Is Your Dealership SEO-Ready for a Website Migration?
Planning to migrate your website in the near future? Our research shows that when you move a dealership website between providers or platforms, your site will typically experience a 40-50% drop in traffic.
A site migration almost always results in a temporary loss of traffic. Search engines need time to crawl your site, process the changes, update their indexes, and redetermine where your new website falls within the search rankings.
This is why it is important to know what can be impacted and address it before you lose traffic. With an expert site migration plan, dealers can minimize the impact to their traffic and, with the right strategy, Google will read the new site just like the original. However, not all dealers have thought about their website platform migration plans — and risk their business as a result.
So ask yourself: do you have an SEO strategy prepared for when you make the big switch?
SEO Factors that Matter
So how do you retain the search engine optimization that you've already built into your domain? The process is actually more complicated than you think.
Measure your current search engine visibility. This will give you a benchmark to begin measuring your new platform's performance, including:
- Keyword rankings
- Keyword clicks
- Location-based searches
- Inventory page performance
- Special content ranking
Ensure the new website vendor optimizes for mobile. Mobile site optimization is increasingly one of the most important search engine ranking factors.
Make sure that your new inventory pages are easily crawlable, load quickly, contain unique meta data and on-page content.
- Create a sound canonicalization strategy to help with bulky site crawls and duplicate content.
- Hubspot describes canonical tags as the “technical SEO version of including a citation, as it gives credit to the original material and prevents duplicate content penalties.”
Have a plan in place to crawl the new domain for broken links. These can be a huge problem for search engines and your shoppers.
Use a backlink crawling tool like Majestic to find broken backlinks. Either fix the citations or reach out to the websites and provide them the new link.
Ensure that you have a 301 redirect and 404 strategy in place to correctly send old domain pages to their new counterparts. Google favors a good 301 redirect strategy over a broken link.
Install Google Search Console and submit a new sitemap so that Google can begin crawling your site as soon as possible.
Crawl the new domain for duplicate content. Many automotive website vendors have duplicate content problems, and your business can suffer as a result.
Make sure you can accurately measure onsite engagement event data and user behavior. These factors tell you how well users can navigate and use your new site, and are increasingly important ranking signals.
Still not sure that you're SEO-ready?
Download our white paper to learn how we help maintain organic search visibility during an automotive website migration with CDK PowerSEO.