Moving a site, whether it’s to a new code base or even an entirely different domain comes with a large set of challenges. As an SEO one of my biggest concerns is ensuring that everything with SEO value is maintained during the move.
This includes the usual on page elements:
<no index, no follow>
There is a lot of steps involved for a move like this especially considering all of the various back end changes. For this example I am going to use transferring the website to a new code base.
At the heart of any major migration like this are URLs, Since things like pagerank, links, cached information is handled at the url level making sure that your top urls are accounted for is a must. For this first part of the tutorial I am going to focus on compiling a spreadsheet of your top urls.
In order to preserve SEO value you need to compile a list of your top performing urls. There are a few ways to do this. Here are the tools you will be using:
- Google Analytics
- Google Webmaster Tools
- SEOMoz (if you have an account)
Let’s start with analytics.
1. In Google analytics you can get a csv of your top performing urls based on site traffic. This is useful because this shows you the most visited pages on your site. Once you have this information you can use it for benchmarking, reporting, or various other SEO tasks.
To start go to
Content >>> Overview >>> Site Content >>> All Pages
For numbers sake go ahead and get a years worth of data, this will help give you a more accurate picture.
Once your under the content tab go ahead and set your date range back to about a year. This is helpful because it gives you more data to work with. In the bottom of the page extend the results shown to 5000, depending on the size of your website you may not need all of these results.
Once you have all the results go ahead and export all of the urls as a csv. Now you have a list of your top 5000 urls based on traffic.
What I normally do with this list is I immediately crawl it within a crawler such as screaming frog or something similar. This way I can get an idea of the server responses that my top pages are serving.
In the next post I will show you what to do with this list during the migration.