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The Ultimate Website Migration and Redesign : SEO Checklist

Your ultimate all-in-one no-nonsense checklist for smart and SEO-optimized website migration and redesign.

Almost every website needs a refresh or a full redesign every 3-5 years to stay current and user-friendly. And often times such changes come with a CMS or some other technology change leading to drastic drops of organic rankings and traffic caused by the technical SEO issues.

This checklist will walk you through the key aspects of a smart migration planning, incorporating best practices early on in your design and discovery proceess, detecting post-launch issues early, and mitigating the unwanted results.

Preparing for changes – pre-launch steps:


  • Make sure you have access to Google Analytics and that the data is accurate
  • Make sure you have access to Google Search Console and that data is accurate
  • Inventory your high-performing content (top traffic, top external links, top-ranking pages) and minimize changes to these pages
  • Make sure to keep the URL structure for key pages
  • Make sure to keep page titles and main content on key pages
  • Keep navigation and internal link structure whenever possible 
  • Make sure to migrate metatags for key pages
  • Benchmark SEO performance – run and save a full website SEO audit via SEMrush, Screaming Frog, MOZ, Ahrefs, or another similar tool
  • Save the sitemap(s)
  • Prepare a redirect map for the pages that will be removed
  • Keep a copy of the old website and host it separately (make sure it can’t be accessed by a crawler/indexed)

nice to do

  • Run a page speed test for key pages and save results
  • Run accessibility audit for key pages and save results
  • Run mobile-friendliness audit for key pages and save results
  • Note the placements of the key links (e.g. header, sidebar menus, etc.) – one of the reasons for keeping the copy of the website – see steps above

Making sure nothing is missed – post-launch steps:


  • Make sure that the new website pages are allowed to be crawled
  • Make sure that the new website pages are allowed to be indexed
  • Create new sitemap(s), make sure that unnecessary pages are removed, all new pages are added, and all URLs from the original sitemap are kept (excluding the pages that are removed)
  • Submit new sitemaps to Google
  • Activate redirects for the removed pages (and test them)
  • Migrate metatags (if not included in the original migration)
  • Make sure http/https/www/non-www redirects are in place
  • Make sure canonical URLs are in place
  • Make sure hreflang tag is in place
  • Run new SEO audit and address issues in priority order (errors, broken links, redirect loops, metatags, etc.)
  • Check Google Analytics and Google Search Console reports on weekly on bi-weekly basis for the next 6-12 months (including most trafficked pages and conversion funnels) to understand the impacts and catch any red flags early


  • Request Google to index the site from the search console
  • Repeat site speed, mobile-friendliness, and accessibility audits and create action plans if needed
  • Create an annotation in Google Analytics
  • Monitor the number of indexed pages
  • Run SEO audits periodically and address new issues
  • In case of a major drop in traffic to key pages – access new navigation structure, metadata, linking pages, and revert changes where possible

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