How to keep SEO rankings and traffic when moving a site to a new CMS?

harrygreen90

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I want to move a site with 600 visitors per day to a new CMS, but the problem is all URLs will be changed, Google will re-crawl and index my site and I am afraid of loosing traffic and SEO rankings. I know using 301 url redirection with htaccess but I am sure it will affect SEO because URLs change. Can you anyone share your opinions?
 

Shimei

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Yes, that's a tough move. The only thing I can really think of is to set up a site map to speed the Google process up.

If the urls are not "that different" you might want to check to see if it is even possible to do rewrites through htaccess. If for example your old urls don't have a page number and your new url structure does not have a page number and they are seo friendly.

That is, short of having someone modify your cms to produce urls the same as the old software. I have read of others that have had success going this route with certain software solutions. You may want to check with someone very knowledgeable that works with your new cms.
 

SEOPub

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Just make sure you are not changing your internal link structure, that you change all internal links to the new URLs (don't rely on the 301's for this), and make sure you are redirecting every single individual URL and not just doing a blanket 301 redirect of your old URLs to the new home page (I saw one web designer do this - destroyed the rankings in no time).

Do all that and you give yourself the best chance to not see a noticeable impact. That being said, there are no guarantees and you are likely to at least see some temporary fluctuations.
 

Hawker

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Hi Harry may I ask and know what CMS you are moving from and to? Is this from Drupal to WordPress or something? The best thing to do is Google search up some tutorials on that depending on which conversion you want to do because they will be made by people who have done that same thing and learned some things along the way that you will find really useful to know when going about it.

I've done several CMS conversions in the past myself and sometimes found it a royal nightmare dealing with all the broken links. But in some cases, I've followed other peoples guides and learned how to go about it in the right way while minimizing or completely resolving every potential broken link issue completely. The point is, if this is something you're going to tackle yourself first, do some research into how to do it first as many others probably have and you'll learn about their mistakes, fixes, workaround etc which you can avoid when doing it yourself.

Honestly, smart people learn from their own mistakes. But smarter people learn from other peoples! :)

In some cases some people even found a better way of doing it or some software, service or plugin or something you can use. But you may also be able to do this with your current hosting solution. Your web host may even have tutorials that show how to do it or might even just do it for you depending how great their support is and how highly they value you!
 

Hawker

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Whatever you do, don't ask your webhost for help. Most webhosts, like web designers, are notoriously bad at SEO. They are more likely to screw your rankings up than to do this right.
What makes you say webhosts are notoriously bad at SEO? Maybe the web hosts you've been with but those I've been with and am with now know a great deal about web design, web development and SEO. And seeing as they can give some free advice and it will give you a feel for what their support is like, it can't hurt to reach out to your web host and ask them about if they have any experience in doing what you want to do. Chances are it's fairly common and they do and may have someone on their team that has done it several times for their selves or for other people/clients etc. And chances are the OP is going to screw up and will need to seek their help and advice at some point anyway.

They don't need to know a lot about SEO as much as they need to know web design and development. This is exactly the sort of thing my host would say to me to reach out to them about and seek help and advice and guidance and direction in first before attempting to do it myself. And any good host would. But I don't use cheap shared hosting.

Again, all you need to do is make sure you 301 redirect every URL to their corresponding new URL and don't screw with the internal link structure. You do those two things, and your ranking impact should be nil.
Ohh if only it was as simple as that in reality SEOPub! Have you ever done this yourself much then before? Migrated one CMS to another? As anyone that has ever done that will tell you, 9 times out of 10 something will go wrong or surprise you that you didn't know about or overlooked. And what for sites that have say hundreds of product links or old blog post or page links etc etc? Categories, tags, user profiles and the like. You suggest permanently 301'ng all of them? Then having an .htaccess file with thousands of permanent 301 redirects in it? And you also seriously thinking that simply redirecting old urls to their new ones that way is a proper permanent fix?

You need to prepare for when doing this and the complexity of it involves how many URLs there are in question and the CMS they want to convert to.
 

SEOPub

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Anyone looking to do this, listen to Hawker at your own risk.

I have done migrations for many clients. 301 redirects are the solution. Yes it is a permanent solution. It is the whole point of a 301 redirect. They signal a PERMANENT move of one URL to another.

In fact, it is exactly what Google recommends.

Or, here is a recent article published on Search Engine Journal about doing a site migration. https://www.searchenginejournal.com/how-to-avoid-seo-disaster-during-a-website-redesign/42824/

And yes, web hosts and web designers are generally pretty bad at SEO. Just like I am pretty bad at figuring out web hosting problems. They are the last place I would go to for help doing something as serious as this.

One client tried to do this and reached out to GoDaddy hosting. GoDaddy helped them alright. They redirected all their old URLs to the home page and turned their previous rankings into a total cluster#*%$.

Another client went to their web designer. The web designer redirected their old home page URL of http://somedomain.com/index.html to http://somedomain.com and thought they were done. Rankings all went in the trash.

The proper solution that any SEO will give you, as well as the solution that is outlined in numerous help articles from Google itself, is to 301 redirect old URLs to the corresponding new URL. For your internal links, you should correct them to the new URL and not rely on the 301 redirects.

From a search engine standpoint and for conserving your rankings, it is that simple. As far as any other issues you might run into when migrating a site from one CMS to another, that is technical shit for your web developer to figure out and has nothing to do with SEO or your rankings.
 

harrygreen90

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Yes, that's a tough move. The only thing I can really think of is to set up a site map to speed the Google process up.
I don't think sitemap can help in this case, sitemap.xml only helps in boosting up crawling webpages from google for any websites.

Just make sure you are not changing your internal link structure, that you change all internal links to the new URLs (don't rely on the 301's for this), and make sure you are redirecting every single individual URL and not just doing a blanket 301 redirect of your old URLs to the new home page (I saw one web designer do this - destroyed the rankings in no time).
internal link structure? when moving to a new CMS with different link structure, it is not possible to keep internal link structure, even I have to check every page content to see if some links are wrong or error after changed.

Do all that and you give yourself the best chance to not see a noticeable impact. That being said, there are no guarantees and you are likely to at least see some temporary fluctuations.
I am afraid of losing traffic when changing URLs, I don't want to see this happens although it will give me any experience in changing a site to a new CMS

Clicks from Google are good now and how if i only get some clicks after changed.

here's clicks what the website is getting

webtraffic2.png

Hi Harry may I ask and know what CMS you are moving from and to? Is this from Drupal to WordPress or something? The best thing to do is Google search up some tutorials on that depending on which conversion you want to do because they will be made by people who have done that same thing and learned some things along the way that you will find really useful to know when going about it.
It's a custom PHP site and i am going to move to Wordpress, the ULRs are quite different from Wordpress URL. The problem that I'm worrying about which its traffic, now it is getting stable and good traffic

webtraffic.png

I don't see any better solutions in this case, except using 301 redirection from old URLs to new URLs and checking webpages to correct internal links if they are errors. Old urls are cached on Google search engines and they are bring traffic to site, if the URL changes, maybe the web traffic and clicks will drop.
 

vishwa

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301 Redirection will help you in some ways but it will not a permanent and trustworthy solution. since you completely changing your CMS So, it obvious that your url structure are different. Though There are some tools available for certain CMS to transfer from one to another. If possible to share the CMS which you want to change than it will be a good to throw you some reliable solutions.
 

SEOPub

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internal link structure? when moving to a new CMS with different link structure, it is not possible to keep internal link structure, even I have to check every page content to see if some links are wrong or error after changed.
What I mean by keeping your internal link structure the same is don't start changing links in your content. Also, sometimes when people do these migrations they drastically change the look of the site. If you have a navigation menu that appears at the top of your site, and you move it to a sidebar menu, that would change the strength of those links (in most cases) and change your internal link structure. If you take sidebar links and move them to the footer, that will be a problem. That is the kind of stuff you want to avoid.

I don't see any better solutions in this case, except using 301 redirection from old URLs to new URLs and checking webpages to correct internal links if they are errors. Old urls are cached on Google search engines and they are bring traffic to site, if the URL changes, maybe the web traffic and clicks will drop.
That's because there is not a better solution other than keeping the same URLs. This is exactly the kind of situation that 301 redirects were designed for.

301 redirects used to come with a slight loss in PageRank, but Google recently announced that is no longer the case. I have not seen anyone test it fully, but every site I have migrated to Wordpress has shown no loss in search engine traffic or rankings.
 

Hawker

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What you talking about listen to me at your own risk.

I just remembered why I haven't posted on here in so long.

I'm back as a moderator on here so you want to start watching how you speak to people otherwise you might find your posts are getting deleted.

I'm taking a zero tolerant approach to BS and down talking people so you either stop doing that or your posts get deleted simple as that.

Now that, so talking to your web host first and asking for help and advice, that's bad advice is it?

It might be for you and your hosting solution.

I know what a 301 is and it's simply not good to have hundreds or thousands of 301s.

It can bring the site to a complete crawl.

You didn't answer my question. What if OP has hundreds of product pages?

You have shown 2 cases and one of them is with Go Daddy.

Come on!
 

SEOPub

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SEOPub
I don't like to see people get misled with bad information, so when you post something that is wrong, I am going to say so. If you want to be a lousy moderator and remove good advice because you don't like being told you are wrong, that is your choice.

As for if a site has hundreds of product pages, they should do hundreds of 301 redirects. It's that simple.

I have never seen a case where 301 redirects brought a site to a crawl. Ever. If you do it through your .htaccess file, it will be server-side redirects, which are lightning fast. If you are going to do client side redirects (which is another stupid thing I have seen web hosts and web designers do), then yeah, that will slow a site down a little bit. That is always a stupid way to implement redirects, whether you are doing one redirect or hundreds.

This is not just my opinion. Google around. You will find every major SEO source out there saying the same thing. If you are changing your URLs because you are moving to a new CMS, you need to 301 every single page or you risk losing rankings.

If you want to keep rankings when doing a site migration, get an SEO involved, not a web host or web designer. I wouldn't go to a dentist to ask why my foot hurts. It's the same thing. Web hosts and web designers do not understand SEO nearly as much as they think they do. It's not a knock on them. They could run circles around me when it comes to setting up a hosting server or building a new website.
 

lkovnih226

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Whatever you do, don't ask your webhost for help. Most webhosts, like web designers, are notoriously bad at SEO. They are more likely to screw your rankings up than to do this right.
I agree with SEOPub, web hosts are not good at SEO and if you need an advice on SEO, go for SEO specialists to help you (OP)

Again, all you need to do is make sure you 301 redirect every URL to their corresponding new URL and don't screw with the internal link structure. You do those two things, and your ranking impact should be nil.
Doesn't have a better advice than this. I agree!

In some cases some people even found a better way of doing it or some software, service or plugin or something you can use. But you may also be able to do this with your current hosting solution. Your web host may even have tutorials that show how to do it or might even just do it for you depending how great their support is and how highly they value you!
@SEOPub, I agree with Hawker about these points, some web hosts could give us good advice on web systems.
 

Hawker

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I don't like to see people get misled with bad information, so when you post something that is wrong, I am going to say so. If you want to be a lousy moderator and remove good advice because you don't like being told you are wrong, that is your choice.
Bad information? What making a suggestion that he contacts his host about this considering he has no idea how to do it? That's "bad information" is it? That makes me a lousy moderator does it? How is it "wrong information" to ask him to contact his host about it?

Think about what you're reading!

I never said I would remove good advice. I said I would remove "BS and down talking to people". You have been doing that on here since day 1.
As for if a site has hundreds of product pages, they should do hundreds of 301 redirects. It's that simple. I have never seen a case where 301 redirects brought a site to a crawl. Ever. If you do it through your .htaccess file, it will be server-side redirects, which are lightning fast. If you are going to do client side redirects (which is another stupid thing I have seen web hosts and web designers do), then yeah, that will slow a site down a little bit. That is always a stupid way to implement redirects, whether you are doing one redirect or hundreds.

This is not just my opinion. Google around. You will find every major SEO source out there saying the same thing. If you are changing your URLs because you are moving to a new CMS, you need to 301 every single page or you risk losing rankings.
Yes I know. I'm not disputing that. My dispute was your outrageous claim that most web hosts, like web designers, are notoriously bad at SEO. That's just ridiculous! This isn't 1990! And that is just based on YOUR experience only. My dispute is you running in with your size 9's on like usual and down playing someone else's simple advice and turning it round to make it look like it's bad advice and undermining people in the process.

All I said was to reach out to his host about it and ask them about it. I never said to ask them to do it. Just to see if they have any advice for him. Just like it pays to shop around, to read reviews, to get feedback, to get a second opinion, to hear multiple opinions, views and tips. It's just a way of doing that to see what they say about it. Considering the poor guy hasn't done this before and doesn't know much about it. Considering his host probably offers some sort of support. And considering how they may have a Knowledge Base or experience in that are themselves, it could be that they may even be willing to do it for him. And do it the RIGHT way as well. And if so, that would be bad information and advice to give the OP then would it?

Wow.
 

SEOPub

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If you want to get multiple opinions on how to do this without losing rankings, then go to multiple SEOs. Get their opinion. Get the opinion of people that keep up to date with search engine marketing every day because that is what they specialize in.

Trust me, web hosts notoriously mislead customers (not intentionally) about things like this. I have seen it happen more times than I can count and across a range of what are considered to be excellent web hosts. SEO is just not their specialty.

Now, once you have a plan on what you want to do, maybe a web host or web designer can help you to implement it, but you definitely should go to an SEO to develop the plan. But don't ever go to a web host or web designer with serious SEO questions.
 

harrygreen90

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What I mean by keeping your internal link structure the same is don't start changing links in your content. Also, sometimes when people do these migrations they drastically change the look of the site. If you have a navigation menu that appears at the top of your site, and you move it to a sidebar menu, that would change the strength of those links (in most cases) and change your internal link structure. If you take sidebar links and move them to the footer, that will be a problem. That is the kind of stuff you want to avoid.
I am changing a part on the site to new web system, which don't get good traffic from Google search and using 301 redirection to redirect URLs. I think it is a good idea to test out things before moving completely the site to new system (change URL and theme)?

Of course, I need to check internal link structure on each article, make sure that they are real URLs and without redirections, but it will require more work.

That's because there is not a better solution other than keeping the same URLs. This is exactly the kind of situation that 301 redirects were designed for.

301 redirects used to come with a slight loss in PageRank, but Google recently announced that is no longer the case. I have not seen anyone test it fully, but every site I have migrated to Wordpress has shown no loss in search engine traffic or rankings.
I didn't hear about Google announced this. I am keeping both web systems running for a site, just changing parts getting less traffic to test if changing URLs will affect SEO or not.
 
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