At some point, every business will decide it is time to improve, update, redesign, refresh their website. It might be triggered by a re-branding, new products, new directions or just the feeling the current site is looking ‘old’.
So the business engages a web agency and a number of months later a sparkling new site appears on the internet, and the old one is consigned to the archives of the web.
But then for many businesses the euphoria disperses rapidly as they realise that their sparkling new site is being ignored by Google and no longer features in the rankings, and that their traffic levels have dropped.
So what went wrong?
Fundamentally you cannot demolish one site, replace it with a different one and hope everything will be fine. This can destroy a site’s hard won reputation in the eyes of the search engines as it damages their trust in the integrity of the site.
But it need not happen!
If you were planning to demolish a house and build a replacement on the same plot, you would carefully plan the transition from one to the other, and it should be no different in the world of web development. Yet it is surprising how few web agencies do it – they just assume they are building on a ‘green field’ site with no legacy to protect.
Web site migration is a series of tasks which can help to ensure the impact on your business of the site switch-over is minimal. It can help protect traffic levels and web rankings, existing links and reputation. Yes, there is a cost, but why would you not want to retain and protect your existing reputation rather than starting from scratch.
There is a lot of information on the web from reputable sources on the types of actions to be considered. This guide is arguably one of the most comprehensive - http://moz.com/blog/web-site-migration-guide-tips-for-seos
WSI regularly provides guidance assistance to clients and their web agencies on planning and implementing website transition strategies. If you are planning a website refresh, talk to us about planning the transition.