SEO Website Migration Checklist [Updated 2023]

For many SEOs, a website migration can be an incredibly stressful and yet important time – ensuring that you migrate a website effectively can help to improve or can potentially cost you a lot of hard earned work.

Getting a website migration right is critical for SEO because it can have a significant impact on a website’s search engine rankings, traffic, and overall performance. A poorly executed migration can lead to a variety of issues, such as broken links, missing pages, duplicate content, and other technical problems that can cause search engines to devalue or penalise your website.

When you migrate a website, you essentially create a new version of the site with a new URL structure, page hierarchy, and potentially new content. If this process is not managed carefully, search engines may not be able to properly index and rank your new site, leading to a drop in traffic and visibility.

To ensure a successful website migration, it’s important to carefully plan and execute the process, including redirecting old URLs to new ones, updating internal links, submitting a new sitemap to search engines, and monitoring the site closely for any errors or issues that may arise.

By getting a website migration right, you can help ensure that your site remains visible and competitive in search engine results, while also providing a positive user experience for your visitors.

Below we’ve listed important steps to take both prior and after website migration to ensure that you are maximising SEO performance.

Prior To Migration

Compile full list of existing pages

  • We would recommend compiling a full list of all pages on the website in the form of a sitemap, this will help to ensure that all appropriate redirects are in place & is a good benchmark for evaluating relevancy trends on the website moving forwards

Map page level redirects

  • We would recommend mapping page level redirects for each page across the website, this will ensure that any page level relevancy is carried across which can help the website rank for its existing long-tail terms.

No-index development website

  • Prior to migration it’s crucial that both the new domain & any associated development websites are no-indexed with a robots meta tag “no index, no follow” – this ensures that the content isn’t indexed by Google prior to launch thus preventing the website from incurring a penalty from Google due to duplicated content


  • Evaluating website indexation prior to website migration is important to ensure that all the existing pages on the website are correctly indexed by search engines and that the migration process does not negatively impact the website’s search engine rankings. One way to evaluate website indexation is to use the Google Search Console, which provides valuable insights into how your website is performing in search results. By analysing the index coverage report in Google Search Console, you can identify any indexing issues, such as pages that are not being indexed or pages that are indexed but should not be. You can also use other SEO tools, such as Ahrefs or SEMrush, to check for any duplicate content or canonicalization issues that could negatively affect the website’s indexation. Additionally, it is important to ensure that all the website’s sitemaps are up to date and accurately reflect the current website structure


  • We would recommend identifying the number of traffic referring keywords to your website through a tool such as SEMRush & evaluating these across Google geo-locations (i.e. this will allow us to evaluate the migration & also ensure that new geo-based landing pages are appropriately targeted.

Incoming Links

  • Create a full list of current in-bound links to all pages on the website. This can then be compared to a full list post-migration to ensure that all in-bound link equity is preserved across the website.

Analytics & Webmaster Tools

  • Ensure that any new Analytics/Webmaster Tools properties are in place & that these are appropriately verified across the new website

Goal Tracking

  • You should set up Goal Tracking prior to the migration taking place, this will allow you to track any new goals and existing goal completions from the get-go, to ensure there is no drop off. To set up goal tracking, you need to define the goals that you want to track, such as completing a purchase, submitting a contact form, or subscribing to a newsletter. Once you have defined your goals, you can set up tracking using tools such as Google Analytics or Tag Manager. To test goal tracking, you can use the preview mode in Google Tag Manager to ensure that the tracking tags are firing correctly on the website’s pages. Additionally, you can use Google Analytics’ Real-Time reports to confirm that your tracking is working as intended. Testing should include a full range of user interactions on the website, such as completing a transaction, submitting a form, or clicking on links. It is also important to test the tracking on multiple devices and browsers to ensure that it works correctly across all platforms

Internal Linking Structure

  • This should be evaluated against the new website to ensure that key pages retain strong internal linking. A loss of internal linking can lead to a reduction in page authority & as a result this could cause a page to lose rankings.

Evaluate current site speed

  • Run a check of current site speed across key internal pages to evaluate load time. This should then be compared against the load time of the same page on the new domain to ensure a similar or quicker load time.

Spider Website

  • Spidering a website prior to website migration is important to ensure that all the existing pages on the website are accounted for and that any potential issues are identified before the migration process begins. Website spiders or crawlers are automated tools that can browse your website and collect data on all the pages, including their URLs, titles, meta descriptions, and other key elements. By spidering the website prior to migration, you can identify any broken links, missing pages, or duplicate content that could affect the user experience and search engine rankings. This information can be used to create a detailed plan for the migration process, ensuring that all the existing pages are correctly migrated to the new site structure without any negative impact on SEO performance. Spidering the website can also help to identify any technical issues, such as broken redirects or canonical tags, which can be fixed before the migration process

Measure Core Web Vitals

  • There are several tools available that can help you measure your website’s speed and Core Web Vitals, such as Google’s PageSpeed Insights, GTmetrix, and WebPageTest. These tools provide detailed information on your website’s loading speed, time to first byte, and other key metrics that impact user experience. To measure Core Web Vitals, these tools provide specific metrics, such as Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). These metrics are important for ensuring that your website loads quickly and responds to user input promptly

After Migration

Creation & Submission Of A Sitemap

  • Setting up a sitemap after a website migration is important to ensure that search engines can quickly and easily discover and index all the pages on your new website. A sitemap is an XML file that contains a list of all the pages on your website, along with important metadata such as when they were last updated and their priority level. By submitting your sitemap to search engines like Google, you can help them understand the structure of your website and prioritise crawling and indexing the most important pages
  • To set up a sitemap after a website migration, you can use a sitemap generator tool or plugin, such as Yoast SEO or Google XML Sitemaps, to create the sitemap file. Once the sitemap file is generated, you can upload it to your website’s root directory and submit it to Google Search Console. This will help search engines understand the new structure of your website and index all the pages on your website more efficiently
  • In addition to improving indexation, a sitemap can also help with SEO by providing search engines with additional information about your website’s pages. This includes information about the frequency of updates, priority level, and any alternative language versions. By setting up a sitemap after a website migration, you can ensure that your new website is properly indexed by search engines, leading to better search engine visibility and improved organic traffic.

Modify External Links

  • We would recommend modifying any controlled external links including directory listings to ensure that the new domain is listed within any in-bound links.

Submit a “Change of Address” Through Google Search Console

  • To submit a change of address through Google Search Console, you need to log in to your account, select the website property that you want to update, go to “Settings” and then “Ownership,” and click on “Request a Change of Address” under the “Change of Address” section. Then, enter the new website address and follow the prompts to verify the new address. Once the new address has been verified, Google will update its search results to reflect the change.
  • Note that Google recommends using the change of address tool only if you’re moving your entire website to a new domain. If you’re just updating your website’s address within the same domain, you don’t need to use this tool.

Spider Website/Google Webmaster Tools

  • Run a spider over the website & monitor Google Search Console to capture & quickly address any 404 errors or broken links on the new website which may have happened as the result of incorrect or missed 301 redirects.

Remove No-index Tag On New Website

  • Remove the no-index tag which was placed on the website during development to ensure that Google can quickly & easily crawl your website.

No-index Existing Website

  • Place a no-index tag on the previous domain ONLY once the domain has been crawled & Google has found the redirects to index the new domain – this will encourage Google to de-index the website, but remember to let it keep crawling, this is important so that Google can easily access the no-index tags on the pages.

Evaluate Indexation

  • Indexation levels of the old site & new site should be measured within Google Search Console to ensure that the new website is being effectively indexed.

To effectively check indexation on a website after a website migration, you can follow these steps:

  • Use the site: operator in Google Search to see how many of your pages are currently indexed. For example, type “” into Google’s search box to see a list of all pages on your website that are currently indexed
  • Check your Google Search Console account for any indexing errors. Navigate to the Coverage report, which will show you any pages that have been excluded from the index, as well as any errors or warnings related to indexation
  • Use a website crawling tool, such as Screaming Frog or DeepCrawl, to crawl your website and identify any pages that may have been missed during the migration process.
  • Check your server logs to see which pages are being crawled by search engine bots. If any important pages are not being crawled, it may indicate that there are technical issues that need to be addressed.
  • Monitor your website’s search performance over time, looking for any fluctuations in traffic or rankings that may indicate indexing issues.
  • By following these steps, you can effectively check indexation on your website after a website migration and ensure that all of your pages are being properly indexed by search engines.

Fetch As Googlebot

  • Utilise this function to submit key pages of the new website to Google quickly.

Check Analytics

  • Check that Analytics is working correctly across the new website & that it is firing goals where needed.

By adhering to a solid SEO migration checklist you can ensure that you are putting your website in the best possible position for a successful website migration. To find out more about how to undertake an SEO migration get in touch!