Website Migration Checklist for SEO

What is a website migration?

A website migration is the process of moving a website from one web hosting platform, domain, or design to another. This can involve transferring all or part of the website’s content, including text, images, videos, and other media, as well as the website’s functionality, design, and structure. With these website migrations, there are always implications for SEO. Even seemingly minor changes to URLs or page formats could have a major impact on current keyword rankings and organic traffic. 

The below checklist indicates key points where the SEO health of your website should be considered and protected throughout the migration. The Bend Marketing team is available to address any questions your company may have during the development process and will provide post-launch monitoring of site performance.



  • Crawl existing site to account for all indexed pages
  • URLs should remain the same, preserving the link equity and minimizing 404’s
  • URL structure should match optimized site architecture
  • Ensure URL changes are 301 redirected to most relevant new location (not homepage)
  • [CRITICAL] Force trailing slash on all page URLs, ensure this is in place as a global rule
  • [CRITICAL] Force WWW or Non-WWW on all page URLs, ensure this is in place as a global rule
  • Avoid orphan pages, ensure new pages are linked from internally (nav and/or internal)
  • [CRITICAL] Ensure accurate Robots.txt file is included in root folder and is set up correctly
  • [CRITICAL] Verify presence of dynamically-generated XML sitemap (compressed and uncompressed)

Meta Data

  • [CRITICAL] Each page includes a self-referencing canonical tag in the <head>
  • [CRITICAL] JSON-LD Schema Structured Data is recommended (Organization, FAQ, Reviews, etc.)
  • Title Tag structure: “Target Keyword or Phrase | Brand Name,” 60 characters or fewer
  • Meta descriptions should be 160 characters or fewer and include the target keyword
  • There should be no more than one H1 tag per page, which contains the target keyword
  • Header tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.) should be used to outline page content, not for formatting
  • All embedded (not background) images should include keyword-optimized ALT text

Content/Page Copy

  • Ensure that on-page copy is carried over in its original form
  • Discuss any planned content changes with your SEO agency in advance of migration
  • Verify no important content is being displayed through an iFrame 

Site Speed / Core Web Vitals

  • Third-party scripts significantly slow down page loading speed and should be reduced
  • Avoid the use of inline CSS styling
  • HTML, CSS, and JS should be minified where appropriate
  • Compression and lazy loading should be enabled for all images
  • Use of a CDN is recommended to reduce page load time
  • [CRITICAL] Limit the use of 301 redirects where possible, and eliminate loops/chains
  • Check GTMetrix to ensure no Layout Shifting issues occur
  • Perform a site speed audit on all core pages and each template

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

  • Ensure a singular call-to-action (e.g. free trial OR get a demo, etc.) is used throughout
  • Include prominent CTAs above the fold and at the bottom of each page
  • Ensure CTA color contrasts with page content and all CTAs are unified in presentation

QA Testing

  • Verify Site Renders Correctly in Chrome, Firefox, Safari, iPhone, Android
  • Verify Site Renders Correctly with JavaScript Disabled

Immediately Post-Deploy

  • Update Goals in Google Analytics to Match New URL Structure if Changed
  • Update URLS in Google AdWords to Match New URL Structure if Changed
  • Verify Google Analytics or Tag Manager is Installed Correctly
  • Ensure the robots.txt file and meta robots tags are set up correctly for indexation
  • Use the Google Search Console change of address tool if the domain name was changed
  • Resubmit your homepage URL and all linked pages to Google Search Console
  • Resubmit your XML sitemap via Google Search Console
  • Annotate the launch of the new website in Google Analytics
  • Re-crawl the site in Screaming Frog (or similar) to ensure all 404s are addressed
  • Monitor Google Analytics for anomalies (daily for 7 days, then weekly for 2 weeks)
  • Monitor Google Search Console for anomalies (daily for 7 days, then weekly for 2 weeks)


Examples of website migrations:

  1. Domain name change: Moving a website from one domain name to another, either because of a rebranding effort or because the original domain name is no longer available.
  2. Hosting platform change: Moving a website from one hosting provider to another, often to improve performance, reliability, or security.
  3. Content management system change: Changing the underlying content management system (CMS) that powers a website, often to take advantage of new features or functionality. (e..g moving from Squarespace to WordPress)
  4. Website redesign: Overhauling the design, structure, or functionality of a website, often to improve user experience or to support new business goals.

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