SEO Considerations In Community Migrations
Worrying if a platform migration might affect your search traffic is like worrying if changing schools will affect your childrens’ exam results.
It’s going to have an impact, for sure. But whether it is positive or negative depends entirely on where you move and how you move. The basics of redirects don’t need to be covered here, a few things to look out for though:
1) Ignore the first few weeks’ of data. In the initial months after a month, search data can fluctuate considerably. It often begins much higher (or lower) before reverting to a baseline. It’s that baseline that matters.
2) Category titles matter. If you change the category titles or move to (or from) a platform with URL friendly links (i.e. /topic/discussion-title) to/from one without (i.e. question/0D52J00008kXTjJSAW) expect a big change.
3) Watch out for images. Migrations tend to break images – lots of broken images aren’t good.
4) Watch out for thin content. Some platforms by default create multiple pages to convey information that a previous platform might have used just one. For example, where one platform might have a single profile page, another might have distinct pages for badges, messages, about me all connected to the profile page. This is known as ‘thin content’.
5) Subdomains vs. subfolders. There are differing opinions on this, but if you’re moving a community from a subdomain to a subfolder, you should expect a big impact and tread carefully. Subdomains are generally better for the user experience and organisation, subfolders are often thought to be better for SEO.
Either way, get experienced help and tread carefully.