Magento 2 Migration: The SEO Checklist

Published by - Sunil Verma | 15th Jul 2019

When it comes to digital commerce, the competitive stakes are skyrocketing. Whether it’s B2B or B2C, buyers are huge with huge expectations regarding a seamless, compelling digital-first shopping experience. All this calls for an eCommerce platform that has the capability to exceed users’ expectations and bring growth to the concerned brand.

Which brings us to Magento, rather Magento 2.

The web has long been talking about Magento 1 support being ending in June 2020. Whether you’re considering to build a new store on Magento 2 or migrating from Magento 1 to Magento 2, there are (more than) a few things to consider in order to keep customers, traffic and most importantly revenue in place.

Yes, we do agree that migration to Magento 2 isn’t a cakewalk but the change is inevitable. To help you with a smooth transition, the one which keeps SEO intact, we have prepared a refined.

SEO Checklist for Magento 2 Migration

Define Your Migration Scope
The first and foremost thing to do when moving to a different platform is to define the migration scope. It can be daunting and time-consuming at first, but it’s necessary to avoid last-minute problems.

So start with analyzing the data to know if any improvements are required. Jump onto noting down the existing extensions and third-party integrations to check for any replacements. Make sure the extensions are tested for compatibility.

Don’t miss out on checking the customizations made on your store to get an estimate on the time-frame of migration and be prepared for further online store optimization.

Know the Current State of Your Site
It’s important to analyze your performance with the help of Google Analytics, Google Search Console or a crawling tool. Prepare a report with all the URLs and their data including meta robots, canonical tags, revenue, or conversion rates. This, in turn, will help in making informed and quick decisions when the time comes.

Pay Attention to Catalog Data
Next comes the need to ensure the quality of your catalog data. In case your store doesn’t have the necessary data (like products, categories or attributes), you might experience a huge loss, especially in terms of SEM.

Review the category & CMS pages descriptions, meta titles and meta descriptions. You’d want to cover everything to keep your rankings as they were prior to the launch.

Make sure all the products, along with their images, descriptions or meta data are properly migrated. A lot of stores experience loss of data during migration, remember to double check or triple-check.

In case your catalog is massive, you can’t check for each and every product. What next? Don’t worry, we have the right trick for you. Configure the Google Shopping feed and set filters, for example, exclude shipping weight. Now, if the number of products is the same in Google Shopping Feed as the stock products in your catalog, you can be relaxed.

Remember, quality category and product data have a great impact on your organic results and PPC, so invest as much time needed.

Define Your Indexing Strategy
One of the most complex tasks you need to perform is to define your indexing strategy.

If you have a huge site with diverse filter options, you should be careful with the faceted (layered navigation) because you’ll probably want to exclude the majority from indexing. In certain cases, it’s better to completely block the crawlers with “noindex, nofollow” directive.

Further, you’d certainly want to exclude search result pages from indexing. The reason: there can be a number of these and you don’t want to waste your crawl budget.

XML Sitemap
Yes, sitemap. It’s crucial to review your sitemap to remove or add pages according to the requirements.

Structured Data Markup Implementation
We can’t stress enough how important it is to implement a micro-data markup on an eCommerce site. A well-implemented structured data markup not only helps Google in understanding your content but brings rich snippets and CTR.

Magento 2 comes with product structured data, but to get all the micro-data in place, you will have to perform additional customizations. Remember not to make a room for scams since Google hates scammers and punishes them.

Don’t Miss Out on 301 Redirects
One of the common reasons behind improper migrations is poor implementation of 301 redirects. To avoid such losses, you need to pay severe attention to broken URLs.

Help yourself with a crawl report on your staging site and compare the reports (made in step 2) for improvements. Don’t forget about the existing redirects because these have to be redirected to the new URLs.

You can import these through Magento Admin or through a .htaccess file, but remember too many redirects in .htaccess can have a serious impact on TTFB (Time to first byte). So balance and shoot!

Testing is the Key
Before you launch your new website, test, test and test. Quality analysis or is extremely important to a site’s speed, performance and ultimately success.

Post-launch Tasks
Your work isn’t just limited to launching a Magento 2 store. There are still a few things to do on the SEO side.

  • upload the new robots.txt file
  • upload your new sitemap to Google Search Console
  • Ensure tracking is working properly
  • Check the indexed pages, keywords, average positions, traffic and 404 reports.

As much as migrating from Magento 1 to Magento 2 is crucial, doing it the right way is much more. Before you take this decision, make sure you have listed and checked all the possible factors – SEO being one of the major ones. After all, an online store stands useless without the desired traffic, ranking and of course revenue.

Have you already planned your migration?

Get started today and experience the power of Magento 2.

Author’s Bio

Sunil Verma - Sr. Magento Developer

He works dedicatedly to carve out Magento best strategies and practices for a happy customer base or experience.

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