The decision to change the sales platform may result from various reasons – economic, related to security or easier access to additional functionalities. Regardless of the reasons, however, there are a few SEO considerations to keep in mind when migrating between different platforms. In today’s article, we’ll show you how to avoid drops when changing your site. Let’s get started!
Changing the sales platform and SEO – 9 most important elements!
The most important elements that are worth paying attention to when migrating to another sales platform are, among others header structures (H1-H6), alt attributes in images and properly optimized meta tags.
That’s not all, because we should accurately transfer blog descriptions and content, ensure the correct structure of URLs, and moreover – verify incoming links with a 404 error and configure GSC (Google Search Console) and GA (Google Analytics). Below are the 9 most important elements that are worth checking when changing the sales platform.
Header structures (H1-H6)
Before starting the migration, you should create a list with accurately mapped headings from the home page, categories, descriptions and datasheets. We need to remember this point because there are key phrases in the headers, without which maintaining the current SEO results can become very difficult.
ALT attributes in pictures
ALT attributes in images (so-called alts) on the new website should appear in the same form as on the old domain. If you have not implemented alts so far – we recommend doing it to ensure better visibility in SERPs.
Properly optimized meta tags
Meta tag optimization is one of the most important elements not only during website migration, but also the entire SEO process. Currently, only the title tag is considered a ranking factor (it is worth including a keyword in it), but meta description is of great importance for Internet users – it shows them the initial content of a specific website.
Blog descriptions and content
When migrating an online store, you should additionally take into account the content of the home page, product and category descriptions, as well as a comprehensive internal linking structure. This type of content contains the most general and long tail keywords.
Correct URL structure
It is worth making sure that the URL structure is the same as on the migrated site (it is enough to map it). We will then contribute to maintaining the position of keywords for a given link and traffic from organic search results. You can also use the second option – the method of URL mapping by implementing 301 redirects. Thanks to this, we will transfer all the power of links to the second address set in the panel of the new platform.
Verification of incoming links with a 404 error
When changing the store’s software, links leading to subpages of a given domain may be redirected incorrectly. Then, after completing the entire process, we should verify all incoming links that have the 404 error status. Ahrefs, Clusteric or Majestic.
Configuration of Google Search Console and Google Analytics
After migrating the online store, we have the last task – configuration of Google Search Console and Google Analytics. The data from the first tool (GSC) will enable domain visibility analysis as well as monitoring status and indexing errors. In the store’s panel, we need to generate a site map and then index it by sending an appropriate application. Thanks to this, Google robots will be informed about the new URL structure, and it will additionally facilitate the website indexing process. Finally, the Google Analytics code and the correctness of its implementation must be verified. It is also worth checking whether the tool properly collects data on user behavior and traffic on your website.
Access to robots.txt and .htaccess
The new store platform should be able to configure robots.txt and .htaccess files. The first one allows you to block access to specific addresses (e.g. internal search results), and the second one facilitates, among other things, blocking access from individual IP numbers.
It is also worth verifying the responsiveness of the platform. It is about its operation on specific devices (e.g. computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets). We just need to make sure that our graphic template and the new store platform are compatible with this technology.
Changing the sales platform and SEO – how to avoid drops?
In summary, in order to avoid drops in SERPs when changing the sales platform, you should take care, among others o header structures, platform responsiveness, correct configuration of Google Search Console and Google Analytics, as well as comprehensively verify incoming links with a 404 error.
It is also worth taking into account product descriptions, categories and blog content with long tail and general phrases. It is also important to carefully map the headline structures (H1-H6) along with keywords that significantly affect the position of your store in organic search results.
Below we present answers to the most frequently asked questions regarding the migration of sales platforms.
When is it worth deciding to migrate?
The owners of shop platforms decide to migrate when they want to increase the flexibility of the website, as well as the trouble-free implementation of various improvements. In our opinion, incorrectly selected store platforms very often block the development of e-commerce, significantly limiting individual functionalities (e.g. lack of integration with specific accounting programs or payment systems).
Which platforms are we most likely to transfer stores to?
There is no definite answer to this question. The scale of operations is key in this case, although we have noticed that SaaS store platforms are very popular among beginner online store owners. As these sites begin to develop, they usually migrate to dedicated or standard open source systems, which we know are more flexible.