Moving the site to a new engine without losing positions
Instructions that will help you move to our online store engine with minimal loss of traffic and positions in search engines.
After moving to a new engine, for example, from Opencart, Bitrix, CS Cart, ShopScript, WooCommerce, the position of the site in search engines may drop sharply. This is usually due to the fact that the work on changing the platform was carried out without an SEO specialist, and several important points were missed.
The site owner may think that everything is ready to move to a new CMS. But in reality, for example, the Title of the main page is not registered and it defaults to “home page”, or they didn’t think about checking the mobile version or other nuances.
So that you do not forget about anything, the specialists of our agency have written step-by-step instructions.
Preparing for a site move
Be sure to save the old version of the site. It will come in handy if there is a big drop in requests for no apparent reason.
Make all edits only on the test domain, and transfer to the main one when everything is ready.
Important: do not forget to close the test domain from indexing. To do this, we write in the robots. txt file:
- User-agent: *
- disallow: /
If this is not done, search engines will remember the updates on the test domain and consider the content on the main resource to be duplicates.
Analysis of site position and traffic
Before moving, be sure to fix the positions and mark the site traffic, and after the transfer, analyze their changes. This will help in the future to find the reason for the drawdown of requests, if any, and to identify errors.
Implementations during the move
Do not make any changes to the site during the migration, as if positions drop after the move, it will be difficult to trace the exact cause of the drop. Follow the positions for at least a month, and when everything is fine, try to implement what you wanted on the site.
Sitemap and robots. txt file
Update the sitemap and robots. txt file as the urls and site structure may have changed. Close unnecessary, service pages from indexing and make sure that the necessary one is open.
Counters and third-party services with integration
Transfer Yandex. Metrica and Google Analytics counters and check the settings of all goals. This will allow search engines to evaluate behavioral factors and take them into account in rankings, as well as help you compare traffic and conversions before and after the move, and between periods.
Transfer all types of microdata that you had. Micromarking makes the snippet expanded, which positively affects its clickability and can indirectly affect positions.
You can check microdata in the Yandex. Webmaster validator .
Or in the rich results checker .
Adaptive version or mobile
A responsive site is better than a mobile site because it uses a single URL, which has a better effect on behavioral factors.
The indicator after the move should be no worse than before it, and even better. Test your speed with Google PageSpeed Insights and follow any suggestions you can to improve it.
Ideally, the structure of the site does not need to be changed. If this is not possible, set up a 301 redirect from the old pages to the new ones and change the internal links to the correct ones. Pay special attention to the pages where traffic and external links go.
If some of the pages are deleted when moving the site, you can set up a redirect:
- to a page that is similar in meaning, for example, to a product card page of the same model, but of a different color;
- one page up.
Important: check that there are no unnecessary redirects when redirecting from page to page.
The URLs must remain the same. When automatically generating page addresses, they can be generated differently, for example, before the move, the category of quadcopters was named as “/kvadrokoptery/”, and after - “/kvadrokopteri/”. Such pages will be considered new by search engines and their weight will be lost.
Meta tags, texts, titles, alt
When migrating, transfer all meta tags, texts, H1-H6 headings and alt attributes for images to a new engine or design.
After transferring the site, check if there are duplicate pages or meta tags. If yes, remove them. You can check the site for duplicates using various services, such as Netpeak Spider, Screaming Frog SEO Spider or Comparser.
Move the rel="canonical" attribute on all pages where it was present. If this is not done, a large number of duplicates will appear, which will lead to a drop in positions.
Check if internal linking has been transferred correctly:
- Are all internal links configured.
- If earlier linking was useful to users and located in convenient places, has it remained the same useful? If not, try changing the location of the links.
If you're going to move to a new design, it's important to put a lot of emphasis on testing. All functional elements should work correctly, and the design should be clear and user-friendly.
After switching to a new design, check the main page metrics where the traffic goes: bounces, time spent on the page, and conversions. Compare them with past performance and analyze the results. If you see a high bounce rate or too little conversion, check what could be the problem. For example, adding to the cart works on the desktop version of the site, but this option is not available on the mobile version.
After a good preparation, you can move. This is best done during user inactivity and off-season. This way you will be able to avoid a large traffic drawdown when requests fall.
Be sure to keep track of all site performance indicators. They may be slightly worse than before the move, and this is a normal situation. But if you notice a strong drawdown, check if everything was taken into account during the move.