Launching a new website is a huge and exciting event for any business owner. But when your new website launch also involves moving platforms (like from Squarespace to Showit for example), you may have some concerns like these business owners:
These businesses all share the same fear that you’re probably feeling too: that you will lose or ruin your SEO rankings when you switch platforms. I totally get it—SEO takes a long time to build and is a major lead generator for your business. It’s NOT okay to lose that.
But here’s the thing: you should never let the fear of losing rankings stop you from making the best decision for your business. The truth is, you are likely to see rankings dip when switching platforms, but if you follow some simple steps, this is only temporary as Google works to recrawl your new site! In this article, I’m going to give you the low down on making sure your website migration doesn’t jeopardize your SEO. Let’s get started!
It’s hard to tell whether you’re seeing an SEO dip if you don’t know where you’re starting. I recommend auditing your SEO prior to a platform move. That way you know exactly what you’re ranking for, where you stand, and what you need to maintain. Here are a few things to check:
Honestly, I often find folks are worried about losing SEO when they don’t have that many rankings to begin with. This audit may give you some peace of mind if it helps you realize, “hey, I really don’t have much to lose!” But if you’re an SEO rockstar, an audit is SO important because it helps you identify exactly what rankings you are trying to maintain when you switch platforms.
In almost every case of website migration, I recommend you keep your domain name the same. Adding in a domain name change to your website migration can increase your chances of losing search rankings. Unless you have a REALLY good reason to change domain names—for example, you are changing business names or industries—you’re going to save yourself a major headache by keeping things the same.
If you do change your domain name, though, be sure to set up redirects so that anytime someone tries to visit your old domain, they get redirected to your new one.
In addition to keeping your domain name the same, I recommend keeping your page names and slugs the same.
A slug is the part of the URL that identifies a specific page on your site. It explains the page’s content in a simple way, allowing visitors to understand what page they are about to navigate to. For instance, after glancing at the link below, you can tell that you’re navigating to my blog.
Keeping page names and slugs the same allows for a consistent organization and ease of navigation for new and returning visitors. For example, if your current website has an About page with the slug “/about,” you’ll see less of an SEO impact if you keep that the same rather than changing it to something like “/meet.” If you do end up changing pages, you will need to set up 301 redirects from the old pages, which inform search engines that the content has permanently moved to a new location.
An exception to this would be if your old website had poor navigation. This is a change my clients and I often choose to make, in order to better organize their site for the future. Google’s search algorithm is extremely complicated, but at the end of the day, it aims to serve users with the best experience. An easier-to-navigate site provides just that! In that case, it’s worth the trade-off of setting up a redirect in order to have a cleaner, more organized site.
Okay, by now you’re probably sensing a theme. Keep as many things the same for a smooth transition to your new platform. It’s not that you CAN’T change things, it just makes it more likely that you will see an SEO dip. Next on my list is keeping your page titles and meta descriptions the same.
These are both found under the “SEO Settings” tab in Showit. This is where you tell Google what title and description you’d like to appear on the SERP (search engine results page). For example, below is the page title and meta description for my home page:
Keep in mind, Google is known to serve users whatever page title and meta description it sees fit, so it may not always show the one you wrote (if you want to hear Google laugh, tell it your plans, amiright?). But, keeping your page titles and meta-descriptions the same is one more way to help ease the transition to your new site.
Since you’ve probably read some of my other posts about why you should choose Showit, you already know Showit blogging is one of my favorite features of the platform. To make it even more awesome, the Showit team can migrate your blog for you! This ensures your old blog posts don’t bring up a 404 (page not found) error. And no need to set up tons of confusing redirects! All you have to do is submit a request and they’ll do it for you. Easy peasy! For more information on this, check out this article from Showit about launching your blog.
While many fear losing SEO when moving website platforms, it’s actually a great opportunity to make improvements to your existing SEO! Here are a few recommendations to improve your SEO as you move platforms:
Moving website platforms can be a pivotal step in your branding strategy. When doing so, it’s important to keep in mind that most every change you make will affect your SEO. But have no fear! By following the tips provided in this post, you’ll minimize the risk of losing SEO rankings and ensure a smooth transition!