I’m always amazed at stupid I was yesterday*. We’re creating our brand spanking new web site for our non-profit, and my attitude to SEO (or Search Engine Optimization) was….”we’ll since we haven’t put up the web site we don’t have any statistics, and since we don’t have any statistics, there is no point in doing SEO until the site is up.”
In fact, I should have done this with my own blog site as well, recently switched from Blogger to WordPress. So that is two strikes.
It began innocently enough… literally with a water-cooler conversation with an SEO expert, who made the following points:
- Run Google Analytics on your old site. Identify the top pages that are always accessed. These are the pages that you want to transfer to your new site; as intact as possible, even to using the same folder structure as the old site.
- Can’t run Google Analytics on the old site? Its probably because GA was set up with a personal Google account from someone long gone from your organization. So, next time…do the organization a favor and use a generic account, like firstname.lastname@example.org so that someone else can access Analytics if you get hit by a bus. And there should be a next time….like right now.
- Even if you are unable to see statistics from Google, you can run an Alexa search which searches links in and out of your site. Lots better than nothing. Or if the old site is a Blogger or WordPress site, you can get statistics from those hosts.
- Assuming that you can identify popular pages, you want to flag the pages on the old site with a redirect from the old page to the new page. If correctly redirected, the page rank and statistics from the old site will be transferred to the new site. Do this for enough pages and you’ll preserve the old site page rank going forward.
Notes: * from Alan Weiss, ” I’ve been fond of stating the following truth for years: I’m constantly surprised at how stupid I was two weeks ago.”