Updating your website can be nerve-wracking, but it’s both necessary and totally worth it. One of the things people worry about most is losing current SEO rankings or progress they’ve made toward better rankings. Is there a way to update, upgrade or migrate your website without hurting your SEO? In short, absolutely! Below, we’ll cover our best practices and experiences in doing so with great success.
Most Updates Help Your SEO
When done correctly, updating your website should not hurt your SEO and in fact, can give your search engine results a great boost. For example, there are many user experience issues that can cause your SEO to suffer. Updating these will help with your bounce rate, and ensure your pages are indexed properly for your target keywords.
Migrating Your Website From One Platform to Another
WordPress to Drupal
Sometimes your technology needs can change and grow beyond what your current platform can do. If you’re on WordPress and you find you need to produce and manage a high amount of content across multiple logins with varying levels of access, Drupal is a solid move.
No matter the reason you’re going from WordPress to Drupal, the migration process can be somewhat worrying. The following are questions we hear most often in this process. Will all of my content come over? Is it going to look right when it does? Will the design updates confuse already established customers? How will the adjustment be for the staff, will it be hard for them to get used to the new backend functions? And, the main theme – will my SEO be hurt in the transition?
Drupal to WordPress
We also have experience helping clients move off of Drupal and onto WordPress, as well. Essentially all of the above questions can and do apply to moving this direction in a migration. In all cases, our best practice is to ensure we’re maintaining and upgrading the SEO of the living site while you’re building the new one offline.
Doing a full audit of the current website’s SEO will inform the creation of the new site. Seeing where all of the weaknesses are and improving the rankings of your current URLs is very helpful. That said, in some cases, improving the URLs of your website is necessary to improve SEO. For example, if you have links that look anything like the following, they need to be updated: www.website.com/38103-4/about-us/page/v1
URLs should be straightforward and clean, such as this: www.website.com/about. If you already have solid URLs, then the best practice is to keep them as-is while migrating platforms. It’s also very important to use Google Search Console when you relaunch your site so you can resubmit your XML sitemap. Using Google Search Console will ensure Google gets the cue to reindex all of the new content, design, and backend SEO improvements. This is again, another bit of advice that’s true of any site migration.
WordPress to Shopify
We’ve also helped clients successfully move from WordPress onto Shopify who have seen great improvements in their SEO and sales. In fact, one of our clients reported a massive improvement to their traffic and an impressive increase in sales within the first month.
We did this by improving their content, content structure, and overall UX. By making their online store exponentially easier to use, we also improved conversion rates and reduced their abandoned cart stats greatly. They are now fully managing the site and online store all on their own and have continued to experience improved rankings and conversion rates.
See! No matter the platform switch, if you’re informing the migration through all SEO best practices, you should see success.
How Will Upgrading to Drupal 9 Affect my SEO?
So, what about major upgrades within the same web platform? In this case, lots of folks have been sweating the Drupal 7 end of life, requiring an upgrade to the Drupal 9 platform.
Again, fear not! This really shouldn’t negatively affect your SEO at all. In fact, the security improvements that come in tow with the Drupal 9 upgrade, can improve your site’s SEO. Again, it is best to do a full audit of your website before performing an upgrade and/or platform switch. This way, you can ensure you’re making all necessary improvements in tandem with everything else that an update includes.
Upgrade and Update Your Website Correctly to Boost SEO
Using SEO best practices for your content, alt image tags, metadata, schema, et al is always your safest bet. Ensuring you have all of this in place while upgrading and updating your website will greatly benefit your business. Don’t be afraid to embrace change, especially when that change has the potential to greatly increase business!
Not sure where to get started? We’ve got an SEO series for that! In most cases, hiring an SEO professional will be a strong route to get started, but knowing how to maintain your SEO and content is crucial. See the links below to learn more about content writing for SEO as well as overall SEO best practices to maintain.