WordPress and Tumblr are both great platforms for sharing engaging content that beginners and advanced web developers alike can employ. Depending on your message and type of audience you would like to attract, you may decide that one platform delivers that message better than the other. So what should you do if you start sharing content on one platform and decide to move to another?
Today’s question featured on Ask An SEO Expert comes from a user who is migrating their content from Tumblr to WordPress. A major concern when making this switch is ensuring that Google and other search engines will still be able to find your content.
In the video below, Jesse Laffen offers up 5 steps you should take to begin to optimize your site and communicate to the search engines that your content has moved:
This question is about migrating a website off of a former Tumblr property onto a new WordPress environment I guess I’ll call it. The actual question is, “I’m moving my website, originally on Tumblr, to WordPress. Not much has been done there SEO-wise. What are my musts?”
Some of this is going to be a little redundant because if you’ve migrated any website before, you’re going to recognize a couple of these things. I’ll try to be specific to WordPress. So in general, WordPress is a great platform, right? It’s kind of taken web development and put it into the hands of a lot of people, which is a good thing. Also, maybe one of the problems of WordPress is that it’s taken web development and put it into the hands of a lot of people.
I’ll let you be the judge of that. But it’s a really good platform. So, this is probably, hopefully, going to help some people out there, not just the original question asker. First thing you want to do is actually move your content. Obviously, that’s what I’m doing, right? So, why are you telling me to move my content?
Move your content, as in take it off of the original site and drop it onto the site where you’re moving. One of the challenges with Tumblr and WordPress – when you’re working on the Tumblr or WordPress websites, where they’re giving you hosting and giving you web space, and it’s on a tumblr.com, or a wordpress.org, or a wordpress.com domain is that you don’t have control.
You can’t go in and write redirects on WordPress or on Tumblr all the time. So, it’s really important to show a search engine, if you are getting search traffic and that’s important to you, that, hey, this content has actually moved. In the absence of certain tools like server-side responses and things like that actually picking it up, deleting it over here and dropping it over here is a really good way to do that.
So step one, actually move your content. Step two is to leave a trail. So, on those empty pages, where that content used to live, it’s all right to go ahead and write a link that says, “Hey this content moved. You can follow it over here.” Again, in the absence of a redirect that we would use maybe on an IES, or in a patching environment or something like that, where I can tell the server, “Hey, when you are requesting this URL, please serve up this one instead.”
We’re just trying to show a search engine or even all the users that might end up on that site, “Hey this content, it’s not here anymore as you can see. It’s over here. Click the link to follow.” Search engines can kind of pick up on that and understand, “All right, I used to see this thing over here. Now it’s over here. Here’s a link between the two. Okay. It might have moved.”
Step three is to optimize the new site. Out of the box, WordPress is actually a pretty nice, clean SEO-friendly platform. Now, I’m going to get a whole bunch of, maybe comments from the SEO hardcore purists that are like, “No. WordPress is terrible. It doesn’t do all of these things.” Well, actually it does.
Just given the nature of most of the websites on the web, it gets things like it lets you get your URL’s right. It lets you get your title tags right. It does a lot of nice little things out-of-the-box that are pretty friendly. So, you’re not going to have a lot of work to do is the good news.
There are some plug-ins out there, some of them good, some of them bad. I think I’ll probably grab a link to my favorite one and maybe drop it into this video so that you can see that and maybe check that out. It’s by a well-known, well-respected SEO. I think his name is Yoast. That’s how you pronounce it. So, optimize that new WordPress site to the best of your ability. But again, it gets most of it right, so don’t kill yourself.
Number four is actually kind of dependent upon your ability to develop, I guess. One of the challenges with WordPress is that it is pretty bulky, so it lets you do a lot of stuff, right? But it’s really, really big, and so it takes a long time for a crawler or a search engine to actually index everything that is going on there. You don’t need it all.
If you aren’t using a lot of the functionality and things that you are able to maybe pare down from a page speed standpoint, that’s actually going to help you put yourself and your WordPress site ahead of a lot of other WordPress sites out there. When all these sites are kind of created equal, there’s not a lot of ways to distinguish yourself, except for great content and things like that.
But just from a pure architecture standpoint, if you are able to, try to get that page load time, your page speed down. Now, if that’s not something that you even feel super confident in, then don’t worry about it. Don’t touch it, because you’re probably going to do more harm than good.
Step number five is once you’ve got all your content over, and everything’s set up and it looks beautiful, your hoards of users are ready to flood the gates to get into your website, check your work. With any launch project, it’s always real easy to forget the little thing. Like, I have this robots.txt exclusion that I completely forgot. Now, all these pages that I didn’t want a search engine to see, I didn’t write that file, and now they’re seeing them all.
Or, when I was developing this WordPress site, I put this no-index, no- follow tag on the meta fields of all my pages because I wanted it to be perfect the first time the search engine saw it. Now, I launch my site and I get really excited and nobody’s coming from search and I can’t figure out why. That actually happened to me about two months ago.
Not a very fun experience, right? You’re looking at analytics of some other thing to make sure you’re set up, but you’re looking through analytics and you’re saying, “What happened? What did I do wrong?” Well, you forgot to flip the little switch in the settings tab on WordPress that says, “Yes, allow this to be followed and indexed.”
So, just in a very brief, I guess two-minute synopsis of the stages that I would go through if I were doing this, that’s what you have there. WordPress is a great environment. Maybe we’ll do a few more videos on WordPress.