Shopify SEO Migration – Best Practices for a Smooth Transition

Shopify SEO Migration – Best Practices for a Smooth Transition

Shopify SEO migration is often seen as a challenging prospect, but it doesn’t have to be! While it may seem like a lot of work, in the end, it will all be worth it when you have transferred your storefront into Shopify. By doing so, you’ll have the backing of a powerful marketplace that you can utilize to sell anything you have to offer to a variety of clients all over the world!

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When migrating a website to Shopify, SEO impact is something to consider overall. In order to have the best effects possible, you need to commit to best practices! SEO always needs careful attention and effort, and migrating a website is no different.

With this article, you’ll learn all the best practices to minimize any damaging effects from SEO migration for Shopify.

Migrating Website to Shopify – What is the SEO Impact?

Many people wonder what kind of penalties they will suffer if they decide to migrate their website onto a storefront like Shopify. From traffic loss to transaction loss and to higher bounce rates and reduced ranking, it’s no wonder that people are concerned about the best practices. Shopify SEO migration is a very important topic to get right!

Not only that, however, your SEO migration for Shopify has to be impeccable as well, otherwise, you will stand to lose traffic, ranking, your backlinks, and most of the other hard work you’ve put into the SEO on your current storefront!

SEO Migration for Shopify – How to Avoid the Pitfalls!

The most important thing to understand before you undertake any migration at all is that preparing as best you can will minimize any negative from the above lists. By following this article, you’ll be fine, so take your time, take a deep breath, and do your best to prepare as much as you can before the big day!

Shopify SEO Migration – The 3 Important Stages

When migrating to Shopify, SEO optimization becomes paramount. In order to keep up with it, it’s best to separate your tasks into three key stages. By doing so, you’ll be able to plan out your strategy much more effectively than you would be able to otherwise.

The three stages are:

  • Pre-migration Preparation
  • Migration
  • Post-migration Maintenance

Stage 1 – Pre-migration Preparation

Get all your information in order and get ready to make a comprehensive to-do list! The pre-migration stage is key for an orderly and smooth migration to Shopify. Using this guide when migrating to Shopify, SEO optimization becomes easy!

When Creating a Shopify Store

The first step in the process involves actually creating a new shop. This is the best time to check a variety of attributes for your current website, like:

  • Your website structure
  • The website UX
  • The relevant pages involved (like your About page, Shipping information, Contact page, and Delivery information, etc)
  • URLs – while Shopify creates product URLs automatically, you should still check and double-check to make sure everything is in order. Make sure they’re all user-friendly and SEO-compliant! Now is the time to make sure these are correct.
  • Blog content – Is your content the best it can be? Is it optimized properly according to the best trends and practices for your business? Performing content audits at this point can save you lots of hassle in the end.

Make Sure You Create a Backup!

Nothing is more important than ensuring that you have a backup for all your data. The chances of a migration failing and causing you to lose data are low, but are you willing to take that chance?

Backing up your website is a best practice in itself, and backing up during migration is no different.

There are many services out there that can help you back up your website, so taking the time to research them and back up your content will be worth it in the end.

Setup 301 Redirects from Old URL to New Shopify URL

Simply redirecting your domain to the new address is not a proper solution and is not the way to go about performing a migration. Every page on your domain, from the about page to each individual blog post and product page, needs a 301 redirect.

A 301 redirect is an HTTP code sent by a web server to an individual browser that redirects from one URL to another. Whenever someone tries to access your original domain, they will be automatically redirected with a 301 command. To use one is simple:

  1. Access your .htaccess file.
  2. If you do not have a .htaccess file, create one by opening Notepad, and copying this line of code into a new document: Redirect 301 / http://www.example.com/ save the file as .htaccess.
  3. Ensure that the code is input into the new file correctly and upload it to your web space.
  4. Repeat this process for every page on your domain!

Do you need help with migrating your store to Shopify? Try our SEO migration services! We will make sure everything goes smoothly without traffic loss!

Check Canonical URLs

The Shopify API is a powerful product that will allow you to maximize your storefront’s web presence exactly how you need it. Variants of products often tend you have separate URLs which clutter up your domain and are not good for SEO. Creating canonical URLs will help this by pointing to the original product.

Shopify’s objects list can help you create canonical URLs for your storefront. For more information on canonical URLs, Google is always the final word!

Use Hreflang Tags for Multilingual Brands

If your store operates across language barriers, it’s important to create separate accounts on Shopify to streamline the process. Hreflang tags are simple HTML attributes that specify the region and language of your website.

Using them properly will alleviate any issue that your site may have while it operates in different languages.

Stage 2 – Migration

You’re all prepared and ready to go! Now’s the time for the migration itself. Here is a list of things to keep in mind while you migrate to Shopify.

Create a Test Site

Double-checking everything that has migrated with a test site is the first step to making sure all your hard work wasn’t in vain. Make sure you click through and navigate the page as if you’re seeing it for the first time.

Working out all the bugs in the system on a test page before your store goes live is essential for proper operation!

Migrate Your Content

Actually performing the migration itself is relatively simple!

Shopify itself has laid out a comprehensive guide on how precisely to migrate content to its site, and the steps are easy to follow. In short, here is what you will be required to do to perform the migration:

  1. Configure administrative settings
  2. Import the current store’s content and data
  3. Organize everything after migration
  4. Customize and optimize the user experience
  5. Set up the domain
  6. Set up shipping
  7. Fill out the various tax information
  8. Configure a payment provider
  9. Place test orders
  10. Invite your previous customers
  11. Set up your 301 redirects from your old site

Redirects affect more than just the user experience – they also affect internal links in your content and pages as well. It’s not effective or optimal for SEO if all your internal links are redirected through 301, meaning that it is best practice to have your links going directly to the intended page.

Check out how to do a 301 redirect map using SEO tools that will save you hours of work!

Make sure you check your website for all internal links and make sure they are doing what you want them to. Don’t forget to update the links to the new storefront on Shopify when you’re done!

Stage 3 – Post-Migration

When you’re all finished with the migration, there’s still work to do. Now comes the time to fully optimize the new site’s SEO!

Here are the things to consider at this point in time.

Check Google Analytics

Make sure that your Google Analytics is properly configured to accurately display the new website’s traffic information. Mark the date you migrated the website to follow any changes that might have occurred and make sure everything is running as smoothly as it was before!

Losing traffic now is a terrible outcome, so prevent it before it happens by continually tracking the trends for the new store.

Adjust Google Search Console

If your website’s URL has changed, make sure to submit a request to Google Search Console to change the address. The Change of Address Tool is a powerful application that Google uses to make transitions as smooth as possible and will allow you to change URLs without losing SEO ranking.

Google has provided a comprehensive guide on how to use the tool, but in short:

  1. Open the tool at the domain level for your site
  2. Follow the tool’s instructions precisely
  3. Sites will display a notification in the Search Console that a move is underway
  4. Monitor your traffic during this time
  5. Maintain any redirects for over 180 days

In addition to making a Change of Address request, you will also have to submit the new XML sitemap. Once again, Google’s own documentation provides a comprehensive guide on how to do this, but in short, you will want to start with a basic XML sitemap and expand it to fulfill your needs:

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>

<urlset xmlns=”http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9″>

<url>

<loc>http://www.example.com/foo.html</loc>

<lastmod>2018-06-04</lastmod>

</url>

</urlset>

 

Finally, make sure that Google Search Console is configured to meet the new storefront’s demands! This is the time to double-check that everything is in working order.

Recrawl Your Old URLs

Be sure to take this time to test your old site’s redirects to ensure everything is operational. Go through your old website as thoroughly as possible and ensure that your redirects are working as intended.

Correct any broken links and add additional 301 redirects where you need to.

Crawl the New Website

Similarly to double-checking the old site, you must now make sure every page and every link is fully operational on your new storefront! SEO optimization is crucial at this juncture, so making sure everything works perfectly is necessary.

Make sure everything is working as intended and that any unresolved issues are resolved.

Your old site most certainly had valuable backlinks littered all over and through it. Reach out to the people that linked your old site and see if they will update their links themselves. This will ensure that the impact of your backlinks will remain positive and SEO-friendly even after a complete migration of your previous site!

Monitor Your New Website

Use this time to continue monitoring your website through Google Search Console. Make sure that your traffic, and other critical data, are at similar levels to where they were before the migration. Continually compare data from before and after migration and see if there are any issues to resolve.

Losing track of problems now can lead to a lack of revenue and a drop in traffic, so it’s important to have everything in order now!

Hard Work Will Pay Off

So don’t worry about all the work you will have to put in to make the migration a reality! By being thorough here and making sure you plan each step as perfectly as possible, you can migrate your store without skipping a beat. This means your SEO will remain intact and your new store will be fully operational.

If you’re worried about migrating your store to Shopify, contact us! We will make sure the transition is smooth and effective. Your website is safe in our hands!

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Author
SEO Specialist - Przemek

SEO Specialist

Experience gained in e-commerce translates into positioning. In 2014 he started his adventure with Internet marketing, which continues to this day. He spends his free time in the gym, playing board games and watching TV series.

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