People considering a migration to WordPress are often concerned about what will happen to their site’s search rankings afterwards. It is a very valid concern, and not one to be taken lightly.
People often ask me if migrating their website will cause their rankings to drop, and my answer is always, “Yes and no.” This doesn’t sound like much of an answer, but let me explain what happens after a migration and it should become clear.
Immediately after a website is migrated to WordPress the search rankings for that website normally drop a little. Not a lot, usually no more than 5 or 6 slots. This is completely normal and nothing to be worried about.
This initial drop in rankings is what I generally refer to as “Google Shock”. Google has an indexed version of your website, and when you suddenly change the entire code base of your website it disrupts what Google knows about your website. With this disruption comes a short time where Google reassesses your website, and reranks it according to the algorithm that it uses to list websites.
When this period of “Google Shock” is over, which in my experience lasts anywhere from 1 week to 1 month, your rankings should return to where they previously were or even higher.
So when I’m asked if migrations affect SEO, my answer of “Yes and no” should be understood as yes, they will drop for a short time but later recover or even improve. But I should also make clear that this answer only applies to migrations to that are done properly.
The two main factors that will affect your website’s SEO in a migration to WordPress are the theme used for the site, and if all the necessary 301 redirects are used correctly.
Not all WordPress themes are created equal. Some themes far outperform others when it comes to search engine optimization. Some premium themes I’ve used in the past, such as Thesis or Genesis, are very good when it comes to SEO friendly themes, but I have yet to see any theme match the performance and optimization of a custom built WordPress theme built by us at Blog Movers.
Another important factor in retaining search rankings after a migration are 301 redirects. These are absolutely vital to the continued growth and health of a website.
Imagine you have a website on HubSpot, and several of your blog posts have been bringing in a lot of search traffic and backlinks. If you migrate your site from HubSpot to WordPress and fail to use 301 redirects for those blog posts, then all the value of those incoming links, and all that search traffic, will be gone. Visitors coming from search engines will get the dreaded “page not found” message, and potential sales will be lost. And any ranking boost you received from the backlinks pointing to your blog posts will be lost.
You’re essentially throwing away all your hard work and starting over from scratch, which is never a good thing to do.
Are you thinking of migrating to WordPress but worried if your site will suffer afterwards? Get in touch with us and let us put your mind at ease!