Negative SEO can give you bad results if your SEO hygiene is poor.
Negative SEO requires at a minimum monthly spot audit and report analysis to be sure you are on the right track.
Focus keyword: SEO impacts during a website migration.
Meta description: an in-depth guide on ways to prepare and plan to prevent negative SEO impacts during website migration – when your SEO is most vulnerable.
Overview of Negative SEO
Nowadays, the rapid growth of eCommerce offers enormous opportunities for your online store to grow.
The key to a thriving business is to quickly catch up with new trends and always be ready to upgrade. If you find your formal eCommerce platform is slowing down your process, making you lose profits, then it is time for shopping cart migration.
Moving to a new site brings tremendous benefits like faster loading time, more comprehensive data storage, and a smoother user experience. However, this is also the time when your SEO is most vulnerable. Keep reading to get:
- Benefits of planning for SEO during website re-platforming
- SEO risks during the migration and solutions to prevent them
So what do you need to do to avoid negative SEO impacts during website migration? Keep reading to get a good grip on your problems.
When was the last time you reviewed your demand waterfall? How about your sales processes? Are leads and sales predictable?
The table below will give you an idea of what happens if you apply marketing strategies to the top of the funnel and middle of the funnel. What does your demand funnel look like? What are your conversion rates?
Types of negative SEO
There are many different types of negative SEO. Some of the most common ones are spammy backlinks, low-quality content, and hacking.
- Spammy backlinks are links from low-quality websites that are only meant to boost your rankings.
- Low-quality content is content that is written solely for the purpose of ranking high in search engines. Negative SEO link building is a waste of time.
- Hacking is when someone breaks into your website and inserts links to their own website or tries to damage your website’s ranking.
Why is it important to pay attention to SEO matters during migration?
Over the years, more and more customers have used search engines as an integral part of their buying process. According to Thinkwithgoogle, 59% of shoppers surveyed say they research online before they buy to ensure they are making the best possible choice.
Optimizing your site on search engines such as Google, Bingâ€¦ plays a crucial role in attracting potential customers. Nevertheless, SEO is not an easy road. To build a high traffic website and well-engage with customers, you need to create and update your content continually.
Therefore, you do not want to lose the ranking you have built for years. To avoid damage to your online business after a website migration, it’s essential to have a thorough SEO strategy in place. This helps to avoid potentially devastating traffic drops and brings an opportunity for better SEO results after migration.
What SEO benefits can you get from a website re-platforming?
Carefully monitoring the changes that could occur before re-platforming brings an overview of your website’s SEO performance. Thus, it helps you determine what content is valuable, what keyword gains more traffic, and what part is currently holding you back.
Hence, you could pick the best way to optimize your SEO after moving to your new platform. Besides, there are other SEO benefits that you can get when reviewing your website for the migration, which is:
404-page recovery and Negative SEO impact
Another positive outcome for your site when re-platforming is the 404-page recovery. Search engines indexed a certain number of pages throughout your website development and put them into the ranking.
However, some pages probably encounter broken URLs or out-of-date errors and lead to 404 Not Found. When reviewing all the URLs, you can detect those 404 faults. Therefore, it gives you a chance to fix the bugs and get your page back on track.
Orphan links happen when you create a page but forget to link to it from anywhere on your site. Thus, search engines cannot detect those orphan links, which leads to pages unviewed. Reviewing your site structures helps you acknowledge these links and make modifications if needed.
SEO Risks During eCommerce Replatforming and How To Reduce The Impacts
Besides the benefits mentioned above, you should consider the most common SEO risks that could occur during and after the migration. This helps you prepare a solution in advance to cope with them. Negative SEO backlinks, negative SEO techniques, and negative SEO strategies are just poor marketing.
Interruption is always one of the most unpleasant factors to harm your SEO ranking. Such a small tweak to your website can lead to significant or little SEO troubles. Therefore, a massive change as restructuring the whole site needs to be carefully studied.
One of the most common mistakes you could make is poor planning. The majority of negative impacts usually turn up after the migration. Consequently, your site is facing the risk of traffic loss along with mess up on-page content.
Worse, if search engines fail to index, your ranking position will take a long time to recover as before. Therefore, the more effort you put in preparation and planning before the site goes live, the better the SEO effects you are going to achieve during a website migration.
Another advice for you is to take your time to test the migration with a few of your data. A demo migration could be super-efficient in detecting problems and measuring the results.
Lose your current rich snippets
Rich snippets are search results with extra information displayed on SERPs alongside the title, description, and URL. There are different types of rich snippets, and here are some prominent examples: star ratings, author, prices, and so on.
The main benefit of Rich Snippets is increased click-through-rate by providing a better version of results. This allows searchers to understand better what they click on and how relevant it is to their purposes.
As you can see, rich snippets make your website more appealing and help you stand out from other results by giving you more space to describe your page. For example, let’s assume you own an eCommerce site, rich snippets could let your customer know how much a given product costs and its rating. These details can help you gain trust and make people feel more inclined to your page. Therefore, bring more clicks and traffic to your site.
Moreover, having rich snippets also increases your ranking. Although search engines will not increase your rank just because you have rich snippets, the extra clicks you earn show search engines that your pages provide more value. Consequently, it can rank your pages higher.
Unfortunately, it is not always possible to preserve your old rich snippets to the new site. For example, a hosted website builder like Shopify does not allow accessing its source code and adding rich snippets. So how can you keep the rich snippets for your site after migration?
- Use Google data structured markup helper: Input your data to help Google understand your page data more clearly then presented more attractively and in new ways in Google Search.
- Use a third-party app specifically made for this function: input your data to create your markup code. You can use some free tools such as Microdata Generator or Hall Analysis.
Duplicate content and Negative SEO
Because unique and high-quality content has an integral role to play in Google ranking. It may bring about negative consequences for your website in terms of SEO. Google refers to duplicate content is as follows:
Duplicate content generally refers to substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar. Mostly, this is not deceptive in origin.
In short, Duplicate content is all content that appears on multiple locations on or off your site. Here is what Google says about its action on duplicate content:
If you don’t explicitly tell Google which URL is canonical, Google will choose for you, or might consider them both of equal weight, which might lead to unwanted behavior.
Several technical issues underlying the re-platforming process may create duplicate contents such as:
Google index errors:
Google continually searches for new pages and adds them to its list of available pages by Googlebot. If Google indexes your site while under development, it will generate duplicate contents of the current website. Hence, Google might pick the wrong version, which is not suitable for your SEO.
Fortunately, most CMS gives users the option to disable or discourage search engine indexing. Make sure you disconnect the indexing during and after the re-platforming process.
In case your new platform doesn’t support this, you could create a Robots.txt file to correctly control the indexing process. Check out more detailed info in this Google instruction.
HTTP vs. HTTPs and Negative SEO
HTTP vs. HTTPs: HTTP (hypertext transfer protocol) this protocol allows your site and the server to communicate and exchange data. HTTPs have the same essence as HTTP but much more advanced and secure.
If your old website runs on HTTP and the new site is on HTTPs as default, you forget to redirect HTTP to HTTPS. Google sees these two URLs as separate and leads to duplicate contents:
Additionally, Google takes HTTPS as a ranking signal, so donâ€™t forget to turn your site into HTTPs.
So how can you avoid this error? You need to point all HTTP pages (from your old site) to HTTPs (from your new website) using 301 redirects. Find out the detailed guide in this 301 redirect on SEO
Each platform has its structure and rules to generate the website address. Therefore, your new and old URLs will appear to have specific differences.
Moving to a new site means that all your current URLs will change. If you fail to inform search engines, it will lead website visitors to 404 pages not found an error.
All of the power scores you’ve built up for your page to rank will be lost as the link is broken. Besides, the 404 error also results in a bad customer experience.
What is the best solution to solve this problem with Negative SEO
You can solve this problem by preserving your old URL or redirecting your old URLs to the new website using 301 redirects. However, it is not an easy job if you decide to do it manually. The best way is to use a migration tool.
LitExtension is one of the most trusted migration tools in the market, performing 140,000+ successful migrations for 40,000+ worldwide customers. It helps you automatically transfer all your data, including products, customers, orders, etc. from one eCommerce platform to a robust one.
Besides that, LitExtension has options like migrating products and categories of SEO URLs and creating 301 redirects automatically during migration to save your website ranking.
Here is the step-by-step guide to migrate your store and migrate SEO URLs or create 301 redirects with LitExtension:
Step 1: Create a new migration
Sign up or sign in using Google and Facebook accounts and click the create new migration button at the top right corner of the screen.
Step 2: Fill in your information.
Create new migration, then fill in your Source cart and Target cart URLs and click Configure You Migration.
There will be chances your store is built on hosted or open-source eCommerce solutions. Accordingly, there will be different ways to set up your source/target store information depending on your source/target cart types:
- Open-source cart: It will require you to upload a connector. All you need to do is follow the instructions appearing on the right.
- Hosted cart: You need to fill in the API, passwords, username… of your store. You can look for the guide to get the API on your carts to help center.
Step 3: Configure the migration.
At this stage, choose what entities you wish to migrate. You can choose to migrate entities individually or select all at once. Along with that, you can pick additional options to fulfill any task of your migration.
Most importantly, pick a migrate categories and products SEO URLs or Create the 301 redirects on your target store after migration.
Step 4: Perform migration
After the configuration, you are now ready to perform the migration. You can choose to run the Demo migration or full migration. We highly recommend you to run the free demo migration first to see how the migration process works.
Conclusion about Negative SEO
Preventing negative SEO impacts during website migrations requires a lot of effort. Fortunately, all the risks can be avoided to some extent if you’re able to identify the root of the problems and develop an appropriate solution to solve them.
Hopefully, this article will help you make a great plan for your migration process to go as smoothly as possible without harming your SEO.
Have something to say about your thoughts on negative SEO and website migration?
General FAQs on Negative SEO
What is negative SEO?
Negative SEO refers to using black hat and unethical techniques to sabotage competitors’ rankings in search engines. Negative SEO attacks can take many different forms: Hacking your website, building hundreds or thousands of spammy links to your website.
Is SEO a waste of money?
SEO services can increase your website traffic. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a concept that’s familiar to most business people. Only a percentage of them know how it works and the way that it might impact their business.
Why is SEO expensive?
SEO may seem expensive for three reasons: It takes time to show results, it requires a lot of resources to build and maintain a campaign, and it often relies on the expertise of an SEO specialist to develop and grow your strategy. It typically starts at $1,500 per month or $5,000 on a project basis.
What is SEO?
Improve your rankings, drive traffic, and increase awareness in search engines with better SEO rankings. Unlock the full marketing potential of your website with proven SEP services.