$banner_url = null;
October 25, 2021 by Daniel Gross

How To Maintain SEO Rankings When Migrating To Magento 2

Migrating to Magento 2 or Adobe Commerce is a great idea. Magento is one of the best, most flexible, and most scalable eCommerce platforms out there. Whether you’re migrating from Magento 1 (which you should have done yesterday) or you’re switching from Shopify, BigCommerce, or any other eCommerce platform, you’re setting yourself up for success.

In this blog, we’re going to talk about how you can maintain your SEO rankings when migrating to Magento 2. This is often a big concern. Replatforming – when not done properly – can cause a serious drop in your website’s SEO rankings. That makes it harder for people to find your website. This reduces click-throughs and profits. Obviously, you want to avoid that. But how?

The good news is that Magento 2 and Adobe Commerce are both very SEO-friendly. And in this blog, we’ll discuss a few top tips and steps you should take to optimize your Magento SEO rankings when migrating to Magento 2. Get all the details below.

1. Analyze Your Current Web Traffic To Understand What You Should Expect

First, you need to make sure you use a tool like Google Analytics to understand your current SEO rankings. You need to assess metrics such as:

  • Best-performing pages
  • Organic visits in the last 12 months
  • Revenue, conversions, and conversion rates
  • Pageviews during the last 12 months
  • Top linked pages

This gives you a baseline understanding of how well your site has been performing – and what sort of performance you should be looking for after you migrate to Magento 2 or Adobe Commerce.

During this step, you should pay particular attention to your best-performing pages. While you want to make sure all of your pages migrate properly, focusing on these pages is essential for your success. Prioritize the pages that really matter, and that drive the most traffic to the legacy site.

Ideally, these pages should exist on the new site, in a mostly-unchanged form. If they are removed or changed, you should use a redirect to send viewers to a relevant page – this avoids 404 errors, which can damage your SEO rankings and traffic. We’ll discuss redirects more in-depth later on.

2. Find Or Build A Fast, Mobile-Friendly Theme

Whether you’re migrating from Magento 1 or from a different platform, you won’t be able to transfer over your old theme. You’ll need to find or build a similar one using Magento 2 or Adobe Commerce.

Aesthetics and usability are important, of course. You want a theme that matches your branding and provides a seamless experience to customers who visit our website. That should definitely be a priority. But you should also prioritize a theme that’s fast, and that’s mobile-friendly.

Speed is absolutely critical for SEO. Slow pages mean high bounce rates, low click throughs, and SEO penalties. Pages that load more quickly, in contrast, have higher conversion rates and can help boost your SEO rankings. You can check out our page loading speed guide for more details about page speed, and how it affects SEO and CTRs. 

Mobile friendliness is also important. A mobile-friendly website will rank more highly in mobile search results, and nearly 60% of all searches are now performed on mobile devices. 

Magento 2 and Adobe Commerce do come with some out-of-the-box themes that offer good performance and robust mobile features. But you may also want to develop your own custom theme, or purchase a different theme from the Marketplace. You can learn more about the pros and cons of off-the-shelf and custom-made themes in this blog post, where we discuss each option in detail.

3. Double-Check Catalog Data & Product Pages Before & After Migration

eCommerce stores live and die on their catalog data. You need to ensure that your catalog data transfers over properly to Magento 2 or Adobe Commerce. If you suffer data loss or your data is malformed, you could suffer a massive drop in search engine rankings.

Before you even transfer catalog data, it’s a good idea to take a look at your data and fix any issues with page descriptions, URLs, title tags, meta descriptions and titles, headers, and other such information. Starting with strong products will ensure you set yourself up for success.

And once you’ve migrated to Magento 2, double-check all of your catalog data and your products. Make sure the products, alt tags, images, descriptions, categories, and other essentials have been migrated properly.

4. Double-Check Your Robots.txt File After Migration

After you migrate to Magento 2, you’ll likely want to double-check your robots.txt file to ensure you remove certain pages from search results – shopping cart pages and other technical pages, for example. The structure of these URLs will likely have changed, so make sure you adjust your robots.txt file accordingly.

5. Make Sure You’re Using Canonical Tags To Avoid Duplicate Content Issues

Using canonical tags is particularly important if you previously did not use HTTPS on your eCommerce store. Canonical tags are used to tell a search engine which page is a  “canonical” page and should be indexed, and which ones should be ignored. Here’s an example:

You can tell that these pages represent the same single page – but a web crawler can’t. Because of this, you need to set one of these pages as “canonical.” Otherwise, the crawler will index them all – and you will be penalized because of duplicate content.

This can be particularly problematic when you’re migrating to a new eCommerce platform like Magento. Changes to URL structures, HTTP and HTTPS, categories, and other such things can lead to quite a bit of duplicate content and web pages after the migration process has been completed.

6. Add Structured Data Markup And Rich Snippets To Boost CTRs

Adding structured data to your web pages is a great way to increase click-through rates. Structured data markup is used by Google and other websites to understand what type of content is on your website – and display it accordingly in search results.

For example, if your website sells clothing, you can use structured data markup to show customer star reviews, pricing, available colors, and more. This information can be shown in a “Rich Snippet” by Google – directly within search results.

This helps drive more people to your website. And migrating to Magento 2 is a perfect time to add structured data to your web pages. Chances are that you’ll have to go through and edit or change many of your products during the process, so this allows you to kill two birds with one stone.

7. Implement 301 Redirects & Fix 404 Errors To Ensure Site Quality

As soon as you finish migrating to Magento 2, it’s time to get to work fixing 404 errors and broken web pages. 404 errors and improper 301 redirects are one of the most common causes of SEO rankings dropping after a website migration.

This makes sense, when you think about it. If you migrate your website and a bunch of your best pages break, Google and other search engines will see this as a serious problem, and your hard-earned search rankings will be penalized.

As we mentioned above, we recommend keeping top-performing pages on your new Magento 2 website as much as possible, and maintaining the original URL structure. Unless the URL is identical, the page’s ranking signals won’t transfer from the old site to the new site.

But in situations where this is not possible, you should use 301 redirects. A 301 redirect permanently redirects a user from an old, broken page to a new one.

So, for example, you could use a 301 redirect to send users from a broken “Sale” web page to your new “Sale” category on your eCommerce store. Because you will be sending them to a relevant, useful, and well-built page, your bounce rates and conversion rates will stay strong – which means you won’t experience a decline in SEO rankings.

8. Edit, Configure, And Upload Your New XML Sitemap To Search Engines

Once you’ve migrated to Magento 2, you can edit, configure, and submit your new XML sitemap to Google and other search engines. This provides search engine crawlers with the new structure of your website, allowing them to start crawling it and updating your SEO results more quickly.

This is technically an optional step. As time goes on, search engines will eventually crawl your website after your Magento 2 replatforming – and update your search rankings accordingly. But manually submitting an SEO sitemap makes this faster, and the process is pretty easy.  You can learn more about this process for Magento 2 and Adobe Commerce here.

9. Avoid Making Drastic Changes To Your Website’s Content For A Little While

You may be tempted to make big changes to your website’s content once you replatform. But you shouldn’t. Making drastic changes to your website’s content immediately after replatforming can lead to a serious dip in website traffic. 

Keeping your content as similar to your old website as possible during migration is the best way to avoid SEO penalties – and to simplify the process of replatforming. Once all of your pages and categories have been moved over to your new website and have been indexed, then you can think about making big changes.

10. Make Sure Loading Times Are On Par (Or Better) Than Your Previous Platform

Once you’ve migrated to Adobe Commerce or Magento 2, you’ll need to test your site performance to make sure your web pages are loading quickly. This is particularly important for your most popular pages – you want them to load quickly to maximize conversion rates. 

It’s really hard to overstate the importance of this. On average, pages that load in less than a second have a conversion rate of 31.79%. Bump that to 1 second, and it drops to 20.28%. And at 2-4 seconds, it drops to about 12-14%.

Ideally, you want your new Magento 2 website to load faster than your old eCommerce store did. This is pretty easy to pull off, too. Magento 2 has a lot of amazing features that help improve loading times, such as image optimization, full-page caching, and support for CDNs (Content Delivery Networks). 

Need Help With Magento 2 Migration And SEO? Turn To The Experts!

The technical hurdles of migrating to a new eCommerce platform are hard enough. When you add marketing and SEO projects on top of that, you may start to feel like you’re taking on an impossible task.

But why go it alone? At 121eCommerce, our team combines both technical expertise and marketing expertise for the Magento 2 and Adobe Commerce platforms. We have the skills and experience you need to smoothly migrate to Magento 2 from your current eCommerce platform and to maintain SEO rankings when migrating to Magento 2.

So don’t wait. Contact us online to schedule a free, no-commitment consultation. We’d be happy to discuss your project in more depth, and discuss how 121eCommerce can help you migrate to Magento 2 or Adobe Commerce.

Get the latest eCommerce updates and resources.