Migrating a website to another CMS without losing SEO

Website redesign and CMS change case study: Boost your traffic by 3.42 times

Sometimes we need to leave our small-size or uncomfortable flat and move to a better or bigger one, but have all our apartment staff with us. When functionality of the platform that your site is located at is not enough it should get such a “moving” to a new CMS.

What is a CMS Migration?

CMS migration is transferring a website from one CMS provider to another. It is a technically complex and labor-intensive task. Incorrect actions can lead to losing SEO positions in Google and facing a range of technical problems.

Why You Might Want to Migrate to Another CMS

Common reasons of your website migration may be:

  • low level of site usability
  • numerous of technical errors on the old CMS
  • you need moving from HTTP to HTTPS
  • your website was developed with the SaaS constructors such as WIX, Shopify, uCoz or others that don’t have such large-scale functionality and capabilities as CMS.
  • outdated design

How not to lose traffic when you change the design

Loss of search traffic after a redesign is a very common issue, because, in fact, you present search engines a website with a lot of changes such as adjustment of page code, content and location of blocks, structure and navigation. Any major change comes with risks. It is hardly possible to predict how search engines will react to a new site, but it is possible to minimize the risks.

Before starting to move or redesign, it is better to study the website migration best practices to know which step you should take to preserve rankings and traffic.

As you know, in the best case studies, the results speak for themselves.
So check a shortlist of what has been achieved as a result of the successful implementation of the project performed by RegisTeam marketing agency:

  • Increased traffic by 3.42 times
  • Increased the visibility in Google by 2 times
  • More than 2.5k keywords in the TOP10 search results

Surprised?
Dive into this migrating website case made by RegisTeam and every point of this complex process will be revealed for you.

Using the case study as an example, you will see how you can not only maintain your website position when redesigning and changing CMS, but also significantly increase the amount of traffic. We helped our client, who sells auto products, to increase traffic by 3.42 times after the redesign with a professional SEO approach.

Here Is a Sneak Peek:

What project issues we had at the very beginning:

  • Outdated site design
  • Not expanded structure of the site
  • Significant amount of technical errors
  • Planned migration to a new CMS
  • Not optimized text blocks on pages
  • Not implemented commercial factors of the site
  • Not optimized product cards in the catalog

We split the project into 6 stages to be done:

Step 1: Create a new website structure

In order to solve the client’s problem, we suggested creating a modern site on a WordPress template.
During the analysis of competitors in this niche, we suggested expanding the structure as much as possible, focusing on the range of products that were available in the client’s warehouse.

Step 2: Creating guidelines for the correct migration

Since it was decided to change the CMS and site design, recommendations were made in order to preserve the organic traffic during the CMS transfer as much as possible.
The following recommendations were made:

  • Correct copying and saving old URLs;
  • Transfer of text blocks;
  • Correct copying and saving of metadata and headings;
  • Copying and saving analytics system codes and tracking codes;
  • Recommendations were made to expand the structure of the updated site;
  • Recommendations for improving the product cards in terms of descriptions, technical characteristics, as well as the quality of the photos of products;
  • Recommendations on a number of important commercial factors.

All these recommendations were implemented on a test hosting, which was previously closed from indexing by search engines.

Step 3: Analysis of the website on test hosting

Once the updated site is ready with all our recommendations on the test hosting, we made a complete analysis of the site and made technical recommendations to fix all the important points in terms of SEO.

Additional recommendations were made for:

  • Implementation of micro data markup (Product, Bread crumbs, Products list, Organization and Local Business, Site Navigation Element) and so on;
  • Implementation of a new robots.txt file;
  • Implementation of updated sitemap.xml file;
  • Revamping of product’s cards (adding the “Buy” button, a detailed description, adding characteristics, adding good quality images, listing and displaying the rating of products);
  • Implementation of an updated shopping cart on the project;
  • Development of the footer of the site;
  • Development of the page “Contacts” (adding all the necessary contact information, adding maps, the implementation of telephone numbers and e-mail);
  • Elimination of technical errors;
  • Creating and adding pages (About Us, Shipping and Payment Information, Warranty, etc.).

Step 4: Collection and clustering of the semantic core.

After implementing the new structure, it was necessary to collect and cluster keywords. After collecting and clustering keywords, a system was set up to track their positions in Google search results.

Step 5: Creating metadata and technical guidelines for texts.

After collecting the semantic core, we compiled metadata for the main internal pages of the website and categories, metadata templates were created for product cards, and we prepared technical specifications for copywriters to write new optimized texts based on the collected semantic core.

Step 6: Additional project analysis.

After the implementation of all of the work described above, a secondary audit was performed.
It is very important to make sure that all errors have been corrected and technical requirements have been implemented before releasing the new site.

Well, let’s see what results we managed to achieve:

  1. Increased website traffic by 3.42 times
  2. Increased the visibility in Google by 2 times
  3. More than 2.5k keywords in the TOP10 search result

The dynamics of organic traffic from Google Analytics:

Site visibility dynamics according to Serpstat tool:

Traffic dynamics according to Serpstat tool:

Distribution of phrases by position in search engine results:

Keyword visibility dynamics:

After updating this site we managed not only to keep the existing traffic but also with the right approach to get a gradual positive monthly dynamics of organic traffic growth and get keywords in the top 1-10 positions of Google organic search results.

This case shows that you can not only prevent losing the traffic, when changing CMS, but even increase it, of course if all the work is done correctly.
Let’s study in detail why you might need to transfer your site and detect all the pros and cons of this process.

What are The Benefits of Migrating to a New CMS?

  • get more functional advantages than your old cms has and improve your website performance
  • choose the most secure platform and be calm about your site’s safety.
  •  find a new CMS that works without failure and reach more traffic as a result
    manage your website in a more convenient and easy way on the new platform

Does changing CMS affect SEO?

It goes without saying that a CMS transfer has a significant impact on SEO. Therefore, take your choice of platform for moving seriously. It is important to do a CMS check for reaching the goals of your website.

The Main Issues You Might Face During a CMS Migration

When you perform SEO and CMS migration, there is a high probability of encountering numerous problems. They may come out quite unexpectedly and reduce the efforts spent to nothing. What can go wrong? The answer is – everything.
So it is better to know about all the difficulties in advance and do your best to avoid them. Each CMS has its own technical features and that should be taken into account when setting up the correct website indexing.

Top Website CMS Migration risks

Any transfer of a site can greatly harm SEO, so it is necessary to minimize all risks. The main issues after the transferring may include:

  • redirects to
  • unimportant pages;
  • multiple redirects;
  • content loss;
  • the appearance of duplicates;
  • incorrect indexing;
  • low page and content loading speed;
  • poor mobile performance;
  • website layout issues;
  • inappropriate changes to technical files such as robots.txt, etc.

How to do a website migration without losing search rankings

Proper site migration requires a broad scope of knowledge and expertise, so if you are going to move a website, do not hesitate to contact the RegisTeam. We will do a free site audit for you and will be able to help with the correct transfer.

In any case, this checklist will be useful to you:

1. Create a website backup

No matter how carefully you have prepared for the moving, it is better to play it safe and back up all site files and databases.

2. Check the new CMS on server
3. Analyze and transfer the website structure
4. Create 301 redirects tablesheet.

Setting up of redirects is important so that the search bot immediately understands that the site has changed and the page is now available at a different address.

5. Transfer SEO texts
6. Transfer metadata and headers
7. Transfer the functional elements.

Test the operation of all navigation elements, calculators, forms and connected services.

8. All links (menus, links in texts, canonical attributes) must be up-to-date, i.e. not belong to the old site.

9. Create website maps including XML sitemap, image sitemap, HTML sitemap
10. Rewrite robots.txt file
11. Reset analytics systems and other external services
12. Check for 404 pages
13. Check your mobile version

14. Check the content: the correctness of images and scripts, the absence of duplication of text in the site

14. Check the content: the correctness of images and scripts, the absence of duplication of text in the site
15. Perform a technical audit of your migrated website and optimize if any errors arise

In our checklist, we have reflected all the stages that are important to consider when transferring a website. By following all of them, you will be able to transfer without losing traffic and positions in the search.

When upgrading or developing a new site, we highly recommend to involve experienced SEO specialists who will be able to correctly perform all the work in terms of SEO for CMS migration, and will minimize the drop in traffic in the process of transfer to a new platform. And also ensure the correct indexation and ranking in the future of the updated website, while saving the client’s budget for further modifications for SEO promotion.

Want to have a painless migration of your website?

Get in touch with RegisTeam highly experienced SEO-specialists

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    Author
    Alex Benedychuk
    CEO RegisTeam

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