEO are key. If one of these factors falls out of place, it could compromise the entire migration.
Why is Site migration important?
A website move or migration is nothing more than a massive change of the look of your website and its structure. It requires a huge amount of planning and organization to achieve. In most cases, most webmasters only concern themselves with making the change and forgetting about everything else. Although there are no set rules for migration, there are a few that have been proven to be effective: 1) Designers should be involved in the process at the beginning to address any aesthetic concerns as well as include any changes that might be made to the underlying structure. This will ensure that your project gets the same aesthetic look on the site while avoiding common design mistakes. 2) SEO Strategists should also be involved in the beginning to address any website structure concerns as well as make sure that any possible mitigation during the migration is addressed.
Project management for SEO website migrations is where these areas meet and become a key part of the migration. Here are the key steps in Project Management For SEO Website Migrations:
- Gather the required tools, accesses, and information in advance.
- Design the action plan for the migration (removal, move, and migration), including the estimated duration, objectives, deliverables, schedule, etc.
- Evaluate and predict risks and opportunities. Develop the change communication plan (internal, to SEO/traffic) and a roadmap (the backbone of the project) in advance.
- Measure progress and completion and be aware of any risks and setbacks, preferably in advance.
- Share success.
- Move the work to completion in a timely manner.
The project management team is the heart of the migration process. An agile project management team is required as the migration is highly dynamic and requires multiple shifts of workers. It is necessary for every single element of the project to be taken into account, from the business needs, the task, and the product itself. All teams need to be working in sync. From design, development, content, and SEO, all teams need to communicate effectively in order to launch a smooth migration.
Timelines and Scheduling
A Workback Schedule is a wonderful thing, and as a PM, it will help guide the project from start to finish. Making sure your client and other teams are fully aware of specific timelines of when SEO needs to be involved is very important for the success of the project. If SEO comes in too late within the project, it could jeopardize the launch date especially if something drastic shows up in the audit process.
The first thing to consider is how an organization/company defines success. Does it want to reach certain levels of traffic, conversions, or website engagement? Once defined and communicated across all teams, a thorough mitigation plan can be outlined so that those levels of success are achieved.
Making sure that SEO is top of mind during a migration is extremely important. If not, you could run the risk of losing traffic and rankings, which then in turn affects conversions/sales. Incorporating an SEO team into the migration process is of great benefit. SEO teams analyze the risks associated with migrations and then generate a thorough migration plan that mitigates these risks.
When building a solid website, it’s imperative to map out every step of the process. Through careful planning and cooperation with stakeholders, your SEO efforts should end up in a much better place. When these steps are being followed, it’s extremely important to communicate internally and externally with as much transparency as possible. In doing so, you will be able to avoid any mishaps.