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eCommerce migration – Complete guide

by | 20 November 2021 | eCommerce development, eCommerce SEO | 0 comments

The selection of a new online shop engine and its subsequent migration are often some of the key business decisions made in a company. The eCommerce migration of an online shop involves a change of processes in the company and migration risks. The most common questions I encountered in the eCommerce migration process are: Will the migration be successful? What if we lose organic traffic? How long will it take to rebuild sales? Will everything go according to plan? Will the new shop work properly?

After all, on the one hand there is a new, “more” functional eCommerce system with countless improvements, and on the other hand years of SEO work, thousands of serviced customers and current sales in the online shop. In order to minimise the risk of failure during SEO migration, to illustrate how complicated and complex the process is, I have prepared the following article. The guide is based on my experience gained during numerous migrations of online shops based on such shop engines as Shoper, Shopify, Shoplo or WooCommerce. 🙂


eCommerce migration elements


eCommerce migration of an online store is a process consisting of several elements successive. In the article below, we will only discuss the elements related to the SEO migration itself. Before the eComerce migration, there is also the development of a new system, creating a new graphic design, adding new functionalities, etc. Below is a list of all the elements required for the correct migration of the online store:

  • Choosing a new eCommerce SaaS & Open Source platform
  • Online store content migration:
  • Products
    • Information pages
    • Blissful
    • Category descriptions
    • Remaining content
    • Order migration
  • Customer migration
  • URL mapping, if it is not possible to execute a redirect map
  • SEO optimization of the new website
  • Generating product feeds to the Google and Facebook
  • Advertising network
  • Connecting new mail
  • Adding a new or current domain
  • Online store analytics
  • Added sitemap to Search Console
  • Analysis and elimination of risks that may arise during migration


Choosing a new eCommerce SaaS Vs Open Source platform


The choice of a new platform most often determines the remaining steps. The new store engine will determine the new sitemap structure, the structure of new URL links, how the redirect import will be performed, how to add meta tags or optimise the website for SEO. The choice of the platform is determined by the client’s business requirements, which include, among others:


  • Speed ​​in launching an online store
  • Ease of integration and their speed
  • Costs of service and maintenance of the online store
  • Much greater possibility of custom changes
  • Access to the store’s backend
  • Time and cost of development


and…. the budget we have for the implementation.


There are many differences between SaaS and Open Source systems, so in some time I will prepare a separate article presenting a more detailed comparison.


Content migration as a part of eCommerce migration


One of the most important and time-consuming elements during SEO migration for an online store is the correct transfer of the full page content right after the transfer of organic traffic. The elements that need to be transferred are: products, information pages, blogs, category descriptions and other content.


Product migration between online stores


To import products between shops we will most often use a CSV file, external applications, integrators or a dedicated script. In the worst case, if there are not many products and the system does not allow exporting products to CSV or XML file, the export will require us to work manually.


Shopify product import


Shopify also allows you to import products using a CSV file. The structure of the file differs significantly from Shopify. A link to instructions on how to prepare the product database can be found here


WooCommerce product import


Product import is done using the WooCommerce module installed for WordPress. A file with the import structure can be found on the system documentation pages here


PIM products import


The fastest option, if you have a PIM system implemented, will be to directly import products from PIM, with a previously prepared integration with the eCommerce system.



When importing products, please pay attention to the links. If it is possible, try to mimic the link structure 1 to 1. That is, the link from the old shop should correspond to the link structure in the new shop. Otherwise, a permanent 301 ‘S’ redirection shall be required, which shall be discussed in more detail in the next section.


Transfer of other content


For proper seo migration of the e-shop, it shall be remembered to transfer information pages, blogs and category descriptions. If the situation requires us to do so and it is not possible to migrate all the content before the import of 301’S redirections, the descriptions may be transferred at a later stage after the domain rewrite and redirection map import. In this case, we have up to a few weeks until the site is re-indexed by Google robots.


Order migration in eCommerce migration process


It is not a mandatory migration point. I often skipped this step due to the purchase history I already had in ordering programs such as baselinker, xSale or ERP class systems. In the case where the order history is required, the import can most often be done using a CSV file.


Migration of online store customers


Compared to migrating orders, customer migration is done much more often. This is due to the fact that in the systems we already have a developed customer base with marketing consents to subscribe to the Newsletter and a database of registered customers. In the case of external newsletter systems, such as salesMANAGO or Freshmail, where a full customer base is maintained, there is no need to migrate customers.



Preparation of 301’s redirects in the form of a redirect map


Leaving aside technical issues and the fact that the new shop will work at all, this is the most important point of an online shop’s seo migration. High organic results of a shop are often built for years, and the time and budget devoted to them are large investments. That is why the correct creation of a redirection map and its import is so crucial for SEO migration.
The first step already at the product migration stage should be verifying if it is possible to map URLs 1:1. This is possible only if the following conditions are met. The domain and URL address shall not change. Otherwise, a redirection map with permanent 301’S redirects will be required. The redirection map makes it possible to redirect “old” URLs to “new” ones. The format of the redirection map will vary from system to system. For SaaS, it is a CSV-type file. For open source systems, 301 redirects are best imported directly into the .htaccess page executable file.


How do I get a list of all URLs?


  • List of landing pages in Google Analytics
  • List of all pages in the sitemap
  • A tool that allows you to scan a website, eg Screaming frog


How do I redirect?

In an ideal world for current Google algorithms, we should redirect 1 to 1 URLs. The product card from the old store to the product card in the new store. If this is not possible, the redirection should be made to the category page, and ultimately to the main page of the website. If the redirect is not successful, Google will return a 404 error.


Domain and mail redirection in eCommerce migration


Redirecting the domain and connecting the e-mail takes place when all store elements have been prepared and the redirection map has been imported. During the migration, depending on the system and where our mail will be stored (whether on external servers or store servers), the dns records or A record of the domain will change.


Analytics in the eCommerce migration


When changing the engine of the online store, we must not forget about the correct preparation of the analytics. Remember to add Google Analytics scripts and Google Search Console. In the event of a domain change, in order to maintain data continuity, it is advisable to change the domain address in Google Analytics.


Administration (1) → Property (2) → Property Settings (3) → Default URL (4).


google analytics adding domain


google analytics adding domain


The next step is to change your sitemap in Google Search Console

Index (sitemap) (1) → Add a new sitemap (2)


Google Search Console


Examples of the sitemap for selected systems (as of November 20, 2021r):

Shopify: sitemap.xml
Shoper: /console/integration/execute/name/GoogleSitemap
WooCommerce (z wykorzystaniem wtyczki Yoast SEO): /sitemap_index.xml


Examples of the sitemap for selected systems (as of November 20, 2021R):

Shopify: sitemap.xml

WooCommerce (using the Yoast SEO plugin): /sitemap_index.xml


SEO optimization of the current website


Before the actual eCommerce migration SEO optimisation must also be taken into account. To the main optimisation elements of the shop, you should add optimisation of: home page, listing page and product page. Including preparation of appropriate structure of h1, h2, h3 headings etc. Adding content, category descriptions, product descriptions. Adding meta tags (meta description, meta title, keywords).



Generating new XML files with products for advertising networks



The last step is to generate new XML for the Google and Facebook advertising network. Depending on which system you are migrating to, built-in integrators and plugins are most often used. For the Google Ads Display Network, the substitution must be made in Google Merchant Centre.





Below are some sample applications for the most popular systems:


Google Merchant Center (Google Shopping) / Facebook


Obrazek poglądowy

Click here


Obrazek poglądowy

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Obrazek poglądowy

Click here

The indicated applications are only those with which I have had contact so far and I am sure that they worked properly and fulfilled their functions. There are certainly many other solutions available on the market. 🙂


Online store SEO migration process


Choosing a new eCommerce system → Development of a new online store (new layout, configuration, functional preparation of the store) → Order migration → Migration of customers with marketing consent and registered customers → Mapping of URLs, if it is not possible, preparation of a redirect map → SEO optimization of a new website → Adding analytical scripts → Migration tests (redirect map import tests / migration tests) → Adding mail to the store → Adding a new domain → Changing DNS domain records or A record → Correct analytics preparation (Google Analytics configuration) → Adding a Sitemap to Google Search Console → Monitoring drops and 404 errors → Correction of unreported addresses that returned 404’S errors → Opening the champagne and celebrating success.


Main risks associated with an online store SEO migration


As can be seen from the previous point, the seo migration of an online store is a complicated process consisting of a minimum of 15 – 20 elements following step by step. There are several major errors and risks in the migration process, including:


  • An attempt to migrate and launch the “life” online store with an unrealistic deadline in advance
  • Launching migration processes on Friday before the weekend or public holiday (in the period when we do not have access to specialists and possible support)
  • Incorrectly prepared redirect map (errors resulting from the URL structure)
  • Incorrectly prepared redirection map (incorrect redirections, e.g. product to a category or product to an information page)
  • Incorrectly redirected domain
  • Incorrectly set main email of the store (it is not possible to send transactional emails)
  • Broken analyst
  • There is no imported sitemap (Google sitemap) for Search Console
  • Not monitoring 404 errors after the migration process


These are just a few of the most common errors when migrating to online stores. The most common and the most serious mistake is importing a poorly prepared redirect map, which can result in an incredible amount of 404 errors and irreversible drops in organic search results.


Summary of eCommerce migration


In order for the SEO migration of an online store to be successful, a number of steps must be taken. eCommerce migration is often a stressful moment for owners and managers of online stores, after all, years of positioning work are at stake. Therefore, in order to correctly carry out an SEO migration, it is worth outsourcing it to a specialist or agency that has experience in migrating online stores, especially in the system we are currently migrating to. I hope that the prepared guide will be helpful for you and will help you better understand the complexity of eCommerce migration process.

Grzegorz Sękowski
Grzegorz Sękowski

eCommerce Manager at Paul Rich – multimillion jewellery premium watch brand. Shopify & Shopify PLUS consultant, blogger and ex-founder of napnell.pl

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