The Risks of Getting a Website Migration Wrong and How Your Business Can Avoid Them.

By Chris Lee

Updated Over a Week Ago

Minute Read

As businesses grow, so too do their websites. Sometimes, the most efficient way to deal with this growth and evolution is to move your business website to a new domain – perhaps when your business name changes – or to fundamentally restructure the site and its content.

In these instances, there is a significant risk of losing hard-won search engine visibility, which can translate to lower traffic, fewer people on your site, and less revenue. This blog post explores the risks of getting an SEO web migration wrong and outlines how your business can avoid them.

What is an SEO Web Migration?

A migration is the act of moving your site from one domain to another or fundamentally changing the structure of your website and its content. SEO web migration services ensure that your website’s SEO value is transferred to the new domain.

When businesses start, they build the website as they go, creating content as needed, leading to a disorganized site experience. As operations stabilize and cash flow becomes more predictable, many businesses take the opportunity to consolidate their content and rebuild their website with a better organizational structure. Or, a company may decide to move its website to a new domain when the business name changes.

The Risks of Getting a Website Migration Wrong

In both situations, managing the migration effectively is crucial. Failing to do so carries some serious business risks.

Loss of Search Engine Visibility

A poorly managed migration can cause a significant drop in rankings and traffic, making it difficult to recover from this new position. Downtime and lost revenue: if the migration leads to broken pages or missing content, parts or the entirety of your site can go down, disrupting the user experience and potentially leading to lost revenue.

Data Loss

Without proper backups and checks, you risk losing vast amounts of customer data, impacting operations and further damaging your reputation.

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How to Pave the Way for a Smooth Website Migration

Despite the daunting risks above, there are benefits to a website migration. There are reliable methods of preparing for the migration, minimizing risk, and setting the scene for a smooth changeover. And while business owners are always looking for ways to save time, this is one area we advise investing proper time and energy in getting right.

Here’s What You Need To Do

1. Plan Properly

Set clear goals and create a detailed timeline.

2. Set Up a Staging Site

Create a duplicate version of the website where changes can be tested and content reviewed.

3. Run SEO Audits

Run an audit before and after the migration to check that everything is working properly and highlight any issues that need addressing.

Six Steps to a Smooth Migration

These tried-and-tested steps sit at the heart of our website migration services. They have helped numerous clients to achieve a smooth migration:

1. Benchmarking

In this step, you build a clear understanding of your current site and your goals for the new site so you can move ahead strategically rather than making it up as you go along – i.e., the main pitfall for poor website migrations.

2. Pre-Launch Preparation

This is where you do the preliminary SEO audit to identify any challenges that may interfere with a smooth migration.

3. Planning

With benchmarks in place and challenges identified, you need to set a roadmap for the migration that meets your goals and addresses any challenges. The worst-case scenario is a migration that carries over the issues to the new site.

4. Launch

In this step, content is migrated from your old site to the new site via the staging site in a way that preserves rankings and traffic

5. Post-Launch Testing

Once the migration is complete, there are still more steps! Here, you run thorough tests on the new site, including another SEO audit, to ensure disruption is minimized and to identify any other issues that have arisen.

6. Monitoring

The final, ongoing step is to keep a close eye on analytics and other metrics to ensure performance has not been negatively impacted.

Various technical considerations are included in the steps above, including URL redirect mapping, internal link updating, a complete code review, and content changes in line with best practices. Digging deeper into each of these is beyond the scope of this top-level overview of the risks of a poorly implemented migration.

However, if you are considering a migration, we recommend brushing up on these skills or partnering with a specialist SEO web migration agency.

Doing so will enable you to tap into their expertise and avoid the many pitfalls associated with migrating your website.


After years of growing your business, building your website, and accumulating traffic and revenue, losing a sizeable chunk of your business leads to a poor migration, a punishing, and easily avoidable fate.

Are you planning a website migration?

If you have ideas about website migrations that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

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Chris Lee
Chris Lee
Chris Lee has worked in SEO since 2008 and seen A LOT of change since then, but he's a firm believer that if you focus on the fundamentals you're set up for success.
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