Migration from an old portal to a new one is a delicate and complex operation which must be carried out with absolute precision. In fact, the risk is that of squandering the assets of the acquired positions and disappearing from the results of the search engine; this would mean having to start from scratch.
In brief, the activities of this phase aim at safeguarding the trust of the domain name and the relevance/visibility of the resources indexed in the search engines.
Before going live, there are three steps to take:
- backup the old website so as to always have the possibility of reconstructing the infrastructure completely;
- URL mapping: building a complete map that collects each portal address through precise analysis tools;
- association of old URLs with new URLs (if a URI change is required) and support in creating pages 404, 301 and 302 through the correct setting of the htaccess.
When it’s time to go-live:
- configuration and management of redirects in order to ensure that the old resources are addressed to the new correspondents. In the event that the new portal lacks some resources (pages), the redirection of these should be done towards the category page that contained them. In the absence also of the category section, the redirection is done on the Home Page;
- the sitemap.xml must be submitted to Google again through the proprietary Google Search Console tool. This is necessary so that, thanks to Sitemap.xml, the Google bot can have the opportunity to effectively go through the entire portal structure in order to insert the resources within the index;
- the rewriting of the robots.txt file is useful in determining which resources should not be subject to indexing with the possibility, if deemed necessary, to also exclude some search engines;
- a specific analysis is carried out to identify the 404 pages with the aim of redirecting to the right resources, if present, in order to keep the percentage low. Page 404 is a practice considered virtuous if, and only if, you do not exceed their number.