2020-08-10

Failure to launch: Why every marketer needs this migration checklist

Whether you’re planning a new web build or right in the thick of it, you’re going to be spinning a lot of plates.
On the one hand, still doing your day job – fighting fires and fielding demands on your team.
On the other, in launch mode – steering design, gathering content and trying to keep everyone motivated so you don’t miss your go-live date.
It’s no wonder things get missed.
As ASOS famously discovered, a solid SEO migration plan is often one of them.
In 2018, when ASOS launched 200 new regional sites across Europe without the migration strategy, they lost their organic search rankings overnight.
The result? Profits dropped by 87%.
It’s not an exaggeration to say this oversight nearly crippled them.
Sadly, it’s not uncommon and it does happen to businesses of all sizes.
Let’s stop it happening to yours.

Grab your SEO migration checklist

(Don’t launch without it)
Without a solid migration plan, most new sites are likely to lose rankings, traffic and revenue, potentially taking months to recover.
To prevent your launch falling flat on its face, I’ve put together a comprehensive checklist of everything you need to do before, during and after migration.
It’s interactive, so you’ll be able to add dates, names, notes and tick off the tasks in the list as you go.
Fill out the form at the bottom of this page to recieve your migration checklist PDF.

Key questions to ask before you migrate

While every migration is unique there are three main areas you need to have in hand to launch successfully – technical factors, on-page factors and testing.
The checklist leads you step-by-step through the details, but these are the key questions you need to cover:

1. Technical factors (aka. nerdy SEO stuff)

Do we have a complete list of all the URLs from our existing site?
Are all of our new pages indexable?
Have we implemented 301 redirects and updated internal links?
Are we on top of SEO essentials such as robots directives, canonical tags, hreflang tags, AMP tags and so on?
Can we find a way to ensure our most important external links point to the new site?

2. On-page factors (targeting the right keywords)

What are our priority pages?
Do we know what each page ranks for on the old site?
Are we targeting the same keywords on the new site?
How can we maintain our URL structure so Google doesn’t take away our current rankings?
Do we have the right page titles, meta descriptions, headings and image alt text in the right places?
If we have to remove old pages, do we have a plan for doing so in an SEO friendly way?
Do we have a custom 404 error page?

3. Essential launch safety checks (testing)

Can we test everything on a test server prior to go-live?
Can we launch during a slow period when we can afford to lose a little traffic?
How will we check everything has migrated properly?
Do we have a record of existing analytics so we can benchmark our traffic?
How will we monitor traffic and conversions going forward?

Finally, how will we know if our site migration has been a success?

Be warned, you may need to wait a few weeks (or even months for larger sites) before being able to get an accurate measure of success.
Don’t be surprised to see a little bit of a drop in results at first while customers get used to new layouts, user journeys and so on.
However, don’t stop optimising, when it comes to growth, incremental gain is the name of the game.

Conculsion

Even the simplest of migrations have the tendency to go wrong if you’re not on top of them.
But a structured plan of attack means you’ll be able to stop nasty surprises creeping up on you.
Contrary to popular belief, it’s totally possible to migrate without losing any traffic or revenue and even gain a spike in growth.
Follow this step-by-step SEO migration checklist and you can be confident of successfully launching to the applause you deserve.

Grab your SEO migration checklist

We'll send it straight to your inbox. Don't launch without it!