For marketing teams, migrating a website is the virtual equivalent of completing a triathlon.
Only for SEOs, the process doesn’t stop when the migration is complete, because that’s usually when volatility in rankings and traffic loss happens.
SEO consultant Natalie Slater asked search engine experts on Twitter to share their views on what causes traffic loss when you migrate your website.
Hey SEO Twitter. What would you say the most common causes of traffic loss are post-website migration? Any kind of website migration.
— Natalie Slater (@njmott) October 23, 2022
Here’s what they said…
- Poorly done redirects. Many SEOs said that sometimes it’s because redirects are missing completely, and sometimes it’s due to partial or poorly done redirects. Of course, redirects are just one of several potential causes.
- Not migrating title tags on images and page structure changes. One SEO pointed out that changes to headings, image size increases, etc., can also tank your rank.
- Continuing to work at the same time you expect Google to crawl the new website, for example redesign, URL restructuring, adding hreflang, and more.
- Slam-dunking design and architectural improvements can also cause traffic loss.
There were also a bunch of replies related to domain authority:
- A new brand not being well received by Google – yet.
- Migrating a good website to one that’s less good.
- Switching to a less distinct brand.
- Badly optimized content and topical map on the new domain.
Many SEOs believe that post-migration traffic drops are normal and it will take time for Google to accept that your new domain or brand has replaced the old one.
There’s a common thread in all this: Whatever you do, you should understand and plan for every part of the migration, down to the tiniest, most nuanced details… if you want to avoid any huge inconveniences, that is.