This is a detailed guide on partially migrating a WordPress website to a new domain. Explore this post till the end and learn everything about WordPress website migration- the right way.
This guide will help you get prepared for any type of migration and secure both your traffic and SEO stuff in the right way.
I’m Alyse, an SEO expert and Content Strategist from Poland. I have over 10+ years of experience working with technical SEO stuff and WordPress.
So, sit tight, and let’s get started.
Partial Website Migration- The Right Way for WordPress Users
Migrating a website or product, its landing pages, and documentation to a new domain is a complex process. And it’s important to take steps to minimize any negative impact on your organic performance. Here’s a step-by-step process that can help you out:
- Plan your website migration
- Create 301 redirects
- Test your redirects
- Update internal links
- Update external links
- Monitor your organic performance
- Monitor broken files and 404 errors
- Update your sitemap
Let’s check the details…
Plan your website migration
Before you begin the migration process, it’s important to plan it out. Identify the pages and content that need to be migrated, and create a detailed map of the new URLs vs old URLs.
This will help you ensure that all pages are properly redirected to their new locations.
Create 301 redirects
One of the most important steps in migrating a website to a new domain is to create 301 redirects for all of the old URLs to the new ones. This redirection tells search engines that the content has permanently moved to a new location, and it will help preserve any existing link equity.
Note: But before the 301 redirect, you need to import all your posts-pages from your existing website database and export them to the new website’s database. It’s highly technical and there’s no room for a mistake, if you are not an expert on it then get help from a developer.
Also, before creating a redirection, you need to optimize your posts and pages properly. Need to check URLs, graphics, atl. text, meta title, and description, and all SEO-related stuff. If everything goes well, for for the redirection.
Test your redirects
Once you’ve created your 301 redirects, it’s important to test them to make sure they’re working correctly. You can use tools like the Redirect Mapper to check that all of the old URLs are correctly redirecting to the new ones.
Update internal links
After you’ve set up your redirects, you’ll need to update any internal links on your website that point to the old URLs. This will ensure that users are directed to the correct pages on the new domain.
Update external links
Reach out to any external websites that link to your old pages and request them to update the links to point to the new pages on the new domain.
The best to is to email them and ask them to replace your old link with the new one explaining your migration process. Don’t forget to mention to ask them for any help they need from you in return.
Monitor your organic performance
Once you’ve completed the migration, it’s important to monitor your organic performance to ensure that your website’s visibility and traffic haven’t been negatively impacted.
Use tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console to track your website’s performance and make any necessary adjustments.
Monitor broken files and 404 errors
Monitor broken files, missing images, and all 404 errors to ensure that no pages were missed during the migration.
Update your sitemap
Note: This is a general guide, and the actual process may vary depending on the specifics of your website and migration. It’s also important to work with a developer who is experienced in website migrations to ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible.
7 factors to remember for proper migration and reduce traffic loss
Here are a few additional factors you should keep in mind when partially migrating a product with its landing pages or a website to a new domain:
Verify your new domain with Google Search Console
Verify your new domain with Google Search Console to ensure that you can track your website’s performance and submit your sitemap to Google.
Update your structured data
Make sure to update any structured data (e.g. schema.org markup) on your pages so that Google can correctly understand the content on your new domain.
Check your tracking codes
Verify that your tracking codes like Google Analytics, are properly set up on your new domain to ensure that you can continue to track your website’s performance.
Monitor your backlinks
Keep an eye on your backlinks to ensure that they’re not lost during the migration process. You can use tools like Ahrefs or Majestic to monitor your backlinks.
Monitor your website’s speed
Make sure that your website is loading quickly on the new domain. Slow-loading pages can negatively impact your organic performance.
Communicate the changes
Communicate the changes with your audience and customers, and update them on the new location of the product and its landing pages and documentation.
Test your new website
Test your new website thoroughly to ensure that all pages are working as expected and that all links are redirecting properly.
Bonus: Be prepared for some temporary losses
Be prepared for some temporary losses in terms of traffic and ranking during the transition period, it’s normal, but with proper implementation and monitoring of the migration, it should recover quickly.
It’s also important to note that this process is complex and time-consuming, so it’s important to work with an experienced developer to ensure that the migration goes as smoothly as possible.
What to look for while optimizing pages on the new domain?
Check the 8 points given to properly optimize your new site for SEO–
- URL structure
- H1, H2, H3, etc
- Meta title and description
- Images/videos and other files
- Canonical URLs
- Schema markup/Structural data
What is the regular % of traffic losses for Partial Website migration?
It is difficult to estimate the exact percentage of traffic loss that a website may experience after migrating to a new domain. This actually varies depending on the number of factors like-
- Size and complexity of the website
- Quality of the redirects and
- The overall execution of the migration
In general, if the migration is well-planned and executed, traffic loss should be minimal like 10%-15%. According to Google, if the redirects are set up correctly, the impact on traffic and ranking should be minimal.
Monitor your website’s performance during the migration process and after, to identify any issues and make any necessary adjustments to minimize any negative impact.
It’s a good idea to have a backup plan in case something goes wrong, and to communicate the changes with your audience and customers, that way they know where to find your product, landing pages, and documentation.