For most small- to medium-sized enterprises, the website should be the center of all online activity. Not Facebook. Not Twitter. Not Yelp …

Your business website is where you attract new customers and where you craft the content that builds their trust.

Like most things in life, however, business websites don’t last forever if they’re left unattended. With the changing marketplace and constant business expansion, older websites rapidly become obsolete and will fall out of search rankings.

Should the website for your business become obsolete or require extensive changes, you’ll have to consider how website migration will impact your digital marketing. Many aspects of digital marketing are tied into your website, and the ripple effect of a bad migration can be felt through every campaign. To ensure your digital marketing efforts survive website migration unscathed, be sure to follow this checklist for everything SME marketers need to know.

Have an SEO Migration Plan

Website migration isn’t something to be taken lightly. You’ll need to put together a detailed plan before you can even take the first steps into the actual process of transferring your content. To create a plan, you’ll need to define what you have, define what you want to have and define how the migration will help you achieve that goal.

It’s also important to note that a website migration doesn’t happen in a single click. You don’t have to shut down your website while the changes are taking place, however, but a poorly-planned migration could knock you offline from several hours to several days. Not only will you lose business from website traffic for that period, but the site pages that are ranking well will fall out of the search index. You’ll be starting over from scratch with the new site.

If you take only one thing away from this article … Make sure you avoid this!

site migration checklist

How Much Website Content Should You Transfer?

Your website is likely full of blogs, news, infographics, photos and other content by the time you have to migrate. Should you bother saving all of it?

You may have poured your heart and soul into a lot of your posts, but nostalgia is no reason to make room for ineffective content. Instead, focus on what draws in visitors and leads to sales. Don’t restrict your slashing to core site pages, either. Old blogs can rank high in search results pages, get shared on social media and attract consistent activity for years. Analytics tools can help you identify this kind of content so you can be sure to transfer it to the new site.

Leave Behind Outdated Content

While you’re looking to find your valuable content, you’re bound to come across some content that didn’t perform too well. Don’t be afraid to leave this kind of content behind. It serves no purpose in taking up space on your new site when it doesn’t produce the necessary results.

Even content that was relevant in the past may be removed if it no longer affords the level of engagement it once did. Think of a website migration like moving to a new home. Packing your belongings is a great opportunity to get rid of stuff you don’t need, and content during a website migration is no different.

That said, you’ll want to make sure all the old pages redirect to the new pages so (once again) you don’t lose the search rankings you worked years to earn.

Check the New Sitemap

After your migration is complete and your redirects are set up to maintain your SEO rankings, search engines will have to re-index your site. Crawlers will need access to as many of your new site’s URLs as possible. If they can’t be crawled, they’re not going to appear on search engine results pages. That’s why you need a functioning XML sitemap to point them to all your beautiful new web pages.

Migrate Your Website With Symphonic Digital

Website migration is a big task to take on alone. To make sure your home online gets transferred without negative impacts to your SEO and other digital marketing efforts, get help from the experts at Symphonic Digital. Contact us today, and our team can ensure your site migration process runs smoothly and efficiently.

Note: A version this website migration article can be found at Medium.com.

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