When it comes to maturing businesses, Shopify has proven to be a popular choice. Nevertheless, this transition is not a simple cut and paste job, it requires a comprehensive process known as Shopify SEO Migration. This article will break down the nuts and bolts of this process, discussing the meticulous steps involved in ensuring a smooth transition for your website’s SEO performance, and ultimately providing you with the knowledge to maintain, or even improve, your business’s online visibility during and after such transitions.
SEO Migrations in the Shopify Context
Shopify migration refers to moving an online retail business from another ecommerce platform or a previous Shopify store to a new or redesigned Shopify store. Included in this is SEO migration, which is the process of retaining or improving the SEO value of your site during the transition.
Definition of Shopify SEO Migration
Shopify SEO Migration involves ensuring that your new or redesigned Shopify store continues to rank highly in search engines after migration. It’s all about mitigating potential losses in your search engine visibility and optimising your site’s SEO during the transition period. The process requires in-depth planning, careful implementation, and post-migration evaluation to ensure you retain your SEO performance.
Role of SEO Migration in E-commerce
In the e-commerce world, SEO migration plays a crucial role because it makes it possible to change the platform or redesign without losing search engine rankings. It helps to maintain or improve your online visibility and to protect your website’s traffic and revenues. Undeniably, search engines drive a significant amount of traffic to e-commerce sites. Therefore, ensuring your site continues to rank highly and attract organic traffic is crucial when migrating to a new platform or redesigning.
The Importance of SEO Migration in Shopify
SEO migration in Shopify is rather significant, considering that nearly half of buyers start their online shopping journey via a search engine. Therefore, if your new Shopify store doesn’t match or exceed the SEO performance of the old one, you risk losing your hard-won search engine rankings and the organic traffic they attract. SEO migration ensures that your new Shopify store maintains its visibility and effectively competes in the crowded digital market.
Planning the Shopify SEO Migration
A well-executed Shopify SEO migration calls for thorough planning, which entails setting migration goals, crafting a migration timeline, and organising resources.
Setting up Migration Goals
Before starting the migration process, first outline your SEO migration goals. A thorough understanding of what you want to achieve helps you design a roadmap for achieving it. Your goals might be to maintain your existing SEO rankings or improve them, eliminate duplicate or obsolete content, upgrade your ecommerce technology or website’s UX/UI, or simplify website management.
Creating a SEO Migration Timeline
The timeline for your Shopify SEO migration depends on factors such as the size of your website, the complexity of the migration, and your resource availability. The timeline helps keep track of tasks and aids in managing stakeholder expectations. Consider minor and major milestones of the migration process such as pre-migration auditing, strategy development, website setup, content migration, technical setup and post-migration evaluation.
Organising Resources for SEO Migration
SEO migration is resource-intensive, it demands financial, human, and time resources. Budget for SEO tools subscriptions, agency fees if hiring a third-party, internal staff time, and contingencies. The human resources required include project manager, technical SEO expert, developer and content manager.
Pre-migration SEO Audit
To ensure a successful Shopify SEO migration, a pre-migration audit is essential. It will help you understand your current SEO performance, identify areas that need improvement and provide a benchmark for measuring post-migration performance.
Reasons to Conduct a Pre-migration Audit
The main reason to carry out a pre-migration SEO audit is to document your site’s current SEO performance. It acts as a roadmap, guiding you on what needs to be carried over to the new site. It also helps in identifying SEO elements that need improvement and those causing issues, so you can address them on the new site.
Key Elements of a Pre-migration Audit
An SEO audit before migration encompasses several elements, including ranking keywords, backlinks, website architecture, content, URL structures, mobile-friendliness, page load speed, and any SEO penalties. The audit will offer valuable insights into how to enhance these SEO elements and avoid past mistakes during migration.
Using the Audit Results for Improved Migration
The audit findings can guide your strategy for migration, helping you pinpoint what critical SEO elements to migrate, flagging any problematic areas to fix, and paving the way for maintaining or improving the SEO performance of your new Shopify store.
Developing a Shopify Migration Strategy
Once you have the audit results, the next step is to develop a robust migration strategy.
Identifying SEO Elements to Migrate
These include website content, URL structures, metadata, internal links, and any other elements that contribute to your site’s SEO. Incorporating these elements in your migration plan helps ensure the new site maintains or even increases your visibility on search engines.
Structuring the SEO Migration Process
Structuring the SEO migration process can involve mapping out the workflow, specifying the roles and responsibilities of everyone involved, and setting timelines. A well-structured process reduces the chances of overlooking crucial steps or tasks in the migration process.
Steps in Building a Migration Strategy
Key steps in creating a Shopify migration strategy include gathering and analysing data from a pre-migration SEO audit, setting migration goals, identifying essential SEO elements to migrate, mapping out the migration plan, and enlisting the resources needed.
Shopify Platform Selection and Setup
Choosing the right Shopify platform and understanding how to set it up are integral in ensuring a successful migration.
Choosing the Right Shopify Platform
Shopify comes in different plans with varying features—Shopify Lite, Basic Shopify, Shopify, and Advanced Shopify. Choose one that meets your business needs, fits well with your budget, and supports the SEO features you require.
Setting Up the Chosen Shopify Platform
Once you’ve chosen the right platform, the next step is setting it up. This stage involves customising your store’s HTML structure, CSS design, enabling essential Shopify SEO features, and configuring key website settings.
Understanding SEO Features of Different Shopify Platforms
Shopify platforms share similar SEO features, such as customisable H1, title, and meta tags; SEO-friendly URL structures; mobile optimisation; and SSL certificates. However, the higher plans offer advanced SEO functionality such as gift cards, professional reports, and advanced report builder which can improve user experience and indirectly impact SEO.
Importance of Content Migration
Content plays a key role in SEO, therefore, its migration is vital to maintain or improve your search engine ranking.
Role of Content in Search Engine Optimisation
Content is pivotal in SEO as it is what search engines use to determine the relevance and value of your site to the user’s search query. Content migration is integral in preserving the SEO value of the pages that rank well in search engines and attract high organic traffic.
Process of Content Migration
Content migration encompasses moving all valuable content from the old site to the new Shopify store. This can include product descriptions, blog posts, images, videos, and customer reviews. Also, you’ll need to update internal links, ensuring they point to the pages on the new site.
Overcoming Challenges in Content Migration
Common challenges in content migration include broken links, lost metadata, HTML format errors, and duplicate content. To overcome these, plan your content migration carefully, double-check for formatting errors, update meta tags, and use canonical tags to avoid duplicate content.
Technical Aspects of Shopify SEO Migration
When performing a Shopify SEO migration, it’s important to pay attention to the technical aspects, including website architecture, mobile compatibility, and SSL verification.
Website Architecture and URL Structures
Your new Shopify store should maintain or improve upon your old site’s architecture and URL structures as they play a significant role in SEO. They should be logically organised, easy to navigate, and SEO-friendly to ensure the site is easily crawlable by search engine robots.
Ensuring Mobile Friendliness
In today’s mobile-centric world, ensuring mobile-friendly design is crucial for SEO. Shopify themes are generally mobile-responsive, but it’s best to test and optimise your mobile site independently, ensuring quick and easy navigation.
SSL Certificate Installation and Verification
Shopify provides an SSL certificate for all its stores, ensuring secure connections from a web server to a browser. It’s important to verify that your SSL certificate works correctly as this not just enhances site security, but it also boosts your site’s SEO as search engines prefer secure sites.
Post-migration SEO Evaluation
A post-migration evaluation is key to ensuring your Shopify SEO migration was successful and to identify and address any issues promptly.
Importance of Post-migration Review
A post-migration review helps in monitoring the performance of your new Shopify store in comparison to the old store. It’s also useful for identifying and resolving any unexpected issues that might affect your SEO or website functionality.
Steps in a Post-migration SEO Evaluation
Key steps involved in post-migration SEO evaluation include crawling the new site to identify and fix issues such as broken links, missing pages, or duplicate content. Monitor your site’s traffic and rankings to identify any significant changes and evaluate site performance metrics such as load speed, user engagement, and conversion rates.
Adjusting SEO Strategies after Post-migration Evaluation
Based on the findings of the post-migration evaluation, adjustments may have to be made to your SEO strategies. This might involve tweaking site design, improving content, optimising meta tags, and improving mobile-friendliness among others.
Monitoring and Optimising for Continued SEO Success
Continuous monitoring and optimisation are crucial to ensuring continued SEO success following a Shopify SEO migration.
Importance of Ongoing SEO Monitoring
Ongoing SEO monitoring allows you to keep tabs on your site’s SEO performance, identify new opportunities, and promptly address emerging issues. This approach is vital in preserving a robust online presence and driving a consistent flow of organic traffic to your Shopify store.
Tools for SEO Monitoring and Optimisation
There is a wide range of SEO tools that you can use for monitoring and optimising your Shopify Store. These include Google Search Console for tracking site performance and identifying issues, Google Analytics for analysing website traffic, SEMrush for competitor analysis and keyword research, and Screaming Frog for website auditing.
Continual Optimisation for SEO Success
SEO is not a one-time task. It requires continuous optimisation to keep up with algorithm updates, emerging trends, and changes in your business or industry. This might involve regularly updating your content, improving your website design, continuously improving user experience, and optimising for new keywords or user behaviours.
Things to Avoid in Shopify SEO Migration
Finally, it’s crucial to avoid some common pitfalls that can make your Shopify SEO Migration fail.
Common SEO Migration Pitfalls
These can include rushing the migration process, neglecting a pre-migration SEO audit, failing to identify and migrate essential SEO elements, setting unrealistic timelines, and ignoring post-migration evaluation and ongoing SEO monitoring and optimisation.
Mitigating Risks in Shopify SEO Migration
You can mitigate these risks through careful planning, thorough auditing, meticulous strategy development, structured implementation, and effective monitoring and adjustment of SEO strategies post-migration.
Seeking Professional Help for SEO Migration
Sometimes, complex migrations may be too challenging to handle, especially if you don’t have adequate SEO expertise in-house. It may be wise to engage a professional SEO agency or consultant with experience in Shopify migrations to ensure a smooth and successful transition.
In conclusion, though Shopify SEO migration might seem a daunting task, with careful planning, a robust strategy, careful execution, and ongoing optimisation, you can maintain or even boost your store’s online visibility and performance during and after migration. And remember, the ultimate aim of SEO migration is not just about preserving search engine rankings, but more about offering a superior user experience that translates into higher traffic, increased sales, and ultimately, business growth.
Hi, I’m Nicholas Bortoluzzi (but people often call me Nico).
I am the Founder and Director at SEO Lynx, an internet marketing agency operating in the UK and servicing clients worldwide.
The article on this page was written and curated by myself.